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USA Women Finish 7th in Dubai

  • 04 Dec 2023
USA 7s rugby

The 2023-24 HSBC SVNS season began last weekend in Dubai, and the USA Rugby Women’s 7s team went 2-3 and finished 7th overall. The Eagles will look to build on that performance in round two in Cape Town, South Africa, this weekend. [Lead photo: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby]

“It was great to be back on the World Series,” USA Women’s 7s head coach Emilie Bydwell said. “Something that can be difficult to remember until you actually get back out there is that you have to reinvent yourself and deliver – every season, every tournament, and every game.

“We have a strong foundation,” the coach continued. “[W]e’ve worked hard on our values and philosophy in what we’re trying to do and we have collective belief in what we are capable of. At the end of the day, what matters are actions in the moment, and this weekend was a lesson for us on that.”

USA 7s rugby

Jaz Gray vs. Canada / Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

The Eagles kicked off Pool C action with a 27-0 win against Spain. Jaz Gray, Ilona Maher, Ariana Ramsey and Spiff Sedrick scored tries, while Nicole Heavirland added a conversion. Canada was next, and the teams went into the break tied at five. Lauren Doyle accounted for the Eagles’ try while Krissy Scurfield accounted for the Canadians’ points. Gray put the USA ahead with a second try in Dubai, 10-5, but then a USA yellow card gave Canada the advantage and two tries followed: 15-10 the final to Canada.

“Last season, we had a lot of close games that we ended up gritting out at the last whistle, and that wasn’t what happened this weekend,” Bydwell said. “It’s such an important inflection point for us around taking control, delivering on the details, and bringing the energy and work ethic that we pride ourselves on.”

USA 7s rugby

Kris Thomas / Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

Pool play ended with a 38-5 loss to France. Kris Thomas accounted for the Eagles’ try. But the Americans had a good enough point differential to take the “best 3rd place team” berth to the Cup quarterfinals. On Sunday, the USA faced eventual Dubai 7s champion Australia, and lost 32-5. Ramsey scored the Eagles’ try.

“We need to be more disciplined in the details of our framework on both attack and defense,” Bydwell said. “These aspects are emphasized by how the game and opposition is continuing to improve, and you can’t get away with things if you don’t get the small details right. We need to accelerate our work off the ball, whether that be in support, in our reload, or in our alignment to address the fact that other teams are working really hard to make spaces quickly.”

USA 7s rugby

Lauren Doyle / Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

The tournament format wasn’t fully built out, in that the Cup quarterfinal losers did not filter into a Plate competition. Instead, the four teams went straight to placing matches, and the USA saw Brazil to determine 7th place. Gray and Naya Tapper scored two tries apiece, while Doyle and Maher also dotted down. Alev Kelter (3) and Kayla Canett kicked the conversions in the 38-7 win.

“[A]t the end of the day what we know is that big scorelines in sevens aren’t necessarily representative of what the next game you play against that team is going to be. We go back to the detail on what actually impacts the game. We are grateful we have another chance to improve and deliver next week.”

Cape Town SVNS kicks off Saturday, Dec. 9. broadcast information to be announced soon.

USA 7s rugby

Naya Tapper / Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

USA Women’s Sevens Roster | Emirates Dubai 7s

Name Position HSBC Tournaments
1. Cheta Emba Prop/Hooker 30
2. Ilona Maher Center 23
3. Kayla Canett Flyhalf 22
4. Nicole Heavirland Hooker/Scrumhalf 35
5. Alev Kelter Center 40
6. Alena Olsen Scrumhalf 17
7. Naya Tapper (C) Wing 34
11. Kris Thomas Hooker/Prop 40
17. Alex “Spiff” Sedrick Center 13
21. Ariana Ramsey Wing 3
22. Sammy Sullivan Prop/Wing 7
23. Lauren Doyle (C) Wing 40
99. Jaz Gray Wing 10
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