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Men's Rugby: US Takes on Argentina

15 August, 2016, 01:40 | Author: Lula Armstrong
  • United States's Nate Ebner during the men's rugby sevens match against Brazil at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro Brazil Tuesday Aug. 9 2016

Taking the field for the US Rugby Sevens team in the second half of their opening game against Argentina in Rio, Ebner's Olympic debut saw him become the first active National Football League player to officially compete in a Summer Olympic Games.

Ebner scored to assist the US males's rugby workforce to its first win of the 2016 Olympics on Tuesday - towards host Brazil, no much less.

"It's a great opportunity for him to follow his passion, participate in the Olympic Games", Patriots coach Bill Belichick told reporters.

"Not really", Ebner said. "You just let your natural instincts take over".

Ebner was named one of the members of the 12-team American rugby sevens squad in July. His father, Jeff Ebner, played at the University of Minnesota and taught his son the game when he was a toddler. Rugby hasn't been an Olympic sport in 92 years, when teams had 15 players on the field at once.

"I thought he played well", Slater said. It was that rawness that most likely had Ebner start the game on the bench, despite the fact that he was arguably the most dynamic player on the American side. He had to ask for leave from the Patriots to pursue his Olympic dream, but the team acquiesced and supported him. "If we could somehow stand on the podium, I bet you'd see lots of former football players making the switch".

"He's probably the only person in the history of man that's able to say that", Payne said.

There was only one player in the 24 women's matches who was taken off the pitch for concussion protocol and she returned in the second half. To be a part of something this big and this prestigious, it's an honor to be part of it and an honor to be here with this group of guys, who work so hard and are some of the toughest guys I've ever met.

He's hoping to be an example.

Rugby sevens is a fast-paced, hard-hitting sport that Olympians hope will appeal to American audiences.


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