Nate Ebner has the Super Bowl ring, but now he's chasing Olympic gold.
Nate is proudly representing the United States and the New England Patriots in the Summer Olympics, making the transition from football field to the rugby pitch with months of training, conditioning and team building.
However, those Patriots fans wishing to follow suit and switch over from football fans to U.S.A. rugby supporters may need some help.
But fear not. We’ve got you covered with some “Rugby Sevens: 101” before Nate hits the field on Tuesday.
The Olympic tournament is a sevens rugby tournament, which means – you guessed it – each team has seven players on the field and five substitutes. The result is a faster paced game with less scrums and lineouts than 15-player rugby, both of which determine possession.
A scrum is when each team packs together with their heads down, forming a tunnel between the two sides. One team will feed the ball in the middle and both sides will push for possession.
A lineout is when the ball goes out of bounds, and in order to restart action, one team will throw the ball back into play. Often, both teams will have a jumper who will be lifted into the air to try and catch the ball and regain possession.
In order to gain field position, teams can pass backwards but not forward. They can also kick forward in attempt to gain significant ground. The game of rugby is fluid and quick, so ball carriers can be tackled resulting in turnovers without time stoppage.
The game is broken into two seven-minute halves with a two-minute halftime, and the final game in a tournament can be played in two 10-minute halves. Similar to football, play begins each half and after a score with a kickoff.
The primary score in rugby is the try, which is worth five points. Like the touchdown, the scoring player must cross the goal line with possession, but the ball must be touching the ground as well as the player to count. The scoring team has 30-seconds for a conversion which is made by a dropkicking the ball through the uprights and is worth two points. Teams can also score with a dropkick through the uprights on penalties and drop goals for three points.
To watch Nate run, scrum and score a try or two, tune in when the U.S.A. men’s team takes on Argentina on Aug. 9 at 12 p.m. EST on NBCOlympics.com. Team U.S.A. is back in action at 5 p.m. on Tuesday against Brazil on CNBC and again on Aug. 10 against Fiji on USA Network.
All of Patriots Nation – and the United States – will be cheering Nate and his teammates on. You won’t want to miss it.