HONG KONG – Nate Ebner will make his HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series debut for the Men’s Eagles Sevens this weekend at Cathay Pacific / HBSC Hong Kong Sevens, the seventh leg of the 2015-16 season.
The former AIG Men’s Junior All-American last month announced his intention to train with the residents at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., for a chance to compete with the U.S. team at the Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games. Though he was not originally selected to the 12-man national team, the New England Patriot of the National Football League traveled to Asia with the Samurai International Rugby Football Club to compete in the GFI Hong Kong Football Club 10s tournament.
Samurai was defeated in the Cup Final Thursday night, hours before it was decided Carlin Isles, who recently attempted to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games as a sprinter, was not 100 percent fit to compete this weekend. Ebner was called up to the Eagles, and will wear the No. 1 jersey at Hong Kong Stadium.
The three-day tournament kicks off Friday, April 8, with one match of pool play for each competing team. The Eagles begin with Portugal, which has fallen to Mike Friday’s side twice in pool play this season. Play continues Saturday, April 9, as the U.S. faces Argentina – ranked one spot below the fifth-place Eagles – and Australia. The Aussies have been boosted by “The Honey Badger,” Nick Cummins, and come into the tournament with a fourth-place standing and 2-0 record against the U.S. this season.