Rugby Sevens inclusion in the Olympic Games has not only served as an incentive for the USA to boosts their world ranking but has also helped to raise awareness of the sport among American fans.
NBCSN rugby commentator and former skipper Dan Lyle, speaking to Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, said a number of factors have helped to “up the rugby IQ” of the USA, who are now among the best teams in the world in the sevens code.
“Our Sevens players have significantly upped our athletic ability,” Lyle was quoted as saying. “ One through 12 are all well-conditioned athletes, they have great physical attributes and within a full-time daily training environment, they have upped their IQ.
“We know that by adding more and more men and women, and increasing our rugby IQ we would produce high-quality teams and that’s what we are doing. Sevens is a wonderful sport for American audiences, it is perfect for our attention span. It is also part of the Olympics and Americans follow the Olympics like nobody else.”
Lyle, 48, is part of the NBCSN team who regularly cover sevens and 15s tournaments that are broadcasted in the United States, helping American audiences gain more exposure to the sport in both forms and at its highest level.
He is also director of rugby at AEG, the world’s biggest entertainment company. Lyle himself as captained the US at sevens and 15s, leading his team at the 1999 Rugby World Cup and was in charge when the United States won the Bowl competition at the 1996 Hong Kong Sevens under another USA legend, Tommy Smith.
The United States lead the HSBC World Sevens Series standings ahead of New Zealand and Fiji after reaching the first five finals of the season and winning their home leg in Las Vegas. They will aiming for a first Hong Kong title during the April 5-7 tournament.
Photo caption: Dan Lyle (right) with his NBCSN panel
Main photo credit: Facebook