USA could win Gold in Olympic Rugby

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By Untimelyzapped, Untimelyzapped is a Roar Rookie

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    You probably read that headline and said, “No way.” But that’s not how Nigel Melville, boss of USA Rugby, sees it. As an ex-international he certainly knows the difference between sevens and the 15-a-side game, and he figures that the US could shine in sevens in Rio, in both the men’s and women’s comp, for a couple of pretty good reasons.

    One, they have almost six years to spot talent and teach them the tactics. As he says, the men and women who’ll make up the US teams are in high school or are juniors in college right now. Many of them won’t have even seen a rugby ball.

    But what a base he and his coaches have to work with – hundreds of thousands of athletes who’d give their right arm to rep their country at the Olympics. Recently, one male American teenager ran the 100 meters in 10.04. And there are dozens just a step behind him.

    Same with the women – some wonderful sprinters who won’t be quite fast enough for the track. And sure you need more than sheer speed for sevens. You have to be able to defend, and you need a good understanding of the game. But that can be taught.

    Bottom line is, the US could well field a men’s team in 2016 that would be the equivalent of Rocky, Pocock and five Habanas.

    The Rio Olympics have already boosted sevens in Russia. And as the host nation Brazil – population 192 million – will field a team that could surprise. Likewise Mexico – population 106 million.

    You think the talented youth of Brazil and Mexico will only ever play soccer?

    With a chance to become an Olympian, it’s a whole new ball game.

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    The Crowd Says (36)

    • Roar Guru

      December 13th 2009 @ 12:55am
      rugbyfuture said | December 13th 2009 @ 12:55am | ! Report

      i agree, a simple statement

      the main reason sevens was allowed was because of its equality in terms of all nations skills and ability to win gold

      but lets not forget they are the reigning olympic champions

      • December 13th 2009 @ 4:47am
        Mr cheese said | December 13th 2009 @ 4:47am | ! Report

        You got there before me.

        It’s the sporting fact of the day:

        The USA are the Olympic champions in Rugby.

      • December 13th 2009 @ 9:32am
        Norm said | December 13th 2009 @ 9:32am | ! Report

        -“but lets not forget they are the reigning olympic champions” How many from the Paris 1924 team do you think will make it Rio in 2016? US will have no chance.-“the main reason sevens was allowed was because of its equality in terms of all nations skills and ability to win gold”…another myth. After NZ has dominated the mens & womens competitions for 3 consecutive olympics rugby 7s will go the same way as softball & baseball & for the same reason.

        • Roar Guru

          December 13th 2009 @ 1:00pm
          rugbyfuture said | December 13th 2009 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

          the rankings in rugby sevens is much closer than that of the baseball and softball games. and the game is played professionally beyond america and japan, and the olympic commission probably wouldnt mind nz winning something for a while, and south africa are better at rugby sevens anyways

          • December 13th 2009 @ 2:24pm
            katzilla said | December 13th 2009 @ 2:24pm | ! Report

            Better then who?

            • Roar Guru

              December 13th 2009 @ 4:08pm
              rugbyfuture said | December 13th 2009 @ 4:08pm | ! Report

              NZ right now

              • December 13th 2009 @ 7:05pm
                ohtani's jacket said | December 13th 2009 @ 7:05pm | ! Report

                Guess you haven’t been following the first two rounds of the sevens.

              • Roar Guru

                December 13th 2009 @ 7:25pm
                rugbyfuture said | December 13th 2009 @ 7:25pm | ! Report

                good point, but im not here to prove which team is better, im here to prove that union is better and more sustainable thean league

              • December 13th 2009 @ 8:38pm
                Norm said | December 13th 2009 @ 8:38pm | ! Report

                so far you’ve proved nothing.

        • December 14th 2009 @ 11:36am
          Sam said | December 14th 2009 @ 11:36am | ! Report

          New Zealand has dominated the sevens series, but that is a winner over a large number of tournaments. Simply, the Sevens Series winners are the most consistent – which in most cases is NZ. However one off tournaments like the Sevens World Cup are a different story – there are a large number of potential winners. All it takes is one bad 14 minutes and bang – the favourite is out. For example the winners of the World Cup have been England, Fiji (twice), New Zealand and Wales. Australia, Argentina and South Africa have also made the finals. Hardly one sided.

    • December 13th 2009 @ 7:06am
      jus de couchon said | December 13th 2009 @ 7:06am | ! Report

      Cant wait to see it all kick off. Is N.S.M just giving the P.R spiel or is there something in this?

    • December 13th 2009 @ 9:42am
      Jim Boyce said | December 13th 2009 @ 9:42am | ! Report

      It depends at what time of year the Olympics is staged. Most of the talent would come out of the universities.and therefore the July-Dec period would be problematical. Having played in the USA for a few years , the talent is there. You only have to remember the right winger for the US team in the last RWC, who stood up Habana and scored. The US problem is the technicalities of the scrum and with that reduced, they would be a threat.

    • December 13th 2009 @ 10:54am
      Working Class Rugger said | December 13th 2009 @ 10:54am | ! Report

      .-”the main reason sevens was allowed was because of its equality in terms of all nations skills and ability to win gold”…another myth.

      and

      “After NZ has dominated the mens & womens competitions for 3 consecutive olympics rugby 7s will go the same way as softball & baseball & for the same reason.”

      All I take from this comment is a bunch of sour grapes and the fact you clearly have no clue of what you’re commenting on in regards to 7s. NZ are a top side but are hardly dominant. In fact, the competitveness of the World Series is more even than it has ever been with many team capable ofr knocking off their more fancied opponents at all times.

      • December 13th 2009 @ 12:23pm
        Norm said | December 13th 2009 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

        Why would you think sour grapes? Your deducible skills will need to radically improve if you expect to be of any use in your intended career. Who has just easily won the first two titles in the sevens series? It seems ignorance is your province.

        • December 13th 2009 @ 5:52pm
          Working Class Rugger said | December 13th 2009 @ 5:52pm | ! Report

          Norm

          How did I come to the conclusion of ‘sour grapes’. Are you really asking that question?. As for my ‘deducible’ ( a word normally associated with mathematics not law) skills. Well here’s the thing. They aren’t overly important as a solicitor. It your knowledge of the legal system and how best to present those matter in a clear and concise manner. At least that’s what one of my former bosses told myself back when I was at High School. And he was a former Magistrate. Maybe your confusing a solicitor with a police officer. Their ‘deductible’ skills are far more important in their jobs.

          • December 13th 2009 @ 6:56pm
            Norm said | December 13th 2009 @ 6:56pm | ! Report

            A poor attempt on the first question and you completely ignored the second.

            • December 14th 2009 @ 10:04am
              Working Class Rugger said | December 14th 2009 @ 10:04am | ! Report

              Norm

              If you hadn’t noticed I actually didn’t bother answering either of your questions. As no matter what I would have said would have fallen on deaf ears.

              However, I will give it a go now. In terms of ‘sour grapes’. Would you make similar comments if it were Rugby League 7s in the Olympics. I seriously doubt you would. In fact I’d wager you’d be of the complete opposite of your current opinion and if NZ did win you’d praise it as a great success for the League world. But because it is Rugby you deride comments like ” .-”the main reason sevens was allowed was because of its equality in terms of all nations skills and ability to win gold”… with a cynical comment like ” a myth”. Hence the sour grapes.

              As for NZ winning the first two legs of the World Series. Good on them. But that doesn’t ensure victory in 2016. Far from it. I have watched footage of both the Dubai and George 7s and its clear that overall the competition is very even with many of the lesser side improving greatly from last season and even from the first leg. NZ have actually had to work very hard to win. There are no guarantee’s and the Gold in Rio is far from a sure thing.

      • December 13th 2009 @ 3:45pm
        katzilla said | December 13th 2009 @ 3:45pm | ! Report

        ‘NZ are a top side but are hardly dominant’

        Umm, WCR if 8 series wins from the last decade isnt dominant then im not sure what is?
        Your right in that at any one time the lower ranked teams can get up and upset the major teams, but for overall consistency over time NZ is very much ‘A’ dominant force in 7s rugby.

        • December 13th 2009 @ 5:44pm
          Working Class Rugger said | December 13th 2009 @ 5:44pm | ! Report

          katzilla

          The post above was my 3rd attempt at posting. In my 1st attempt I did concede there early dominance. But in recent seasons the field has caught up quite significantly. So much so that they are no longer a all conquering dominant force. They are won of the more fancied contenders who are always in the business but the victory isn’t assured.

    • December 13th 2009 @ 12:10pm
      Peter K said | December 13th 2009 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

      The US will be able to draw on college NFL players, like the fast wide receivers, who miss out on professional contracts, and are not quite fast enough for sprint. They will have some ball skills , be very evasive runners. Potentially very dangerous with sufficient time to learn to tackle and game tactics.

      Fiji dominated for years due to their great speed and ability to run the ball. The USA are potentially a level above that.

    • December 13th 2009 @ 12:18pm
      Jerry said | December 13th 2009 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

      “They will have some ball skills , be very evasive runners.”

      Er, neither of those are guaranteed. There’s a difference in being able to catch a long pass and and being able to pass yourself. And wide receivers don’t actually have to break tackles – they do most of their work getting free without the ball when they’re not actually allowed to be tackled.

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