Women's Sevens
19 19
Australia
12 0
Women's Sevens  @ Spotless Stadium
Sydney 7s
  Joy Neville

USA Women's Sevens advance to Cup Quarterfinals with win over home team Australia

SYDNEY, AUS. - The final match of Pool C was definitely a must-win game for the Women's Eagles Sevens. With a keen recognition of space and much-improved work at the breakdown, the USA women beat home team Australia 19-12 at HSBC Sydney Sevens 2019. 

Following an opening win over China and a troubling loss to Spain, the United States closed pool play with a number of achievements to cement their place in the Cup Quarterfinals. 

Eagles Sevens newcomer Kristi Kirshe shined with a combination of speed and physicality that led her to score in every match of today's debut tournament. 

Naya Tapper scored her 65th try and passed 2016 Olympian Victoria Folayan as the USA's Women's Sevens' all-time leading try scorer. Tapper first tied the record in the aforementioned win over China. 

"Frustrating day where we didn't have the energy or excitement to be able to execute what we planned. It was clear the girls made a conscious decision before the last one which wasn't pretty at all but they weren't going to die wondering," said Head Coach Chris Brown. "A huge moment for Naya but I think what's best is she's added a number of other elements to her game over the last six months which will only make her a more complete strike player as she continues to develop." 

Surrounded by Australian defenders at the start, the Eagles Sevens remained patient and precise, moving the ball phase after phase until it reached inside the 22. There, Jordan Gray-Matyas saw space and dashed quickly between the post for the first try, 7-0. 

Kristi Kirshe made quick work of the next score, driving steadfast to the tryline with unstoppable stride and building the lead to 14-0. 

Then, increasing the shutout as she danced around the edge to make history was Naya Tapper. Tapper snagged the ball and run around the left flank with a classic fend to reach the tryzone and dot down, 0-19. 

A physical battle filled the final minute of the half as both teams wrestled with the ball until Captain Nicole Heavirland kicked it to touch. 

In the second half, Australia held on to position for quite some time, despite a long run by Naya Tapper and an equal progression by Kristi Kirshe. Neither was able to score, however, as a tackle and penalty put the ball back in Aussie hands. 

Though they struggled to pass the ball in warm and wet conditions at the Spotless Stadium, Australia's Evania Pelite found space and ended the shutout, 19-7. 

By this point both teams were desperate to have the final try but neither was successful at controlling the ball. 

On the final play, loose possession at the breakdown had USA called for a knock on. The ensuing scrum favored Australia who managed to score with seconds left on the clock by way of Emma Tonegato. 

But with a missed conversion, time expired and the referee called full time, sealing the much-needed USA victory at 19-12. 

The final match of Pool C was closer than it looked and hard fought on both sides. On one hand, the Eagles Sevens had well-improved from their loss to Spain; but on the other, they still conceded 12 points in the second half. 

Regardless of the ups and downs which are always a factor in sevens, the United States prevailed on account of skillful play and a targeted approach. 

The Women's Eagles Sevens will next face Russia in the Cup Quarterfinals today at 9:12 PM ET, LIVE on facebook.com/worldrugby7s


Women's Eagles Sevens Staff

Head Coach | Chris Brown
Performance Analyst | Dave Gardner
Athletic Trainer | Nicole Titmas
Team Manager | Liz Strohecker


HSBC Sydney Sevens 2019 Schedule & Results

Pool C | Broadcast LIVE on World Rugby Sevens Facebook

vs China | 26-10 (W)
vs Spain | 14-21 (L)
vs Australia | 19-12 (W) 

Cup Quarterfinals
vs Russia | Sat, Feb 1 - 9:12 PM ET 

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