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All-Time American List: Brian Vizard

January 27, 2021

Most of us now know Brian Vizard as the head of the US Rugby Football Foundation, and as a TV announcer and analyst, but before all of that, Viz was the captain of the USA team. Little-known fact—Brian Vizard was this rugby reporter’s first interview, which happened in Chicago in 1991. He was an impressive athlete and knowledgeable rugby man then, and remains one. Vizard was a superb No. 8, playing a strong defense, able to cover the ground well, and with good hands. He started with the Grand Rapids Gazelles but moved on to play for OMBAC, where he teams up with scrumhalf Mike Saunders to form one of the best 8-9 combinations American rugby has ever seen. The OMBAC team they anchored won national DI club championships in 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, and 1994.  

Vizard made his debut for the USA in 1986 in a 9-9 tie with Japan. Soon his buddy Saunders was at scrumhalf with him on the Eagles as Vizard started all three games in the 1987 Rugby World Cup.

He captained the USA in the 1991 World Cup, and earned 22 caps during a time when the Eagles rarely played more than three games a year. He was a mobile and aggressive No. 8 with a deep understanding of the game, and this helped him be versatile enough to be a standout in 7s, too. Vizard represented the USA in 21 7s tournaments to add to his 15s legacy.

One of the most influential American rugby players in terms of his impact on the game after his retirement, Vizard was a force as a player, and that shoulder never be overshadowed by his accomplishments as a broadcaster and champion of the game.

This post originally appeared on Goff Rugby Report.

Read it here.