U.S. men and women's teams qualify for Rio sevens

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 14, 2015 10:05 PM

(Reuters) - The United States booked their spots in both the men's and women's rugby sevens at the Rio Olympic Games with dominant wins in regional qualifying on Sunday.

The U.S. men beat Canada 21-5 in the final of the North American and Caribbean championship in Cary, North Carolina, while the women obliterated Mexico 88-0 in their decider.

Sevens will debut at the Olympics after a 92-year hiatus for the game of rugby.

Though the United States are lightweights in world rugby next to Europe and southern hemisphere peers, the men's team can claim to be defending champions at Rio in a sense.

They took the rugby union gold at the 1920 Olympics and defended it successfully at the 1924 Olympics in Paris, after which the sport was dropped from the program.

Carlin Isles, the winger on the U.S. men's team, will head to Rio having once hoped to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team as a sprinter.

Isles once clocked a 100 meters time of 10.24 seconds, fast but some way off the top American sprinters.

The 25-year-old has instead become a valuable member of the sevens team, using his blistering speed to score numerous tries and gain a reputation as the fastest player in the game.

(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Ian Ransom)