The U.S. men’s Olympic rugby sevens squad has been named, and for most of them, this is not their first rodeo.
On Friday the 12 starters were announced by USA Rugby, one week after the entire Eagles roster was in Los Angeles, California for The Quest for Gold Sevens. The competition was the final chance to vie for a spot on the Olympic team and their last time getting critical international matches before heading to Tokyo.
Leading the team of mostly experienced vets will once again be head coach Mike Friday who has selected many of the same players from Rio. Madison Hughes will return as captain, along with six of his teammates from Rio. The squad — which includes five Olympic newcomers — will be working hard to better their ninth-place finish at the last Games.
The Eagles — who finished the shortened 2019-2020 sevens season in seventh place — will play their first game in Tokyo on July 26 and will have a challenge to advance out of their group that includes heavy-hitters South Africa, Kenya and Ireland.
This will only be the second time rugby sevens has been played in the Olympics. Rugby made its return to the program in 2016 in Rio, when the sport was played for the first time since rugby 15s was played way back in 1924.
Here’s a look at the squad.