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‘Who knows’: SVNS great Perry Baker hints at potential retirement backflip

By Finn Morton
Perry Baker of the USA runs in for a try during the 2024 Perth SVNS men's 7th Place Play-Off match between USA and Spain at HBF Park on January 28, 2024 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Two-time World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year Perry Baker has hinted at a potential retirement backflip after previously signalling an intent to step away from the sport after the Olympics.

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It’s been widely reported by American media outlets, including NBC Olympics, that Baker’s decorated rugby career is set to end on the world’s biggest sporting stage in Paris in just a couple of months.

Baker debuted on the sevens circuit during the 2014/15 season and has gone on to make history by becoming one of the most prolific players in the sport with more than 280 tries to his name.

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The man known around the sevens world as ‘The Speedstick’ has been a trailblazer for the growth of American rugby and will no doubt go down in history as one of the all-time greats.

While it’ll be a day for the SVNS Series when Perry Baker eventually hangs up the boots, the former Philadelphia Eagles squad member might not be calling it quits just yet.

After scoring a hat-trick in the USA’s 40-19 win over Germany in Madrid on Friday, Baker – who will turn 38 in June, it’s worth noting – dropped a retirement bombshell with a smile.

“I might keep going and go to Hong Kong or LA again and then retire after that tournament,” Baker told RugbyPass. “Who knows?”

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With the iconic No. 11 on his back, Baker was the last American player to run out onto the field at Madrid’s Civitas Metropolitano ahead of a decisive playoff clash with Germany.

Germany were impressive during World Rugby’s Challenger Series this season, and that included a confidence-building runners-up finish in the Munich final earlier this month.

With this being the first step in their quest for SVNS Series core status for next season, this was a match the Americans had to win.

But it didn’t start well.

Germany scored two early tries which saw the underdogs take a surprise 12-nil lead. But then the Eagles Sevens wrestled their way into the fight, with Baker playing a starring role.

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Baker scored a hat-trick, which included a quick double in the first half to give the Americans the lead, as the USA began to run away with it.

“A win is a win, man. It’s always good to get a W no matter how it went. We started off kind of slow,” Baker said.

“We know we’ve got a big game next one so we’ve got to come out and try and fight hard to get another win.

“It was an early game, it’s early, there’s a lot of rugby to be played so we just had to calm down, get our composure… there’s no need to panic at all.”

After missing out on the top eight in the SVNS Series, USA will battle it out in the playoffs in Spain’s capital. There are eight teams in the fight but only four can earn core Series status.

The Eagles are also in Pool A along with Canada and Uruguay. It’s a tough pool but the win first up saw them got off to a perfect start as they look to find and kill “the lion.”

“Some of the boys it will be their last time putting on the jersey, playing on the World Sevens Series. But, for the younger boys, we still want to have them on the Series.

“The message is, man, be who we are. It’s unfortunate we’re in this situation, we put ourselves in this situation, but we know we shouldn’t be here.

“It’s all about finding the lion and killing the lion.”

Catch all of the SVNS Madrid action live and free on RugbyPass TV. To watch the Grand Final, register HERE.

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