|Photo: Connie Hatfield|
So, it now seems fair to ask, even if many of us are still catching our breath, was this the greatest weekend in US rugby history? That perhaps initially seems like an overstatement. But let us pause to think about it for a bit.
First off, we need to recognize the Olympic titles for what they were. In 1920 the Olympic rugby competition was a two-team tournament (US-France). In 1924 three teams played (US, France, Russia). In other words, the two Olympics that the US won, though they have now become shrouded in myth and, in the US, hagiography, did not involve New Zealand, South Africa, England, Wales, Ireland, Australia and so forth. Yes, in both the US beat France in upsets, but the modern game is also far more advanced than in 1924.
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Meanwhile this weekend the US played scintillating rugby in the Vegas Sevens tournament that is an annual American rugby showcase to an American audience largely unaware of the game. They played heroically in victory and nobly in defeat to the South Africans who ultimately won the match. Away from the glare of temporal media attention but possibly even more importantly, the USA Eagles 15s team won the Americas Rugby Championship. The US Women came in 4th in their Vegas Sevens tournament. If there has been a better weekend for America’s national caliber rugby team, it does not immediately come to mind. These are the building blocks for American rugby, and America’s rugby fans should pause to take in some monumental performances from the men and women in the red, white, and blue kit playing the game with the oval ball.