United States out in women's rugby quarterfinals

Abby Gustaitis and Alev Kelter of the United States react to a quarterfinal loss to Great Britain.
Abby Gustaitis and Alev Kelter of the United States react to a quarterfinal loss to Great Britain.

The United States was eliminated from medal contention in the Olympic women’s rugby tournament, falling 21-12 to Great Britain in the quarterfinal round.

Tokyo marks the second straight Olympics in which the U.S. women suffered a quarterfinal exit. The team had shown substantial improvement in World Series competition in the five years since Rio – culminating in a runner-up finish to the 2018-19 season – making the Tokyo result much more of a disappointment. The U.S. was widely considered a medal contender in the second edition of rugby sevens at the Olympics.

Great Britain punched the U.S. in the mouth early with a pair of tries by Jasmine Joyce and Abby Brown within the first three minutes. Before the women’s Eagles could even touch the for any meaningful length of time, they trailed 14-0 with just 90 seconds left in the first half.

The U.S. got the ball to start the second half but could not advance it out of their own end. After a turnover, Joyce dusted Kristi Kirshe to score Great Britain’s third try and extend the lead to 21-0.

With 2:30 to go in the match, the U.S. marched down the field for a Kirshe score, but Nicole Heavirland missed the conversion, effectively dashing any hope of an American comeback.

Naya Tapper scored at the buzzer to make the scoreline more respectable, but Great Britain claimed the victory and a spot in the semifinals.