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Olympic Spot Secured, Where Does U.S. Men’s Rugby Sevens Team Go From Here?

By Todd Kortemeier | May 28, 2019, 4:01 p.m. (ET)


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Securing any Olympic berth is a momentous achievement in any team sport, one born out of endless hours of hard work and dedication to one’s craft. But for the U.S. men’s rugby sevens team, forgive the players if their attitude for the time being is, “Thank you, next.”

Sure, the USA Men’s Eagles Sevens clinched their spot at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 over the weekend en route to a third-place finish at the London Sevens, but there’s still so much to play for in 2019. Next up is a chance at a historic first-ever HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series championship, as Team USA currently sits in second place, two points adrift of Fiji.

The team has already had a historic season. After never having secured more than two medals in a single season, it has earned seven in nine tournaments – tying the number it had earned between the series’ inaugural season in 2000 and last season. The U.S. has reached all nine semifinals this season, something no other nation has done, and spent most of the season ranked No. 1, a first in series history.

Don’t expect a hangover from the thrill of Olympic qualification, as Team USA’s Stephen Tomasin said it was the team’s goal to eliminate any distractions before their title chase.

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The U.S. men's rugby sevens team celebrates at London Sevens on May 25, 2019 in London.


“Yeah we got the Olympic qualification written off for this weekend, going into next weekend it's all to play for,” Tomasin said to USA Rugby. “We're two points behind Fiji so if we win the tournament next weekend, we end up winning the whole thing.”

The Paris Sevens takes place June 1-2. Expect the Eagles to contend for the title, but they’ll have to best the Fijians, who ousted Team USA in the semis in London.

After the series concludes, the Eagles will turn their attention to the Pan American Games, where they’ll look to improve on their bronze-medal finish from 2015. As one of the top teams in the world series, they should be contenders for the gold medal.

Then in the fall, Team USA will begin what it hopes is a title defense in the 2019-20 World Rugby Sevens Series. Where it will play its home date is still to be determined, as reports indicate a new city will take over for Las Vegas for the first time since 2010, but the U.S. is guaranteed a stop each season through 2023.

The U.S. has won gold at USA Sevens the last two seasons and will look for a three-peat in 2020.

The 10-stop series will take the team through the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, which feature three days of rugby sevens competition July 27-29 in Tokyo Stadium. Pool play takes up the first day and a half, followed by quarterfinals and matches for 9th-12th place. Then it all comes down to the semifinals and medal matches on July 29

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.