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USA Names Roster for Opening HSBC World Rugby 7s Series Stops

  • 27 Nov 2022
USA 7s Rugby

The 2022-23 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series begins on Dec. 3 for the women, and the USA has named its 14-player roster for the first two rounds in Dubai, UAE, and Cape Town, South Africa. The series represents the first opportunity for 2024 Olympic qualification, and that is where the Eagles’ focus lies. [Lead photo: Alex Ho]

RELATED: Bydwell: Layering Through the RWC

“We are so excited to get this season underway,” USA Women’s 7s head coach Emilie Bydwell said. “We know that it’s going to be fiercely competitive with all teams bringing their very best to each competition. We know how much every game is going to matter in our pursuit of Olympic qualification so we plan to take everything game by game and moment by moment.”

The USA, which finished 6th overall in 2021-22, needs to end this seven-stop series in the top four to book its spot in the 2024 Olympics. Otherwise, a potentially tricky qualification route follows (read more from Bydwell).


Sam Sullivan Rugby

Sullivan and the RWC 7s © 2022 Alex Ho


Eleven players return from the 2022 Rugby World Cup (RWC) Sevens, where the USA finished fourth. Among the veterans is Naya Tapper, who serves as captain while Lauren Doyle recovers from injury; and Sammy Sullivan, whose first USA 7s cap occurred at the RWC 7s. Stephanie Rovetti is also back on the pitch after a lengthy injury rehab.

The Eagles will compete in Pool A against Canada, China and Australia.

“Our pool is a perfect way to kick off this season, especially seeing two teams we faced at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in September,” Bydwell said. “This way we’re able to measure our progress and assess how the things we’ve been focusing on at home have developed.


Naya Tapper rugby

Captain Tapper © 2022 Alex Ho


“We know how hard playing a brave and spirited Canadian team in game one is, so it’s exactly what we need to practice our ability, to remain present and take on what’s in front of us,” the coach continues. “China is skilled and resilient and will be a really good way for us to again, remain present, focus on our plan and give us some different problems to solve. Lastly, to end the first day of the tournament with the World’s best team in Australia, couldn’t be a better opportunity!”

The USA kicks off on Friday, Dec. 2 at 12 a.m. ET, and all matches will be live-streamed on Peacock.

USA Women’s Sevens Roster | Emirates Airlines / HSBC Dubai Sevens

Name Position HSBC Tournaments
1. Cheta Emba (she/her) Prop/Hooker 22
2. Ilona Maher Center/Prop 17
3. Kayla Canett Flyhalf / Scrumhalf 14
4. Nicole Heavirland Hooker/Scrumhalf 28
5. Alex “Spiff” Sedrick Flyhalf/Center 6
6. Alena Olsen Scrumhalf 9
7. Naya Tapper (C) Wing/Prop 26
9. Joanne “Nana” Fa’avesi (she/her) Prop 23
10. Stephanie Rovetti Flyhalf/Center 6
11. Kristen Thomas Hooker/Prop 32
12. Kristi Kirshe (she/her) Center/Prop 13
22. Sammy Sullivan Prop 0
99. Jaz Gray Wing 6

USA Women’s Eagles Staff
Head Coach | Emilie Bydwell (she/her)
Assistant Coach | Zack Test
Athletic Trainer | Nicole Titmas (she/her)
Strength & Conditioning | Trey Ford
Sports Psychologist | Peter Haberl (he/him)
Team Manager | Liz Strohecker (she/her)

USA Women’s Sevens Dubai Schedule
Friday, Dec. 2 (Times ET) • Live on Peacock
vs Canada | 12 a.m.
vs China | 4:05 a.m.
vs Australia | 7:35 a.m.

Knockout stages start Saturday, Dec. 3 at 12 a.m. ET

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