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Patriots S Nate Ebner, USA Rugby eliminated from contention, but I’m totally on board with rugby

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While it wasn’t a storybook ending, the game of rugby has a new fan.

New England Patriots safety Nate Ebner and his teammates on the USA Rugby 7s roster have been eliminated from medal contention and it was heartbreaking how it happened.

Imagine: you’re competing against a team that is ranked #1 in the world. You effectively score a touchdown, but need to convert the subsequent kick in order to move on to the next round. And the kicker misses it.

Ebner and his teammates were eliminated in similar fashion to the Patriots in the AFC Championship game. That’s a tough pill to swallow.

What makes it even worse is that the team should have never needed that extra kick to move to the next round. In the opening match against Argentina, the officials awarded a score to the opposition, even though the player was clearly not across the goal line. If that score didn’t happen, then the USA would be moving on.

But regardless, I’m a huge fan of rugby 7s now. What a blast. The energy and the physicality remind me of hockey, while the athleticism reminds me of the NFL kicking game. I don’t know the rules, but a lot of things made sense and that’s important when adopting a new sport.

Seven minute halves, plus some extra change from stoppage time is the perfect amount of time. To continue with the comparisons, rugby 7s is like watching a TV show instead of going to the movies to watch the NFL. It’s a nice snack that is thrilling from start to finish.

Ebner will not return to the Patriots just yet. There are still games to determine the rankings of the teams that have been eliminated.