Team USA Men
14 0
17 7
Team USA Men  @ Deodoro Stadium
Olympic Games
  Craig Joubert
Match 5

Argentina steals victory from USA at Rio 2016


RIO DE JANEIRO - Team USA's first foray on the Olympic stage at the Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games ended in defeat Tuesday as Argentina took the first win from Pool A at Deodoro Stadium, 17-14.

Mike Friday's team overcame a 12-point deficit in the second half to take a last-minute lead, but the final attack of the game went the way of Argentina for the match-deciding score. The U.S. continues pool play against Brazil at 5 p.m. ET on CNBC, with a win necessary for a chance to qualify for the Quarterfinals at the Games of the XXXI Olympiad.

"One mistake here, one mistake there; that's what'll get you," Danny Barrett said post-match. "That's the Olympics."

Barrett sought the first touch of the game from Folau Niua's restart and leaped into the air along the touch line to keep the kick in play. Referee Craig Joubert had no choice but to give Argentina a put-in for a knock seconds later, however. A penalty against the U.S. then freed field space for the Argentine attack before captain Madison Hughes stole the ball in the breakdown within 20 meters of the team's try line.

The Americans could not escape their half, however, as Barrett lost the ball in contact and Axel Muller dotted down for five points. Gaston Revol converted the try for a 7-0 lead, but teammate Santiago Alvarez put the Argentines under duress for two minutes with a tackle on Perry Baker that warranted a yellow card on the ensuing restart.

Despite the man advantage, Friday's side did not find the try zone during the two-minute sinning. A penalty in the offensive breakdown as the team crossed midfield and a subsequent forward pass killed the U.S.'s first-half momentum, and Argentina held its 7-0 lead at the break.

"We were disappointed in that first half," Hughes said following the game. "We didn't do a good job of sticking to our game plan and doing what we wanted to do. We allowed them to break us a bit softly, and when we did have the ball we gave up possession too easily. That put us in a hole."

Hughes was taken out of an eighth-minute play behind the 22 after he kicked the ball downfield, and Argentina kept hold of it to score in the ninth minute. Barrett conceded a penalty in contact along the try line, and Fernando Luna tapped quickly to dive for the line. The video review suggested he lost the ball before the grounding, but Joubert awarded the try for a 12-0 Argentina lead.

Nate Ebner and Zack Test entered the match ahead of the 10th-minute restart. Test won the ball from the kick and Ebner took it forward a phase later before Matias Moroni took Test to the ground illegally. He was sent to the sin bin and Niua kicked to touch for a lineout.

Test used Ebner as a dummy runner from the set piece to open enough of a hole in the defense to reach the corner of the try zone. Though he only managed to ground the ball ahead of the try line, Joubert cited Juan Imhoff for a high tackle, sent the Argentine to the bin, and awarded a penalty try to Test's team. Hughes converted the try from in front of the posts to cut the deficit to 12-7.

Ebner recovered a loose pass from Argentina in the 12th minute to keep Argentina from wasting more time on the two yellow cards. Baker took the role as scrum half after Garrett Bender's run through and around a defender got within 15 meters of the line, feeding Barrett for the match-tying try. Hughes again converted to give the U.S. its first lead of the match with just a minute remaining.

Niua's restart kick did not cross the 10-meter line, giving Argentina a tap at midfield to kick off its possession. The Americans kept their opponent out of the try zone well beyond the full-time hooter sounded inside Deodoro Stadium, but Moroni was given space in the corner of the field to dot down the match-winning try.

"We fancy ourselves against anyone," Hughes said. "There are some good sides out there and Argentina is one of them. If we'd done as well as we could've done and executed as well as we'd wanted to we'd have got the win.

"Seems everyone's getting first-hit-out jitters," Hughes commented, referring to the news of France beating Australia and Japan upsetting New Zealand in the first round. "Any time you have good sides losing early on in the tournament it'll shake things up a little. We'll take a look at what we've done and sharpen up a few things."

Fiji defeated Brazil, 40-12, in the other first-round matchup in Pool A, topping the pool with the U.S. in third. A heavy defeat of Brazil will go a long way as the team heads into a match with World Rugby Sevens Series champion Fiji Wednesday, with the two best third-place teams in the three pools given a spot in the Quarterfinals after the first- and second-place teams.

"We're pretty good at forgetting the close on and getting on to the next one," Barrett said. "You have to get up to play a host country for any tournament, especially the Olympics. No matter who it is they're going to want to show well for their friends and family. We just have to learn from our mistakes and get better."

The U.S. continues pool play against the Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games host at 5 p.m. ET on CNBC. The game can also be viewed via live stream on or the NBC Sports mobile application.

Team USA Rugby Sevens | v. Argentina

1. Carlin Isles

2. Ben Pinkelman

3. Danny Barrett

4. Garrett Bender

5. Zack Test

6. Andrew Durutalo

7. Folau Niua

8. Maka Unufe

9. Chris Wyles

10. Madison Hughes

11. Perry Baker

12. Nate Ebner

Team USA Rugby Sevens Squad | Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games

v. Argentina - L 17-14

v. Brazil - Tuesday, Aug. 9 @ 5 p.m. ET - LIVE on CNBC & online

v. Fiji - Wednesday, Aug. 10 @ 12:30 p.m. ET - LIVE on USA & online