The 1924 US Olympic rugby team was hastily pulled together with a mix of veterans, many who had not played regularly since 1920, and raw rookies. The team lost to the Blackheath Rugby Club at Teddington on this day in rugby history in 1924.
The team was preparing to defend their title at the 1924 Paris Olympics and the warm-up matches did not give reason to believe it was possible. The team lost all 4 matches in England.
The team did, however, learn some valuable lessons from their time in England. England was not sending a team to France as the May dates for the Olympics interfered with their domestic league but were happy to help out by giving their guests strategic advice on how to defeat France.
Despite being asked to come defend their title (many believed France asked the U.S. to come so they could avenge their loss at the 1920 Olympics), the U.S. team was met with hostility almost everywhere they went.
French authorities would not allow the players to leave the ship at port due to their visa paperwork not being properly processed only for the team to push their was off after six hours. The French press were quick to call the team ‘street fighters and saloon brawlers.’
The French denied the U.S. team access to the proper training fields but once again the U.S. finally got fed up and stormed the field, climbing over fences to get in a training session.
The French tried to deny the U.S. the right to film their matches but once again the U.S. side had none of it.
And when it was all done, the U.S. went home with a gold medal after defeating France 17-3 on May 17, 1924.
And also on this day in rugby history, the France national rugby team was formed when they faced the New Zealand All Blacks in 1906...oh yea and they lost that match as well.
1950 - Wayne Bennett, Australian rugby league coach
1961 - Sam Backo, Australian rugby league footballer