Ben Pinkelman

Ben Pinkelman (born June 13, 1994) is an American rugby union player. He represents the United States in rugby sevens and the traditional fifteens version of the game. By the age of 25 Pinkelman competed in the highest profile tournaments in rugby sevens and rugby fifteens — the 2016 Olympics in Rio and the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. He debuted for the United States sevens team at the 2016 Wellington 7's.

Ben Pinkelman
Date of birth (1994-06-13) June 13, 1994 (age 28)
Place of birthOmaha, Nebraska, U.S.
Height6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight215 lb (98 kg; 15 st 5 lb)
Rugby union career
Position(s) Flanker
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
Denver Barbarians ()
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2014 United States U20 4 (0)
2019– United States 5 (0)
Correct as of 5 April 2020
National sevens team(s)
Years Team Comps
2016–present United States 32
Correct as of 15 August 2019

Rugby careerEdit

Youth rugbyEdit

Pinkelman began playing rugby while he attended Cherry Creek High School in Denver, Colorado. Pinkelman was named Youth Rugby Player of the Year by USA Rugby in 2014.[1] He represented the United States at the 2014 IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy in Hong Kong.[2] He attended Colorado State University, where he studied Criminal justice,[3] and played for the Colorado State Rams and the Denver Barbarians RFC. He was named as Division 1-A Rugby Player of the Week twice while attending CSU.[4][5]

U.S. national sevens teamEdit

Pinkelman debuted for the United States sevens team at the 2016 Wellington 7's, and quickly cemented himself in the team with his tireless work rate and expert work at the breakdown. Pinkelman was the youngest player selected for the U.S. Olympic men’s rugby team at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil, and started all five matches for the Eagles.[6][7][8]

Pinkelman's strong performance at the 2017 Hong Kong Sevens, especially in defense and at the breakdown, earned him his first Dream Team honors (the seven best players at a World Series of Sevens event are named to the Dream Team) .[9] At only 23, Pinkelman captained[10] the USA 7s side at the 2018 USA Sevens, in Las Vegas, where he led the U.S. to its first HSBC World Series of Sevens tournament win on home soil.[11] Ben also earned his second Dream Team honors from his performance in the USA's tournament win.

In 2019, Pinkelman started the year off strong securing Dream Team honors in the Hamilton, New Zealand leg of the 2018/2019 World Series by securing inclusion in his third Dream Team.[12] Pinkelman's strong work again earned him Dream Team[13] honors in Las Vegas, and led the Eagles to their second consecutive tournament win at home.[14] Pinkelman's exceptional performance throughout the 2018/2019 season led the USA to a 2nd place finish for the overall series, their highest finish on the World Series ever, and garnered Pinkelman a 2018/2019 Season Dream Team selection confirming his status as one of the best rugby players in the world. Pinkelman's current HSBC World Series of Sevens stats are here and more about his 2018/2019 season is here.

Pinkelman sat out the first two tournaments of the 2018–20 Series as part of his recovery from the 2019 Rugby World Cup. He made an impact upon his return to the third and fourth legs of the Series in New Zealand and Australia, earning selection to the Dream Team for the 2020 Australia Sevens.

U.S. national fifteens teamEdit

Pinkelman's strong performance on the World Rugby Sevens Series led Gary Gold, the Head Coach of the USA Men's 15s Eagles, to request Pinkelman to join the U.S. national fifteens team as a loose forward in the team’s preparation for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. Pinkelman made his debut for the national fifteens team on August 2 in a win against Samoa at the 2019 World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup.

Pinkelman's performance in the Pacific Nations Cup earned him selection to the 2019 USA's Rugby World Cup side. He was selected for the World Cup squad despite the fact that he did not play the fifteens version of rugby union for three years prior to his selection to the team in the lead up to the World Cup. At the World Cup, he was not named to the match day squad for the opening match, but he did play in all three of the U.S. team’s remaining matches as a second half substitute.


  1. ^ "Youth Player Of The Year: Ben Pinkelman". 8 January 2015. Retrieved 2016-07-19.
  2. ^ "This Is American Rugby: Ben Pinkelman Earns Graham Downes Scholarship". 7 May 2014. Retrieved 2016-07-19.
  3. ^ "The Man, The Myth, The Rugby Player". Seven Little Anchors. 2015-07-30. Retrieved 2016-07-19.
  4. ^ Solomon, Alex (23 October 2015). "D1A Player of the Week – Ben Pinkelman". Retrieved 2016-07-19.
  5. ^ Solomon, Alex (10 April 2015). "D1A Player of the Week: Ben Pinkelman". Retrieved 2016-07-19.
  6. ^ Nguyen, Joe (18 July 2016). "Colorado's Ben Pinkelman named to U.S. Olympic men's rugby team". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2016-07-19.
  7. ^ McCarthy, Matt (18 July 2016). "USA Rugby Names 2016 U.S. Olympic Men's Rugby Team. Interviews w/ Ebner & Wyles". Rugby Wrap Retrieved 2016-07-19.
  8. ^ Harper, Garrett (18 July 2016). "Quick Reaction: Surprises in USA Mens 7s Eagles Named for Rio". Rugby Wrap Retrieved 2016-07-19.
  9. ^ "HSBC Dream Team for Hong Kong". Retrieved 2019-05-13.
  10. ^ "One to watch - Ben Pinkelman". Retrieved 2019-05-13.
  11. ^ "USA get first series win on home soil". Retrieved 2019-05-13.
  12. ^ "Dream Team: Hamilton". Retrieved 2019-05-13.
  13. ^ "Seven stars made up HSBC Dream Team in Vegas". Retrieved 2019-05-13.
  14. ^ "Highlights: USA back to back champs in Las Vegas". Retrieved 2019-05-13.

External linksEdit