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In the history of the 7s national team, perhaps no player has meant more than Zack Test. From 2009-2016, he was Iron Man, missing only three tournaments over the course of an eight-year career. Test walked off the 7s pitch for the last time following the Rio Olympics, holding the USA’s all-time records for tries scored and tournaments played.
When the Eagles were struggling through the Shield and Bowl years, Test was there, as he was when they began the great turnaround. When they beat rival Canada and punched their ticket to the Olympics, an accomplishment commonly thought of as a longshot in the seven years between the announcement of rugby’s return to the Olympics and qualification, Test was there, as he was when the Eagles took the field in Rio.
He picked up rugby as a freshman at Woodside High School in Woodside, Calif. Then Test walked onto the football team at the University of Oregon as a wide receiver, but would switch to rugby full time and study and play at Loughborough University in England. He’d also play for the Junior All-Americans at the 2009 Junior World Trophy, but the course of his career was cut when he earned his first 7s cap during the 2008/2009 World Series under then-head coach Al Caravelli.
Starting the following season, he’d go on to be selected, by four different head coaches, for 53-straight tournaments, including the 2011 Pan-Am Games and the 2013 7s World Cup. Under Caravelli, Alex Magleby, Matt Hawkins and Mike Friday, he was an automatic selection before being injured in the penultimate stop of the 2014/2015 season, ending the incredible streak.
After the Olympics, Test turned his full attention to 15s. He’d been capped in 15s two years prior, earning a spot on the 2015 World Cup roster, but focused on the 7s team and the Olympics thereafter. In his first test match back last February, against Uruguay in San Antonio, Test suffered a life-threatening head injury that would require emergency surgery and see him spend several days in a local hospital.
Saturday, in front of 30,000 or so rugby fans, Test will officially announce his retirement from international rugby. He’ll be honored with a career highlight compilation on the jumbotron and words from long-time age-grade coach Salty Thompson.
“We are honored that Zack Test chose the USA Sevens to be the point where he announces his official retirement from international rugby. We wish him the best of luck in the future,” USA Sevens tournament director Jon Hinkin said.
“Retirement is something that every player has to deal with, and first and foremost we’re just thankful Zack was able to pull through what was a pretty scary situation, and we’re happy for his family and all his friends,” added USA Rugby CEO Dan Payne. “But I’m excited for the next chapter in Zack’s rugby career. Obviously, he has the passion and desire to coach, and keeping people of his caliber in the community only helps grow the game in our country.”
Test picked up the whistle last year while recovering, becoming the head 7s coach for San Diego State. He was recently announced as the academy director and backs coach for the San Diego Legion of Major League Rugby.