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12 Olympians Featured On U.S. Rugby World Cup Sevens Rosters That Will Compete In San Francisco

By Todd Kortemeier | July 16, 2018, 4:51 p.m. (ET)

Members of the men’s U.S. rugby team talk in a huddle at the HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2018 on April 7, 2018 in Hong Kong. 


NOTE: On Tuesday, July 17, Alev Kelter was replaced by Kelsi Stockert as she continues to recover from an injury suffered during the 2017-18 season.

With an opportunity to showcase the sport on home soil, USA Rugby announced an experienced group of athletes to compete at the first Rugby World Cup Sevens to be held in the United States.

Among the 24 men and women are 12 Olympians, four of whom come from the women’s team that advanced to the medal playoffs at the Olympic Games Rio 2016. The rest of the rosters are full of players with experience at previous World Cups, plus some newcomers.

The Rugby World Cup Sevens runs July 20-22 in San Francisco. All 84 matches will take place in AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants.

The four women who competed in Rio are Ryan Carlyle, Lauren Doyle, Joanne Fa’avesi and Alev Kelter. Kelter also competed at the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup, which features rugby union or 15-a-side, along with Cheta Emba, Jordan Gray, Abby Gustaitis, team captain Nicole Heavirland, 2017-18 team leader in tries Naya Tapper, Kris Thomas and Kate Zackary. Rounding out the roster and making her World Cup debut is Ilona Maher.

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The U.S. women are seeded fifth and kick off their tournament against China on Friday.

On the men’s side, eight athletes return from Rio: season tries leader and former Detroit Lions football team member Carlin Isles, Ben Pinkelman, Danny Barrett, Folau Niua, Maka Unufe, captain Madison Hughes, Perry Baker and Martin Iosefo. Barrett and Niua were on the U.S. team that competed at the 2015 Rugby World Cup for 15-person teams, along with Brett Thompson. Newcomers to the World Cup are Matai Leuta, Kevon Williams and Stephen Tomasin. 

The U.S. men are seeded fifth and will take on either Wales or Zimbabwe to open their tournament on Friday.

Beginning on Friday morning, the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens is the seventh edition of the tournament and the first one held in the U.S.

Some tickets are still available at rwcsevens.com/tickets. NBC Sports will broadcast the event on its various platforms, including the men’s and women’s finals that will air live on NBCSN Sunday evening at 7 p.m. EST.

Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

Related Athletes

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Ryan Carlyle

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Lauren Doyle

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Joanne Fa’avesi

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Alev Kelter

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Carlin Isles

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Ben Pinkelman

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Danny Barrett

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Folau Niua

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Maka Unufe

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Madison Hughes

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Perry Baker

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Martin Iosefo