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USA Names Pacific Four Series Roster for Spain Tour

  • 28 Feb 2023
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USA Rugby 15s

World Rugby has released initial details for the 2023 Pacific Four Series, and the first of three legs will occur on April 1 in Madrid, Spain. That opening round features the USA Women’s National Team (WNT) and Canada, and the overseas trip will also include a USA vs. Spain test on March 25.

The World Rugby Pacific Four Series involves the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. They play each other once during the season and a champion is named on standings. After the opening leg in Spain, Australia will travel to New Zealand in early June for round two. The final two rounds will occur in Canada in early July. Overall standings will name the champion. The Black Ferns hold the current trophy. More importantly, the series provides the structure for much needed international competition, and it’s also a means to qualify for the top tier of the WXV. The top-three teams automatically advance to the WXV Tier 1, while the fourth-place team will compete in Tier 2. More details on the 2023 WXV competition will be announced in March.

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“We have worked closely and collaboratively with competing nations and host unions to optimize the existing women’s international and domestic calendar for this year’s Pacific Four Series,” World Rugby Head of Women’s Competitions Alison Hughes said. “With a significant number of USA and Canada players based in Europe, playing round one of the Pacific Four Series 2023 in April takes advantage of the extended break these players would have faced while the domestic competitions in England and France pause for the Women’s Six Nations. We are delighted to be bringing the Pacific Four Series to new territories, including Spain in Madrid and hosting the final two rounds in Canada.”

As such, 19 of the 30 players selected to the USA WNT travel roster are signed to Allianz Premier 15s clubs. Sale Sharks (6), Darlington Mowden Park (5) and Exeter Chiefs (4) lead in the way of selections, while Saracens, Loughborough, Gloucester-Hartpury and Harlequins have sent one player apiece. Zackary, who recently played her 50th match with Exeter, returns as captain.

“We’ve identified a promising pool of players from various different pathways so this is an exciting time to kick off a new cycle as we look to build toward 2025,” WNT interim head coach Richard Ashfield told USA Rugby. “These upcoming fixtures will be a great opportunity to get some talented age grade players exposure to what it is like to play with the senior side. I’m also looking forward to seeing a couple of sevens players involved in 15s again, as well as some solid [Women’s Premier League] players that we plan on bringing into the mix. In addition to delivering some great rugby, my goal is to build a strong foundation and depth of players leading up to 2025.”

Nine uncapped players will be on tour. On the young end are Dartmouth College’s Kristin Bitter and Sophia Haley. They helped the Big Green to a repeat NIRA national championship in the fall and have been in the USA Pathways since the U18s. Mae Sagapolu is in her final year at Central Washington Univ. and impressed during the USA U23 games in Canada last summer. Same goes for front row Tiara A’au, the Oregonian who also has Wildcats roots. Autumn Czaplicki is one year out of West Chester University and was immediately indoctrinated into the USA 7s residency. Czaplicki and fellow 7s resident Summer Harris Jones actually faced each other in last weekend’s LAI 7s semifinal between Scion and Rhino – an absolutely epic game. Tahlia Brody has been playing all over the world, and before aligning with Championship North 1 Cheltenham Tigers in England, the back row helped Berkeley to a 2022 WPL National Championship. Megan Neyen (neé Pinson) also featured in that WPL championship final and was a U18 prospect before re-emerging with Beantown. And Jett Hayward is uncapped but traveled to New Zealand with the RWC squad. The Life West player joins 17 other teammates who were also on the World Cup travel squad.

PACIFIC FOUR SERIES ROSTER / USA RUGBY

Tiara A’au* – Rhino Academy
Evelyn Ashenbrucker – San Diego Surfers
Catie Benson – Sale (Eng)
Kristin Bitter* – Dartmouth College
Meya Bizer – DMP (Eng)
Tahlia Brody* – Cheltenham (Eng)
Gabby Cantorna – Exeter (Eng)
Charlotte Clapp – Saracens (Eng)
Autumn Czaplicki* – USA 7s
Tess Feury – DMP (Eng)
Rachel Ehrecke – DMP (Eng)
Summer Harris Jones * – USA 7s
McKenzie Hawkins – Colorado Gray Wolves
Eti Haungatau – Sale (Eng)
Sophia Haley – Dartmouth College
Jett Hayward* – Life West
Rachel Johnson – Exeter (Eng)
Jojo Kitlinski – Sale (Eng)
Jenny Kronish – Harlequins (Eng)
Maya Learned – Gloucester-Hartpury (Eng)
Bulou Mataitoga – Loughborough (Eng)
Megan Neyen* – Beantown
Georgie Perris-Redding – Sale (Eng)
Olivia Ortiz – DMP (Eng)
Hope Rogers – Exeter (Eng)
Keiamae Sagapolu* – Central Washington Univ.
Kathryn Treder – DMP (Eng)
Alycia Washington – Sale (Eng)
Carly Waters – Sale (Eng)
Kate Zackary – Exeter (Eng), captain

INJURY RESERVES
Emmerson Allen – Railway Union (Ire)
Katana Howard – Sale (Eng)
Charli Jacoby – Exeter (Eng)
Erica Jarrell – Beantown
Sophie Pyrz – Rhino Academy
Paige Stathopoulos – London Irish (Eng)

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