USA Women’s Eagles vs France Preview

Kickoff in San Diego, CA Sun, July 14 at 4 PM PT on Florugby.com

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Following a well-earned victory over reigning Super Series Champions and No. 3 rival Canada, the USA Women’s Eagles enter the final round of Super Series 2019 against No. 4 France. The match takes place at Torero Stadium on Sun, July 14, KO 4 PM PT, on FloRugby.com. Tickets are available at usarugby.org/superseries2019

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MATCH

Head Coach Rob Cain has made seven adjustments to the starting XV with four players from last week’s impactful bench taking starting positions. 

Among them are props Hope Rogers and Nick James, as well as lock Stacey Bridges who, as the most capped Eagle in the current squad, will make her 40th international appearance against France. Bridges is joined by fellow lock Nicole Strasko who earns her first starting position of the tournament after playing as a reserve in Round Two against New Zealand. 

With Fane Haungatau recovering from injury, center Amy Talei Bonte will jump in as a starter. The forward pack is rounded out with Joyce Taufa in at flanker.

The backs will see wing Neariah Persinger return from injury to earn her first official cap. Persinger was clinical when the USA faced the Barbarians in April, scoring two tries to accompany a number of exciting runs. 

As Sunday approaches, the Eagles’ lineup of reserves will look to make another sound impact as Katy Augustyn and Bui Baravilala return. Augustyn earned her 34th cap last match to pass USA Hall of Famer Phaidra Knight as the fourth-most capped Women’s Eagle. Baravilala has two of the three Super Series matchups missing the last one to a minor injury. 

STARTERS

NAME POSITION CLUB CAPS
1. Hope Rogers Prop USA Sevens 28
2. Joanna Kitlinski Hooker Glendale Merlins 11
3. Nick James Prop Houston Athletic 9
4. Nicole Strasko Lock Life West Gladiatrix 4
5. Stacey Bridges Lock Beantown Rugby 39
6. Rachel Johnson Flanker Oregon Sports Union 4
7. Joyce Taufa Flanker Lindenwood University 5
8. Kate Zackary (C) No. 8 San Diego Surfers 12
9. Ashlee Byrge Scrumhalf USA Sevens 3
10. Gabriella Cantorna Flyhalf Glendale Merlins 5
11. Jennine Duncan Wing Seattle Saracens 3
12. Amy Talei Bonte Center Life West Gladiatrix 3
13. Emily Henrich Center Dartmouth Rugby 5
14. Neariah Persinger Wing Unattached 0
15. Alev Kelter Fullback USA Sevens 12

RESERVES

NAME POSITION CLUB CAPS
16. Catie Benson Reserve Life West Gladiatrix 20
17. Charli Jacoby Reserve Chicago North Shore 3
18. Katy Augustyn Reserve Berkeley All Blues 34
19. Asinate Serevi Reserve Scion Rugby 4
20. Kristine Sommer Reserve Harlequins (ENG)
Seattle Saracens 
10
21. Olivia Ortiz Reserve Davenport University 3
22. Bui Baravilala Reserve San Diego Surfers 8
23. Kris Thomas Reserve USA Sevens 10

STAFF

General Manager | Emilie Bydwell
Head Coach | Rob Cain
Assistant Coach | Jamie Burke
Assistant Coach | Kate Daley
Assistant Coach Rich Ashfield
Coach/Team Manager | Jenny Lui
Head of Physical Performance | Ian Jones
Head Performance Analyst | Dave Gardner
Team Doctor | Terrence Cronin
Head Athletic Trainer | Katherine Henry
Athletic Trainer | Danielle Allen


LAST TIME ON THE PITCH AGAINST CANADA

The Eagles showed USA fans exactly what they’d been waiting for all tournament in a promising 20-18 victory over rival-Canada. It was the first time the USA had beaten their northern rivals since 2015, edging the overall record at 19 wins a piece. 

Using impressive defensive pressure, the United States were down 8-18 at halftime and came back to use impressive defensive pressure to shut out Canada in the second half, create multiple turnovers and force a total of three try-saving penalties throughout the game. 

Dartmouth Rugby’s Emily Henrich was a machine making impactful runs and scoring a try of her own, along with Alycia Washington who consistently saved and won turnovers all game. 

A runaway try by Alev Kelter added to the mix where a breakaway by Emily Henrich paired with a chip kick by Katana Howard for Kris Thomas to swoop in and spike the match-winning try in the corner. 

The win was a paramount confidence builder for a USA squad who played relentlessly through to losses to England and New Zealand. Coming back with a victory over Canada was a clear example of the style and performance the young team and program are building match over match. 

HIGHLIGHTS | FULL MATCH RECAP


THE MATCHUP | NO. 5 USA vs NO. 4 FRANCE

The USA women and France last met in the Bronze Final of Rugby World Cup Ireland 2017 where the French claimed a 31-23 victory. In 12 total meetings between both sides, the USA owns two wins including a 39-16 result from their first meeting in 1996. 

After an opening loss to Canada, France have bounced back well to upset No. 1 New Zealand 25-16 in the third round and fall just short to England in a tight 20-18 fourth round. 

With the United States confident in its preparation and style of play from their victory over Canada, the final round of Super Series will surely be another exciting and well-contested battle. 


SUPER SERIES OUTLOOK

England claimed the top seed last week after beating France which put them three points ahead of New Zealand in the standings. Sunday’s final round will see the Super Series champion decided in the first match between the No. 1 Black Ferns and No. 2 Red Roses. The team who wins that matchup will claim the tournament title and also the No. 1 world ranking. 

As Canada have concluded their Super Series campaign last week against USA, both France and the Eagles have a chance to improve their position. With a victory, the United States could claim third place with France dropping to fifth. 

If France win with a bonus point and New Zealand loses without a bonus point, the French will become runners-up. A double-bonus point win for the French and any loss by New Zealand would also allow France to finish second. 

SUPER SERIES 2019 STANDINGS

TEAM P W D L PF PA PD TF TA BP PTS
ENGLAND 3 3 0 0 77 40 37 12 6 1 13
NEW ZEALAND 3 2 0 1 84 45 39 10 5 2 10
CANADA 4 1 0 3 91 93 -2 12 13 3 7
FRANCE 3 1 0 2 62 72 -10 8 9 1 5
USA 3 1 0 2 25 89 -64 4 13 0 4

USA WOMEN

Round One


THOUGHTS FROM HEAD COACH ROB CAIN

“It’s been a great few days for the players reflecting from such a determined and exciting performance against Canada. To win the game with such a purposeful decision into the right space shows how far we have come from November. The exciting part is that there’s so much more to come.” 

“We know France are a very talented team who have both physicality through their ball carriers and patience through their kicking game but are also extremely dangerous in open space. This is another game full of opportunities for the players involved and for us as. We learn more about combinations and individuals each game and this will again be a great learning moment for us as coaches.” 

“As a team we want to continue to build upon our last performance showcasing our brand of USA rugby of both physicality and attacking intent. Every time we play we get a little better and we are looking to take the lessons learned against Canada into our game against France so we can keep aspiring to where we want to get too.” 


WHAT IS THE WOMEN

The Women’s Rugby Super Series is an international competition which features the world’s top-ranked national rugby teams in the 15-a-side version of the sport. Held in a round-robin format, the tournament was first introduced in 2015 in Canada where New Zealand claimed the inaugural title and England came runners-up. For the first time since its inception, the Women’s Super Series will increase from four to five participating teams in 2019 with the last iteration held in 2016 in the USA. The competition aims to provide players with highly competitive test matches to boost playing time and increase exposure for women’s rugby in the world. Matches contested in the Women’s Rugby Super Series count towards world rankings.


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