Photo: Mike Lee / KLC fotos
USA RUGBY – For the third straight tournament, the USA Women’s Eagles Sevens are Bronze medalists. After defeating France 26-5 in the Bronze Final at HSBC Canada Sevens in Langford, the United States secured its fourth medal of the season and a No. 2 World Ranking with one tournament to go.
All that remains is for the USA to step onto the field at the next stop in Biarritz to earn the single World Series point needed to confirm qualification to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The United States are currently the only team who have finished in the top four at every tournament this season.
“We’ve had to build a culture that’s based on unity and working hard for each other,” said Head Coach Chris Brown. “Getting a bond where we actually know a bit more about each other so they’re actually a bit more connected, have a bit more grace and more compassion with each other has been huge. Yes, we have to turn up and take the pitch in Biarritz, but to know as long as we’ve turned up, that we’ve qualified, is a pretty big achievement with a tournament to go.”
The United States were on the front foot for the bulk of their match against France, giving up only one try in the whole contest after converting three French penalties to tries of their own.
France was on defense for the majority of the first half as the United States did well to keep play in attacking territory and score two late tries just before halftime.
The first came from just behind five meters where Nana Fa’avesi passed the ball to Lauren Doyle with open space for a score mid-posts. Next it was Kristi Kirshe who stole the ball mid-offload and tossed it to Kris Thomas on the wing for a try in the corner, 12-0.
When the second half began, the United States continued to dominate possession.
After plucking the ball from a ruck, Nana Fa’avesi brought the U.S. within five meters. Two consecutive French penalties kept possession on the U.S. side as Fa’avesi made one final pass to Kristi Kirshe who cruised around the corner to dot down, 19-0.
Kirshe was a complete workhorse all weekend, creating space, finishing tries and making tackles to build her nomination to HSBC tournament Dream Team.
Immediately after, Kayla Canett added her own spin in the mix, winning a turnover from France and dancing straight to the try zone to make it 26-0.
France scored on the final play but it was all too late as the U.S. had already added another medal to what has become their most historic season of all time.
Currently ranked No. 2 in the world, the Women’s Eagles Sevens are eight points behind first-place New Zealand and another 20 points ahead of fifth-place France.
All will be decided June 15-17 when the United States conclude their Olympic qualifying season at the HSBC Biarritz Sevens.
CANADA 7s RESULTS
vs Spain 21-12 (W )
vs Fiji 28-7 (W)
vs France 12-0 (W)
vs Canada 12-7 (W)
vs New Zealand 12-26 (L)
vs France 26-5 (W)