The State of American Rugby

October will welcome the 2015 Men’s XVs Rugby World Cup, while the Women prepare for the 2017 XV World Cup and Olympic 7s teams prepare for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. The next year and a half will see major progressions in the sport across the globe, perhaps most of all here in the United States.

Rugby legends Sean Fitzpatrick, Tomas Castaignede, and Agustin Pichot assembled with World Rugby for a discussion of the current state of rugby internationally. With great excitement they spoke of the opportunities in the upcoming Olympic games in Rio, especially of the chance rugby has to welcome people to the sport on a global level. Not since the 1924 has rugby been played in the Olympics. At the mention of what the 7s game can offer to fans worldwide, they agreed that 7s is a great way to introduce fans to the sport of rugby with shorter games and less players on the field. Additionally, teams across the globe have the potential to medal at the Olympics as fewer players are required than XVs teams, and 7s is a newer version of the game that has been regularly dominated by one nation. They go on to mention that 7s is currently a game focusing on athleticism and speed, which is easy to understand and appreciated than the strategy and game-sense required in the XVs game. All of these aspects make for an exciting event in the eyes of new and devoted fans alike.

As for the future of United States men’s and women’s teams, there has been much recent excitement nationally surrounding the year’s upcoming events. While the 7s teams have been focusing on training, three of our national teams competed against our Canadian counterparts to the north. Both the Girls High School All-Americans and the Women’s Junior All-Americans were on Can-Am tours, and went undefeated. Check out the reports on both of those teams here: http://usarugby.org/womens-all-americans/item/ghsaas-powered-by-atavus-leave-british-columbia-with-two-wins and http://usarugby.org/womens-all-americans/item/aig-wjaas-sweep-canada-in-dominant-fashion. Simultaneously, the Men’s Eagles played Canada in a test match prior to the October World Cup and beat them as well 41-23, and the recap article is here: http://usarugby.org/mens-eagles-news/item/eagles-improve-advantage-over-canada-win-in-ottawa.

This summer saw great progress for other American squads as well. Only a month ago the myself and my teammates of the Women’s national team played in the Super Series against the top three teams in the world (England, New Zealand and Canada), ending the series with an exciting win and two losses. This series was one of our team’s best performances in years and our young side will continue to challenge the world’s leaders. Just before our event, we saw the men’s and women’s 7s teams qualified for the Rio Olympics, and both teams had strong showings in the Pan Am Games.

My eagle teammates, our fans and families have joined together in person and on social media in support of a simple goal, to see American rugby teams on the podium (in both the World Cup and Olympics). Hashtags like #SettheStandard and #EaglesRevolt show the attitude our players and fans have: we are ready for the challenge. This week be sure to check out www.usarugby.org for upcoming matches and game recaps, and if you get a chance to shout out to the teams playing, do it!

Until next week,
Baylee Annis
UBsports Rugby Ambassador

One last note: Check out UBsports and add the sports you play, watch and coach. Especially the rugby one! 

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