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USA Drop PAC4 Opener to Canada

  • 28 Apr 2024
  • 2821 Views
USA Rugby

LOS ANGELES – The USA Rugby Women’s Eagles fell to Canada 7-50 in the first match of the 2024 Pacific Four Series. Playing on home soil in Los Angeles the Eagles have some lessons and positive takeaways to bring into their next two matches in New Zealand and Australia. [lead photo: Alex Ho @hoiho_photo]

The Eagles showed promise on both sides of the ball against Canada. They kept up great defensive pressure, leading in several penalty turnovers. But a physical and intent Canadian side were quick and urgent, ultimately taking the win Sunday afternoon.

Some big lessons are in play for the Eagles as they head to New Zealand for their next Pacific Four Series matchup. The team will travel this week and reconvene to prepare and hone their skills as they prepare for their next game against New Zealand.

USA v New Zealand kicks off Friday, May 10, at 10:05 pm ET, live on Peacock.

 

USA Rugby

Photo: Alex Ho @hoiho_photo

Comments from Head Coach Sione Fukofuka:
“It was a tough result, and shows the gap that exists at the moment. We’ll work pretty hard to close that gap, but Canada are a class outfit. Our takeaways are around our ability to convert our set piece possession into a little bit of momentum and clearly our field possession put us under pressure.

It was outstanding being in Chula Vista initially and here in Los Angeles was great. There were a lot of familiar faces in the crowd and it was a great day for rugby. I’m disappointed with our performance but so excited to bring rugby to LA and get more opportunities to play on home soil.”

Comments from Captain Rachel Johnson:
“It’s a tough result and not the result we wanted. But sport is hard and we compete because we want a challenge. Today was a challenge. We didn’t come on top of that challenge but PAC4 is a long series. We’re building in this group. We finally have a permanent coach on board, so it takes some time to get aligned. I believe in the heart and fight of this team so we’re ready to put our heads down and get to work. Last time we played New Zealand, we led them at half, so we know that’s another challenge ahead but we’re also ready to face it and continue our build toward New Zealand and Australia.

 

USA Rugby

Photo: Alex Ho @hoiho_photo

A massive thank you to the fans. It’s such an honor and privilege to play back at home. it’s been too long, hopefully we do it again soon. Next time we do it, we’ll give you guys the win you deserve.”

Match Recap
The USA began their home match against their northern rivals with confidence, putting on the pressure to win the attack and earn some line out opportunities. But Canada would show their dominance early on, taking a maul and pushing down to the first score of the game. The Canada maul would be a major player in the game, as they used it off another line out to get the second try of the match.

 

USA Rugby

Photo: Alex Ho @hoiho_photo

As both teams kicked for territory, the USA found themselves with a great attacking opportunity. Interim captain Rachel Johnson pushed through a lot of defenders to get the ball down the center, and they continued trying to play quick off Canada penalties.

Another USA line out let the Eagles show off the work they’ve done on their rolling maul, drawing in Canadian defenders. Rachel Johnson snuck the ball out and offloaded for a series of try line phases before Georgie Perris-Redding finished the play under the posts for a USA try. Gabby Cantorna slotted an easy conversion for seven total points.

 

© 2024 Alex Ho @hoiho_photo

A long kick at restart went to a goal line drop out, and Canada responded fast to add more points. The USA continued to be strong on defense and hold off Canada for the rest of the first half. Pressure by the Eagles gave way to a few Canada mistakes that gave them some set piece opportunities.

While possession changed, especially through a kicking game amongst the teams, the USA couldn’t find the space to set up their attacking plays and finish the momentum they built. The USA had the final attacking opportunity at the end of the first half, but the whistle blew with a 7-17 lead by Canada heading into the final 40 minutes.

With an entire second half to come back two tries down, the Eagles needed to keep up their defensive pressure and hold on to possession longer. But a forward pass gave the ball back to Canada, who scored quickly from the game restart.

 

USA Rugby

Photo: Alex Ho @hoiho_photo

The USA looked to be losing steam while Canada gained in through the second half, increasing the score gap as the clocked ticked down. But the USA had some positive moments on attack, working their way down the field while keeping the ball alive. They used line outs to draw Canadian defenders away from the edge, but the opposition was quick to get to the ball and hold the USA away from scoring.

Heading into the final minutes of the match, Bulou Mataitoga went to the sin bin with a yellow, giving Canada a power play advantage. But the USA were first to attack one player down, breaking away and getting down the field with the hopes of scoring one more time. Urgent on attack, Emily Henrich had a quick offload to Atumata Hingano to trick defenders, but Canada was quick to react and keep the USA at bay.

A yellow card to Canada evened the playing field with minutes to go, and it was Canada with the final say with one more try, ultimately ending the game with a 7-50 loss.

USA Women’s Eagles v Canada

Name Club Test Caps
1. Hope Rogers Exeter Chiefs 45
2. Kathryn Treder Loughborough Lightning 18
3. Keia Mae Sagapolu Leicester Tigers 8
4. Erica Jarrell Sale Sharks 7
5. Hallie Taufoou Loughborough Lightning 15
6. Tahlia Brody Leicester Tigers 9
7. Georgie Perris-Redding (VC) Sale Sharks 12
8. Rachel Johnson (C) Exeter Chiefs 27
9. Olivia Ortiz Exeter Chiefs 18
10. McKenzie Hawkins Colorado Gray Wolves 14
11. Autumn Czaplicki USA Sevens 4
12. Gabby Cantorna Exeter Chiefs 26
13. Bulou Mataitoga Loughborough Lightning 15
14. Emily Henrich Unattached 14
15. Tess Feury (VC) Leicester Tigers 24
16. Paige Stathopoulos Beantown RFC 6
17. Catie Benson Sale Sharks 42
18. Charli Jacoby Queensland Reds 26
19. Jenny Kronish Beantown RFC 14
20. Rachel Ehrecke Colorado Gray Wolves 12
21. Cassidy Bargell Beantown RFC 2
22. Katana Howard Sale Sharks 19
23. Atumata Hingano USA Sevens 3
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