slide 1

NOTE: Only paying subscribers have access to locked content. LEARN MORE.

USA 7s Finds Ways to Win

  • 30 Jan 2023

The USA Rugby Women’s 7s Team won the bronze medal in Sydney, taking home its fourth-straight medal this 2022-23 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. The Eagles mow have 66 points in the standings, tying Australia for second. (Lead photo: Alex Ho,

“The second weekend is always difficult with all teams wanting to come out and show what they can do and improve on the previous weekend’s performance,” USA Women’s 7s head coach Emilie Bydwell told USA Rugby. “We really had to take a look at ourselves after day one because we didn’t feel that we met the intensity of the other teams and were not performing on the actions that make us the team that we are.”

Pool C was a cracker, as the USA, Great Britain and Fiji all finished 2-1 on day one. All of the Eagles’ matches were single-digit decisions: 14-12 win against Canada, followed by a 17-14 loss to Fiji, then 12-10 win against Great Britain. Point differential placed the USA in third place, but the Eagles advanced to the Cup Quarterfinals with the “Best 3rd Place” seed. The USA had to face Great Britain again.


Sydney 7s rugby

Photo © 2023 Alex Ho


“Playing the same team, and beating the same team in the same day is very tough,” Bydwell said of the GB doubleheader. “We changed our plan slightly going into the second game and the players executed on that allowing us to feel more in control.  We also had the opportunity to have some roster adjustments seeing Nana Fa’avesi start and Alex Sedrick contributing significant minutes – they both allowed us to provide a different dynamic and energy in a critical game.”

The USA scored two tries through Kristi Kirshe and Naya Tapper, and allowed one-against in the 10-5 win against Great Britain.

The victory afforded a fourth-straight trip to the Cup semifinals, but France outplayed the Eagles in a 20-7 decision. Les Bleus went on to lose the Gold medal match to New Zealand, 35-0.


Photo © 2023 Alex Ho


Meanwhile, the USA faced Ireland for third-place honors.

“We knew how badly Ireland wanted that medal, and we respect them tremendously as a team,” Bydwell said. “We knew that we were going to have to find enough energy to match their intensity and play the game phase by phase if we wanted the outcome.”

Kirshe scored her fourth try of the tournament and Sammy Sullivan dotted down her second. Kayla Canett kicked a conversion in a 12-5 victory.


Cheta Emba rugby

Photo © 2023 Alex Ho


“We know it wasn’t pretty, but for us, medaling and building a culture of doing that consistently is incredibly important,” Bydwell said. “Wins aren’t always going to feel great, but that’s not what matters for us right now, what matters is that we find a way to win, we work for each other and get as many points as we possibly can toward Olympic qualification.”

Throughout the course of the weekend, nine players scored points. Kirshe led with 20 (4T), followed by Sullivan (2T) and Canett (5C) with 10 apiece. Nicole Heavirland accounted for seven points (T, C), while Lauren Doyle, Cheta Emba, Ilona Maher, Naya Tapper scored a try each. Alena Olsen kicked one conversion.


USA Rugby 7s

Photo © 2023 Alex Ho


“We definitely know that we didn’t perform the way we wanted to in the second weekend, so we will be taking a look at that and also some of the terrific things that players did over both weekends and make sure we recognize those and carry them forward,” Bydwell reviewed both Hamilton and Sydney 7s tournaments. “We will be able to review aspects of our tactical decision making and see where there were opportunities, particularly in the second weekend that we could have put ourselves in a better position to control the France game and be in more control across some of the other games.”

The players get the week off and then will return to Chula Vista in preparation for the final three legs of the series: Vancouver (March 3-5), Hong Kong (March 31-April 2) and Toulouse (May 12-14).

Article Categories:

Leave a Reply