USA Sevens rugby returns to Sam Boyd Stadium for the fifth consecutive year on January 24-26. Zack Test, Rugby Magazine’s Sevens Player of the Year in 2012-13, leads the U.S. squad into the 16-team tournament.
Why should someone who doesn’t know a thing about rugby come out to Sam Boyd Stadium?
Rugby Sevens is the most fast-paced, gripping sport in the world. It takes the best of basketball, baseball, football, soccer, lacrosse, hockey—you get a combination of everything. It’s nonstop action, so you’re not waiting around for timeouts. And it’s not just one game; it’s three days of events.
The U.S. team has struggled this season. How realistic are its chances this weekend?
We’ve had a lot of good workouts over the last few weeks, and some very good scrimmages, and we’re feeling very confident coming into Las Vegas. There’s nothing like playing at home in front of your fans, family and friends. It just brings you to a new level of intensity and aggression and focus. I’m very confident that we’ll get some wins and hopefully come out with some hardware.
You played both rugby and football at the University of Oregon. Which sport has the tougher athletes?
I wouldn’t say it’s a question of who’s tougher; it’s two completely different sports. In football, you’re specialized in your position, but in rugby, you have to be good at all facets: You have to be able to tackle, run, pass, kick and protect the ball, so it’s not just one job. And you’re working with six other players on the field at all times, so if you’re not in sync, it can all fall apart.