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The USA Maccabia rugby team continued its string of winning a medal in every Maccabiah Games since became a sport at the event in 1985.



Dubbed the "Jewish Olympics" the Maccabiah Games is a multi-sport quadrennial event for Jewish athletes. This year, 7s was played for the first time, and the USA won the Gold over Israel.

In the 15s competition, the Americans struggled against some tough opposition, beating Canada but losing to Great Britain in pool play, and then Australia in the semis 18-10.

"It was a match that could easily have gone the other way," said USA captain Dallen Stanford. "Australia defended superbly, and held us out on several occasions. I am extremely proud of our boys, putting everything on the line. The heart was tremendous.

"It's definitely a huge disappointment to get knocked out, especially with all the hard work the staff and players have put in over the last two years. We now have to bounce back for the Bronze medal match against Great Britain. Our team motto is 'Finish Strong' and I am excited to experience those final 80 minutes of rugby."

Stanford added that the team had improved dramatically since the beginning of the tournament, and they showed that, beating Great Britain 15-3 with tries from Joel Cohen and Jared Braun, and a conversion and penalty by Taylor Howden.

"The improvement of play since our first match on tour has been astronomical," said Stanford. "It's no wonder though, that Israel and Australia are in the finals, being the only two teams that play all year round together. That fact, makes our 7s Gold even more impressive"

Israel beat Australia 13-0 for Gold.

So the USA finished the Maccabiah Games with a Gold in 7s and a Bronze in 15s.

Great Britain takes 4th in both 7s and 15s. Israel takes Gold in 15s and Silver in 7s, and Australia takes Gold in 15s.

South Africa, long the dominant rugby team at the Maccabiah Games, goes home with just the 7s Bronze.