Pittsburgh has a new Big Ben – Men’s Steeltoes win their Home Debut and Qualify for Premier Rugby Sevens Championship

Led by U.S. Olympian Ben Pinkleman, the men’s Pittsburgh Steeltoes of Premier Rugby Sevens dramatically won tonight’s Eastern Conference Finals in their home debut at Highmark Stadium. Needing to win both of their 14-minutes matches, the Steeltoes defeated the Texas Team 33-5 in the semifinal.  About three hours later in the final, the Steeltoes overcame a 19-point deficit to beat the Southern Headliners 21-19 after scoring 21 consecutive points. Ethan Hager (photo) scored two tries for the Steeltoes and Ben Pinkleman used his strength and force to overmatch the Headliners in the second half. Pinkleman took home the men’s Player of the Tournament.

With their two wins, the men’s Steeltoes qualified for the Premier Rugby Sevens 2023 Championship in Washington D.C., which will take place at Audi Field for a live national audience on FS1 on Sunday, Aug. 6.

The women’s Steeltoes night didn’t go as well as their male counterparts, losing their semifinal to the New York Locals 22-14, followed by a 29-0 loss to the Texas Team in the 3rd place match. The women’s Southern Headliners took home the tournament win, with the Headliners and Locals qualifying for DC.

Recap of teams in the Championship in DC on Aug. 6:


  • Southern Headliners
  • New York Locals
  • Northern Loonies
  • Rocky Mountain Experts


  • Pittsburgh Steeltoes
  • Texas Team
  • SoCal Rhinos x Loggerheads
  • Rocky Mountain Experts