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USA Women Almost Untouchable In Madrid On Day One

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The USA women did what was expected and dominated on Day One of Tournament One at the Madrid 7s.

Led by a strong debut from former ICEF standout Nia Tolliver, and with important contributions from the likes of Abby Gustaitis, 2017 Sorensen Award-winner Ilona Maher, and Cheta Emba, to name just three, the Eagles put a stranglehold on the opposition and looked relatively polished for a team that hadn’t played much.

USA 40 Poland 0

It turned out that Poland was a pretty useful side, but they were overmatched in their opener against the USA, even a USA team fielding some new players. The Eagles won the kickoff and spun the ball out to Emba, who used her hip to dismiss a tackler and then raced off around the corner to score. Easy as that, Emba converted her own try and it was 7-0. 

The USA restart didn’t go ten meters and that would be a feature of their day, and really their worst feature. Trying to drop that ball perfectly at 10.2 meters, they often kicked the ball only seven or so and ceded momentum to the opposition. But the USA defense was ery solid, and in this case they forced Poland back to their goal line, where Gustaitis forced a drop and Lauren Doyle gathered and was over. Nicole Heavirland was good with the kick to make the score 14-0. 

Once again the restart didn’t go 10, and this time Poland made some inroads before Maher slammed their wing into touch. From that lineout the Eagles spun it out to Tilliver, who stepped inside then outside and was gone for 50 meters and a try. That made it 21-0 with Heavirland’s conversion.

Penalties were an issue for the USA throughout this game, but their defense held nonetheless and the score held, too, at 21-0.

In the second half, simple hands out to Tolliver set her free for another try. Heavirland kicked her third conversion to make it a 28-0 USA lead. 

But once again the restart was bad. Once again the USA defense fixed the proble, with time with Kristi Kirshe loosening teeth and the ball and allowing Kris Thomas to gather and race to the corner. That was 33-0, and Emba finished the game as she started, this time grubbering through and gathering to score, and converting.

Poland had one more shot at an attack but Kirshe slammed the door and the USA had won an impressive return to play 40-0.

USA 40
Tries: Emba 2, Tolliver 2, Doyle, Thomas
Convs: Emba 2, Heavirland 3

Poland 0

USA 29 Kenya 7

The Eagles started well in this one, winning a good kickoff and getting the ball to Tolliver, who was only to happy to put a move on and take it to the house. A defensive stand set up a try from Lauren Doyle, but once again bad restarts killed the USA momentum. Only their good defense was getting them the ball back.

A nice team movement resulted in Tolliver going over for her second and a 15-0 halftime lead. 

Not really safe yet, the USA started the second half well, sending power runners Maher and Kirshe through the middle to set up Gustaitis. Nicole Heavirland converted and the Eagles were now comfortably ahead 22-0. Good thing as they gave up a long-range try right after. But the Eagles replied to finish the game off 29-7.

USA 29
Tries: Tolliver 2, Doyle, Gustaitis
Convs: Heavirland 2

Kenya 7

USA 36 Spain 0

Up against a tenacious Spanish team the USA once again sucked in defenders on one side of the field and set Tolliver free on the other. Then Emba just cruised around the outside for her third. But little mistakes started to creep into the USA effort as fatigue started to set in. 

They couldn’t quite storm over the Lions of Spain in the same way they had the previous two opponents. Well … not until Kirshe power-stepped her way through the middle to make it 15-0. Heavirland converted for a 17-0 lead with 90 seconds left in the first half. (Kirshe was lucky to get that try as she appeared to knock the ball on before she took off on her run.) But that was it for the first half as the Eagle support running started to falter and thus the passes weren’t there.

The half ended with Emba trying to go it alone and getting tackled.

This approach showed itself early in the second half, with Heavirland and Emba botching a nice odd-man rush by not thinking pass early enough. Right after that, Thomas went to the tryline but was way too high and was shoved back by the Spaniards. Finally some unselfish ball movement saw debutant Sui A’Au thunder in from 22 meters.

Heavirland’s conversion made it 24-0, and there were more tries to come. A perfect restart from Kasey McCravey showed what can happen when the restarts work. The Eagles won the ball and sent it out quickly to Thomas who sped to the corner. Then Stephanie Rovetti, who had been relatively quiet on the day, got some space and was in to finish it all over 36-0.

Overall

The USA team looked fitter, stronger, and more athletic than their opposition. Their long passing was good and their defense was truly outstanding. And it needed to be because repeatedly the Eagles gave up possession with poor restarts and a few additional errors. It’s really not good enough at the highest level; if the kickers can’t get it close to the ten-meter line, then they need to be safer, because the tradeoff, a free kick to the opposition at midfield, isn’t worth it.

Also what could have been better was the support work and the desire to pass. Too often the Eagles tried to break tackles. This was exacerbated by the fact that some players did indeed break tackles. But in the open field, they didn’t let the ball do the work as well as they could have.

On Sunday the USA team will face Russia and France, the other two strong teams in this competition. Russia’s teamwork and pace has been impressive, while France has been a revelation, elevating their game significantly. The Eagles will need that superior defense and to eliminate their errors to do well on Day Two.

 

Madrid 7s Women Standings After Day 1  
Team W L T PF PA Pd Pts
USA 3 0 0 105 7 98 9
Russia 3 0 0 112 19 93 9
France 2 1 0 109 29 80 7
Poland 1 2 0 33 92 -59 5
Spain 0 3 0 7 105 -98 3
Kenya 0 3 0 12 126 -114 3

 



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USA Rugby

Rugby – rugby with 7 players: the German national team is in ninth place in Canada

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Football:Rugby 7: Germany ranks ninth in Canada

The German national team participates in Rugby 7 at the World Championships in Vancouver, Canada. Photo: Leonardo Rubilar/Agencia Ono/DPA (Photo: dpa)

Live from dpa news channel

Hamburg (dpa) – The German rugby union’s 17th pick finished ninth at the World Series Championships in Vancouver, Canada. At the end of the tournament, national coach Damian McGrath’s team achieved the highest victory in the tournament with a 66-0 victory over Jamaica.

Twelve years after their last appearance in the world leagues, the German men began defeating hosts Canada (5:24) and the United States (7:26). This was followed by victories over Chile (36:12), Mexico (41:0) and Jamaica. “It was a good ending to a tournament that started very difficult for us,” McGrath said.

The next Olympic rugby world championships will take place a week later in Edmonton, Canada. Until then, the German selection is included. Damian McGrath hopes “we can present ourselves better there”.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210920-99-290472 / 2

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Cool Shute Shield finale on the cards for Adam Ashley-Cooper | Latest Rugby News

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Former Wallabies star Adam Ashley-Cooper wants to repay his club Northern Suburbs in Sydney with a last hurrah in the Shute Shield before officially retiring.

Ashley-Cooper revealed from Los Angeles that is the reason behind using the word “transition” rather than “retirement” for calling time as a player in the United States.

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The four-time World Cup performer has swooped on the role as senior assistant coach beside new head coach Stephen Hoiles at the LA Giltinis in Major League Rugby.

It’s a huge vote for what the Giltinis are building in LA after Ashley-Cooper’s standout role in the club’s Championship-winning climax to their debut season in August.

“This is a really exciting opportunity at the Giltinis to implement some of the ideas and tricks I’ve stored in my rugby notebook over a long career,” Ashley-Cooper said.

“Last season with the Giltinis really was the most enjoyable 12 months of my rugby career in terms of the team culture we built and the time we had together as players coming from all over the world.

“I know ‘Hoilesy’ and (General Manager) Adam Freier are working really, really hard to sustain that standard. Keeping the really competitive environment of hard work and fun that made the Giltinis click really appeals to me too.”

At 37, Ashley-Cooper still sidestepped the “R” word when discussing the next chapter in a stellar career that encompasses 121 Tests, four World Cups and major trophies in Australia, Japan and the USA.

“It’s a transition rather than calling it a retirement because we all know rugby players never really retire. I’d like to keep one or two games up my sleeve for somewhere, sometime,” Ashley-Cooper said.

“I’d like to finish at Norths. It‘d be a nice little fairytale to go back where it all started as a young fella nearly 20 years ago.

“I’m sitting on 48 caps at Norths so maybe I play two games and raise the bat.”

Ashley-Cooper’s mindset to give back to grassroots rugby after his days as a professional continues an upbeat trend amongst Wallabies.

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Last year, former Wallabies skipper Ben Mowen made a comeback with his Brisbane club Easts at 35 and led them to their first premiership in seven years.

At the same time in Canberra, Wallabies great Matt Giteau was running around for the  Gungahlin Eagles at 37 and guiding them into the grand final of the John I Dent Cup. 

He didn’t know at the time that he still had the itch for more. He was the star signing for the Giltinis and his silky skills were a major factor in the Championship triumph at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on August 1.

Just a few weeks ago, former Wallabies skipper Stephen Moore savoured his first club premiership with University of Queensland at 38 after making a mid-season comeback to help the club through an injury crisis at hooker. 

If this is to become a full-blown trend, it will be a huge show of reconnection between the top-tier and grassroots. 



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Canada wins bronze in Women’s Fast Four Rugby Sevens event

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Rugby Canada (Wikimedia Commons)

Team Canada won the bronze medal on Sunday in the Women’s Fast Four Rugby Sevens event in Vancouver, British Columbia. The event featured four teams from Canada, the United States, Mexico and Great Britain.

Canada captured bronze by beating Mexico in the bronze medal game 48-0. Great Britain won the gold medal by beating the United States 34-12.

In the tournament, Canada finished the round robin seeding round with a record of one win and two losses. They defeated Mexico 39-0 in round robin play, and lost to the United States 22-12, and Great Britain 19-5. In the round robin game against Mexico, Alysha Corrigan of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island led Canada with two tries.

In the semifinals, Canada lost to the United States by a score of 22-12 for the second straight day. Meanwhile, Great Britain blanked Mexico 43-0. In the bronze medal game, Canada had two tries each from Sabrina Poulin of St-Georges de Beauce, Quebec and Corrigan.

Even though Canada reached the podium this past weekend in Vancouver, the third place finish could have been considered a disappointment. Mexico was not very strong as they had zero points in the entire tournament, and Canada was clearly outplayed by Great Britain and the United States. The Canadian women’s rugby sevens team is also coming off a disastrous Olympic Games where they played terrible defensively in being outscored 57-12 in two games against France and Fiji.

In other Canadian rugby news, four players on the men’s rugby sevens team have retired. They are Nathan Hirayama of Richmond, British Columbia, Justin Douglas of Matsqui, British Columbia, Connor Braid of Victoria, British Columbia, and Conor Trainor of Vancouver, British Columbia.

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