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Eagles Named for Final WXV2 Clash vs. Italy

  • 26 Oct 2023
usa rugby-scotland

Interim Head Coach Milton Haig announced today the USA Women’s Eagles Match Day 23 who are set to meet Italy in the final WXV 2 match in Cape Town, South Africa. USA vs. Italy kicks off at 11 a.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 28, live on RugbyPass TV. [Lead photo: Johan Rynners – World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images]

“We’re excited about this selection, it gives a few players an opportunity to show what they’ve learned over the last three weeks and gives some of our younger players an opportunity as well,” Haig said. “This is a really big game for us. We’ve had an eight day turnaround, so have had plenty of rest and time to do our preparation to put a good game plan in place. We’re excited about the opportunity to play on Saturday, and we’re hoping the athletes that put on the jersey this weekend get us a win for the USA.”

USA Women’s Eagles Roster v Italy

Name Club Caps
1. Catie Benson Sale Sharks 39
2. Paige Stathopoulos Beantown 3
3. Keia Mae Sagapolu Leicester Tigers 5
4. Hallie Taufoou Beantown 13
5. Erica Jarrell Beantown 4
6. Freda Tafuna Lindenwood Univ 5
7. Tahlia Brody Leicester Tigers 6
8. Rachel Johnson Exeter Chiefs 24
9. Taina Tukuafu Lindenwood Univ 5
10. Gabby Cantorna Exeter Chiefs 23
11. Lotte Clapp Saracens 12
12. Katana Howard Sale Sharks 16
13. Kate Zackary (C) Ealing Trailfinders 34
14. Summer Harris Jones USA Sevens 2
15. Tess Feury Leicester Tigers 21
16. Kathryn Treder Loughborough Lightning 14
17. Alivia Leatherman Notre Dame College 0
18. Charli Jacoby CO Gray Wolves 22
19. Jenny Kronish Beantown 11
20. Rachel Ehrecke CO Gray Wolves 9
21. Carly Waters CO Gray Wolves 22
22. Kristin Bitter Rhinos Rugby Academy 2
23. Emily Henrich Beantown 11

Haig made several changes to Saturday’s roster putting hooker Paige Stathopoulos on the starting 15 with Kathryn Treder as a finisher. Keia Mae Sagapolu also starts as the tight head prop. Katana Howard joins the starting squad as inside center, while Summer Harris-Jones is named right wing. On the bench, Alivia Leatherman will have a chance to earn her first USA Eagles cap. Leatherman, a standout from Notre Dame College, played well with the USA Women’s U23s during the tour of Brazil this summer, earning an invite to the WXV camp.

Veteran Catie Benson will step out for her 40th cap this Saturday, becoming only the 5th USA Women’s Eagle to achieve that mark. Benson will start at prop for all three matches this tour. In another benchmark, No. 8 Rachel Johnson will also earn her 25th cap against Italy.

The USA’s last meeting with Italy was in their opening match at the 2021 Rugby World Cup one year ago, where Italy upset the Eagles in a 10-22 win. Italy heads into this weekend with two wins in South Africa  and leading the WXV2 standings, so will be looking to notch one more win and secure first place. The USA are not mathematically eliminated from winning the tournament, needing to beat Italy with a bonus point and see Scotland fall to Japan for a shot at the top spot. With renewed spirit and a solid combination of veterans and youthful energy, the Eagles will either way be looking to end their tour in South Africa on a high note.

USA Women’s Eagles Traveling Staff | WXV 2

Head Coach | Milton Haig
Assistant Coach | John Haggart
Assistant Coach | Melodie Bosman
Coach Intern | Karameli Fa’ae’e
Strength & Conditioning | Sylvia Braaten
Strength & Conditioning Assistant | Owethu Durban
Analyst | Caitlin Singletary
Doctor | Rebecca Rodriguez
Lead Physio | Katherine Henry
Physio | McKenna Medders
Team Manager | Tiffany Lopez
Team Liason | Jongi Nokwe

USA Women’s Eagles WXV 2 Schedule

All matches live on RugbyPass
Saturday, Oct. 14
v. Samoa | 36-26 (W)

Friday, Oct. 20
v. Scotland | 14-24 (L)

Saturday, Oct. 28
v. Italy | 11 a.m. ET

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