Hometown Hero: Team USA Rugby’s Madison Hughes

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (WHDH) - New England Patriots safety Nate Ebner is not the only player on the United States Men’s Rugby team with New England ties; captain Madison Hughes also has a local connection.

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Hughes, 23, was born in London and has dual citizenship. His father is English but his mother is from Leominster and graduated from Boston College. Hughes himself graduated from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and said New England is special to him.

“I just have so many fond memories being with my family, having so many special memories there, of incredible moments at my grandmother’s lake house,” said Hughes.

Hughes has been playing rugby since he was 7 years old; he competed in high school and continued playing at Dartmouth. While in college, he made the U.S. Rugby Men’s sevens team, the Eagles. He was named captain his senior year of college, when he was the youngest person on the team.

“I knew at the end of the day, I really wanted to accomplish those twin goals of getting my education, while also pursuing high-level rugby.”

Rio marks the return of rugby to the Summer Olympics for the first time since 1924. That year, the United States won the gold.

“The Olympics is the pinnacle of the world’s sport,” said Hughes. “To have rugby sevens rejoin the conversation, I think had just done so much for rugby already and we’re everything we can to put in a good performance and really try to take rugby in this country to the next level.”

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