By Nick MulvenneyRIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (Reuters) – The United States had their 92-year reign as Olympic rugby champions brought to a dramatic end when they lost 24-19 to Pacific power Fiji in the final pool match at the inaugural Olympic sevens tournament yesterday.Winners of the last Olympic gold medal awarded in 15-man rugby at the 1924 Paris Games, the United States needed only to avoid defeat by a margin of five points or more to reach the quarter-finals and send sevens powerhouse New Zealand home.The match fluctuated back and forth until NFL special teams player Nate Ebner rampaged down the touchline for a 40-metre try in the final minute, which give Madison Hughes the chance to add the extra points and keep the United States alive.The American skipper screwed his conversion wide, however, and it was 12-times world sevens series champions New Zealand who moved into the last eight for a meeting with the Fijians, who have won the world series title for the last two years.“They’re the world champs for a reason,” said crestfallen American Danny Barrett.“What else can you say? All credit to them.”South Africa play Australia, Britain face Argentina and Japan will hope to continue their fairytale run against France in the other quarter-final matches later yesterday.New Zealand were left banking on the Fijians after suffering a second defeat in two days at the Deodoro Stadium, going down 21-19 to Britain despite racking up 19 unanswered points in the second half.Coming after their stunning loss to Japan on day one, during which they also lost Sonny Bill Williams and Joe Webber to injury, the defeat left the All Blacks teetering on the brink of an embarrassing exit.The Japanese, ranked 10th of the 12 teams at the tournament and hosts of the next Olympics, picked up where they left off on Tuesday with a 31-7 thumping of world sevens series regulars Kenya to ensure they would be in the last eight.Japan’s outstanding Lomano Lemeki scored two tries, the first off a sublime sidestep, to lead the tournament with a total tally of four.Australia, whose women’s team won gold on Monday, kept alive their campaign after a lacklustre start with a 12-5 victory over second seeds South Africa, whom they will meet again in the semi-finals.Argentina were again in impressive form in a physical all-South American clash against Brazil, running in five tries for a 31-0 victory.
DES MOINES — Iowans who are buzzing with enthusiasm for boosting the pollinator population ought to take part in the second annual Backyard Bumble Bee Count, starting Friday.Jill Utrup, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, says even if you can only spare a few minutes and manage to spot a couple of bees, it will be worthwhile to log in and join the cause. “The purpose of the Backyard Bumble Bee Count is really to enlist the help of folks who are interested to help document bumble bee occurrence and overall abundance,” Utrup says. “We’re looking at this as kind of an outreach tool for the endangered rusty-patched bumble bee but this project really helps us learn about all different species.”You’ll need to get close enough to the bees to take a few pictures over the course of the nine-day count. It’s a valid concern to be cautious about getting stung, and Utrup assures, if you approach slowly and carefully, you should be fine. “Bumble bees are quite docile and what you’ll notice is, if you do get a little bit closer to them, you’ll notice they want nothing to do with us,” Utrup says. “They’re very different from wasps and hornets. When they are focused in on nectaring, they’re not paying attention to us at all.”The dates of the count run from July 24th through August 2nd, during which you’re asked to count the number of bees and species you see, while documenting the time you’ve spent observing and where. “These surveys can be just a few minutes, if you happen to find just a couple of bumble bees in your front yard, or they can be a more structured survey,” Utrup says. “If you happen to be in a park for a good half an hour or something like that, we actually have survey sheets you can print out to help you structure your survey a little bit more.”Register for the count through the i-Naturalist website.