The Runner Sports

USA Rugby Captain Todd Clever To Hang Up The Boots After Rugby World Cup Qualifiers

It appears that America is to lose a major fixture of the rugby community this summer.

Veteran USA Eagle Todd Clever has announced his retirement from international rugby effective after the second 2019 World Cup Qualifier against the Canadians. The July 1 matchup will mark the conclusion of a storied and prolific rugby career spanning five continents and over 11 years playing domestically and abroad.

Clever has long been a staple of the USA Rugby scene and was an early frontiersman of a sport hitherto unexplored and untested by American rugby talent. Born in California, Clever gained his rugby baptism at Santa Teresa High School in San Jose and gained All-American acclaim while playing at University of Nevada, Reno. His  6’4″ build and unexpected speed turned heads in the USA Rugby coaching community and it wasn’t long before he donned the Eagles’ jersey in a 2003 match against Argentina at the ripe old age of 20.

Clever can also claim to be the first American admitted into the exclusive halls of the Southern Hemisphere’s Super Rugby competition. Featuring what is arguably the finest rugby talent on the planet, the Super Rugby competition contains teams from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Japan, and Argentina. After a stint in New Zealand, Clever joined up with the South African club the Golden Lions where he improved his international rugby education and visibility.  Another milestone for the Eagle occurred with his record-setting number of international test appearances in 2016 with 68 international caps for appearances in an American jersey.

In an interview given to USA Rugby, Clever reflected on the hanging up the boots after such an enterprising career.  “There have been many ups and downs in those 15 years…I’ve left everything on the field and did everything for my teammates.” Likewise, the 34-year-old looks forward to, “leaving on my own terms, on home soil, [and] in front of friends and family”.

As an American rugby founding father, it’s safe to assume that Clever’s weight, both literal and symbolic, will be missed in the Eagle clubhouse and out on the pitch. Wisely, USA Rugby named him a player representative to the Board of Directors, a role that will allow him to apply his experience as an international professional and an Eagle to the future growth of the sport.

Those wishing to watch the Swan Song of America’s most capped player can do so through The Rugby Channel on both June 24 and July 1 as the Eagles take on Canada as part of the 2019 World Cup Qualifier.

Eric Sweigert

Eric Sweigert

Currently a teacher-athlete up in Northern California, I was first introduced to rugby in college (go Aggies) and haven't looked back. Nowadays you can find me teaching American History and writing about a sport that provided many good memories and more than enough stitches.
Eric Sweigert