Women's Sevens
36 12
France
12 12
Women's Sevens  @ Mikuni World Stadium
Kitakyushu Sevens

USA Women's Sevens win Bronze Medal in Kitakyushu

KITAKYUSHU, JPN. – For the first time in history, the USA Women’s Sevens have reached the podium three times within one season. In the Bronze Final of HSBC Kitakyushu Sevens – the fourth of six rounds in an Olympic qualifying year – the United States came back from a messy first half to first tie and then beat France 36-12.

After sweeping pool play for the first time since 2017, the USA women upset reigning World Cup Champion and No. 1 New Zealand to reach the Semifinals. Though they were victims of their own mistakes against rival-Canada, the U.S. side came together in the Bronze Medal match with France to rally, win and set a new benchmark.

”A lot of first times were achieved this weekend by this group of young ladies. Extremely proud of how the whole squad continues to respond as I demand more from them," said Head Coach Chris Brown. "It’s clear their belief in their knowledge and abilities is enhancing. I’m continually asking for consistency in training and as our Assistant Coach Matt Long has said all weekend, 'when they trust in the process we can see the significant progress this group is making."

The USA displayed the same troubling mistakes in the opening minutes as they had in their preceding Semifinal loss to Canada. Conceding possession on a penalty, the Americans gave France prime position within their half which – despite a valiant defensive attempt -- resulted in a French try in the corner. The opposition added one more immediately after, as the USA left the ball unprotected at the breakdown, allowing France to steal it and score mid posts.

Opportunity finally took hold for the United States when Co-Captain Lauren Doyle noticed an open Ilona Maher on the outside and made a long pass for the Eagle to score, 7-12. With patient passing and careful footwork, the USA worked the ball to the edges once more where Doyle handily put it over to tie the game at halftime.

When play resumed, the United States returned with every effort. A perfect dummy-fend-pass combination by Jordan Matyas got the ball to Naya Tapper for a 19-12 lead within minutes. And despite Gray drawing a yellow card for mid-air contact on the restart, the Eagles Sevens didn’t allow the loss in numbers to hinder their stride.

A game-changing turnover by France put the ball right back in U.S. hands where Kristi Kirshe moved it within inches of the tryline before a tackle. A few phases kept the ball alive until Naya Tapper tossed it back to an open Kirshe who bullied her way over to score, 24-12.

Riding its renewed momentum, the United States continued its scoring spree for the remainder of the game while the French were now behind on their own errors.

With her feet grounded, Naya Tapper escaped two defenders desperately reaching to bring her down as the speedster ran straight for the tryline and Alev Kelter added her perfect trademark kick right after. 

Following a USA scrum, Co-Captain Lauren Doyle put the ball in Kristi Kirshe’s hands where Kirshe escaped two tackles of her own before passing back to Doyle with perfect timing for the final try, 36-12.

Following the historic victory and as a hugely impactful player for the U.S. side all weekend, Alev Kelter was named to the HSBC Dream Team following the conclusion of the match. 

With Canada winning the Gold Medal in Kitakyushu, the United States drop to third in the World Series Rankings with two more stops in Langford (May 11-12) and Biarritz (June 15-16).

The top four teams at the conclusion of the season will automatically qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. USA currently holds an 18-point lead over No. 5 France in the standings.


WOMEN’S EAGLES SEVENS STAFF

Head Coach | Chris Brown
Head of Physical Performance | Matt Long
Athletic Trainer | Nicole Titmas
Team Manager | Liz Strohecker


HSBC KITAKYUSHU SEVENS SCHEDULE

Pool C | Broadcast LIVE on World Rugby Sevens Facebook

vs England | 43-7 (W)
vs Fiji | 31-5 (W)
vs Ireland | 15-12 (W)

Cup Quarterfinals
vs New Zealand | 26-19 (W)

Cup Semifinals
vs Canada | 12-24 (L)

Bronze Final
vs France | 36-12 (W)

View Pool Draw Here
Visit World Series Stats Center


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