NFL safety Nate Ebner leads U.S. to first Olympic men’s rugby sevens win ever

Nate Ebner

The New England Patriots took a break from training camp to watch Nate Ebner play rugby for the U.S. in Rio. Ebner, a former Ohio State Buckeye, gave his NFL teammates something to cheer about, scoring a try to help the U.S. defeat Brazil 26-0.

It was the first-ever Olympic rugby sevens win for the U.S. men. Rugby sevens is making its Olympic debut in Rio. When the sport was last played at the Olympics in 1924, it was the 15-a-side version of the game, and the U.S. won the gold medal.

Folau Niua scored the first try of the match for the U.S., much to the dismay of the overwhelmingly pro-Brazilian crowd. Then Ebner, who is taking a leave from offseason football workouts to compete at the Olympics, scored a try on the final play of the first half.

Carlin Isles, who is considered the fastest man in rugby, scored a try for the U.S. in the final minute of the match. Moments later Maka Unufe scored a try to extend the U.S. lead.

Earlier in the day, when the U.S. lost to Argentina 17-14, Ebner became the first active NFL player to compete at a Summer Olympics.

Ebner has the full support of his NFL team. Patriots coach Bill Belichick wore a USA Rugby shirt to training camp this morning with Ebner’s name on the back. He then gave his players a break to watch Ebner play against Brazil.

In addition to scoring a try against Brazil, Ebner  received a yellow card and spent two minutes in the sin bin.

The U.S. will return to the pitch Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. ET against top-seeded Fiji.

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