USA lock Jenny Kronish / Photo: Travis Prior for USA Rugby
USA RUGBY – Head Coach Rob Cain has made 12 changes to his roster for the USA Women’s XVs National Team’s final home test of 2021 against Canada this Friday at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colo. Part of the Pacific Four Regional Series, Coach Cain and his side will seek retribution for Monday’s 9-15 loss in what was the first return to test match rugby in two years.
Date: Friday, November 5
Kickoff: 6 p.m. MT
Venue: Infinity Park, Glendale, Colo.
Competition: Pacific Four Regional Series
Streaming: World Rugby’s website, Facebook and YouTube
- Saher Hamdan (hooker) and Ilona Maher (wing) will start after earning their first cap on Monday
- Bulou Mataitoga (wing) and Katana Howard (center) make their first test appearances since 2019
- Kathryn Johnson and Amy Talei Bonte could play for the first time since 2019 if called up from the bench
- Nick James starts at prop with Charli Jacoby named to the reserves
- Elizabeth Cairns starts at flanker in place of Rachel Ehrecke
- Gabby Cantorna replaces Megan Foster at flyhalf
- Hallie Taufoou could earn her first cap as a reserve
- Kayla Canett could play her first 15s match since the 2017 Rugby World Cup
Head Coach Rob Cain said:
“Full credit to Canada, they took their limited opportunities and unfortunately we weren’t able to when it mattered. Test match rugby is unforgiving. The speed and physicality are at another level and this first test match in 2 years is a very important reminder that we need to get that extra level of precision right in real time when it matters.
“Frustration aside, we got some very positive indications we are on the right road as a team after such a long hiatus from international competition. We got some very important answers to questions in terms of whether individuals could play at this level either for the first time or after such a long time away.
“As a team, with and without the ball, we are making better choices than before, creating more pictures that we want, when we want them. In this next test match, we need to see these pictures quicker and execute at the level we showcase all week in training.
“We are excited for this next group to take these key learnings and implement them in real time as we continue to push on with another improved performance.
“Thank you to all those who supported us in-person on Monday. It was such a special occasion for the players to have you all there. We can’t wait to hear from you all again this Friday.”
Last Test Recap
On Monday, the Women’s Eagles and Canada returned to test match rugby for the first time in two years. The squad played through jitters in the first half for what was a physical contest for all 80-minutes. Handling errors and basic mistakes kept the ball bouncing between sides as both teams tried to find momentum in attack. Canada scored two tries while the USA took every opportunity for points by way of three penalties from Megan Foster. The United States had its match winner over the line in the final minutes but the Canadians held it up and penalties ruled the rest of the game. Disappointing as it was, the USA showed promising defense in its allowance of only two opposition tries. Last time the Eagles took the field against their rivals in 2019, margins were much higher between the two sides.
Friday allows Coach Cain to continue testing combinations on his roster as players make the transition from Daily Training Environments and intrasquad scrimmages to formal international competition. Canada are a well-coached and talented team who will be more prepared for the Eagles and cold weather conditions in Colorado. Despite all the variables weighing for or against each side, the two rivals have less than a year before they meet at the World Cup in New Zealand, meaning every mistake and opportunity for points counts tenfold in the grand scheme of tactical planning preparation.
USA WNT ROSTER vs CANADA
Position. Player – Current Club (# caps)
1. Hope Rogers – Life West (30)
2. Saher Hamdan – Life Univ. (1)
3. Nick James – Sale (ENG) (13)
4. Jenny Kronish – Beantown (1)
5. Kristine Sommer – Gloucester Hartpury (ENG) (14)
6. Elizabeth Cairns – Life West (12)
7. Rachel Johnson – Exeter (ENG) (8)
8. Kate Zackary (c) – Exeter (ENG) (16)
9. Carly Waters – Saracens (ENG) (5)
10. Gabby Cantorna – Exeter (ENG) (9)
11. Bulou Mataitoga – Berkeley (3)
12. Katana Howard – Sale (ENG) (4)
13. Alev Kelter – USA 7s (14)
14. Ilona Maher – USA 7s (1)
15. McKenzie Hawkins – CO Gray Wolves (4)
16. Catie Benson – Sale (ENG) (23)
17. Charli Jacoby – Loughborough (ENG) (7)
18. Maya Learned – Gloucester Hartpury (ENG) (3)
19. Hallie Taufoou – CO Gray Wolves (0)
20. Kathryn Johnson – Twin Cities (2)
21. Olivia Ortiz – Davenport & Chicago NS (6)
22. Amy Talei Bonte – Life West (6)
23. Kayla Canett – USA 7s (7)
USA Women’s XVs Traveling Staff (Glendale)
Head Coach | Rob Cain Team Manager | Lou Stewart Assistant Coach | Jamie Burke Assistant Coach | Rich Ashfield Assistant Coach | Kate Daley Analyst | Callum Howells Analyst | Caitlin Singletary Head of Strength & Conditioning | Sylvia Braaten Strength and Conditioning | Albert Sasu Lead Athletic Trainer | Hilary Stepansky Athletic Trainer | Amie Kern Athletic Trainer | Jade Callan
USA Women’s XVs Autumn Internationals
All times local.
Monday, November 1 | 9-15 (L) vs Canada Glendale, CO Broadcast: World Rugby Facebook + YouTube
Friday, November 5 | 6 PM vs Canada Glendale, CO Broadcast: World Rugby Facebook + YouTube
Friday, November 12 | 7:15 PM vs Ireland Dublin, IRE Broadcast: FloRugby
Sunday, November 21 | 2:45 PM vs England Worcester, UK Broadcast: FloRugby