The U.S. men’s rugby team’s Olympic medal hopes came to a sudden, crushing demise Tuesday in a quarterfinal round defeat to Great Britain.
The U.S. Eagles wasted away a a 21-0 lead through seven minutes as a Stephen Tomasin yellow card – temporarily reducing the Americans to six men during the second half – allowed the Brits to rally all the way back for a 26-21 victory.
For nearly the entire first half, the U.S. out-paced and out-muscled Great Britain. Danny Barrett gave the Eagles an early lead with a try inside two minutes, then Perry Baker tacked on two tries of his own in the opening frame.
Great Britain reclaimed a bit of momentum with an Ollie Lindsay-Hague try in the final action of the first half.
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Tomasin’s trip to the sin bin early in the second half sprang Great Britain into full attack mode. They scored three tries within three and a half minutes to pull ahead and advance to the semifinal round, where they will face New Zealand.
The United States’ Olympic tournament is not over quite yet. They take on Canada Wednesday in a consolation matchup to decide final rankings.
In the other quarterfinal matches, New Zealand defeated Canada 21-10, Argentina beat South Africa 19-14, and Fiji shut out Australia 19-0.