USA Rugby

Team USA Women’s Rugby Opens With Loss to Fiji

August 6, 2016

Team USA Women’s Rugby Opens With Loss to Fiji

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USA Rugby Release: August 6, 2016

RIO DE JANEIRO — Team USA’s Women’s Rugby Sevens Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games campaign started off with a loss Saturday, as Richie Walker’s squad conceded two tries to Fiji in a 12-7 defeat at Deodoro Stadium.

Alev Kelter scored the first U.S. try at the Games as the teams played the fifth overall match of pool play. The match was broadcast to viewers in the United States on NBC Sports Network, with the next match of pool play – a 5 p.m. ET kickoff against Colombia – set for CNBC.

“We wanted to do the simple things well and we have another game to show that we can do that,” Kelter said. “Fiji’s a great team and always have been. We’ve gone head to head with them a couple times – you win some, you lose some. We’re just excited for the next game.”

Despite winning the opening restart, Team USA struggled to cope with the quick-thinking Fijians, who ran lateral lines in combination with the nation’s famous offloading style. Bui Baravilala made a try-saving open-field tackle in the second minute before Kelter stole the ball in the breakdown in front of the posts, but a failed exit strategy afforded Fiji a scrum put-in within 15 meters of the try line. Luisa Tisolo darted between two defenders to open the scoring at 7-0.

Fiji defended well throughout the match, not allowing Lauren Doyle or Victoria Folayan to break the gain line more than twice. Kathryn Johnson could not keep play in bounds in the fifth minute, but a forward pass from Fiji on the next possession and a knock on the last kept the score at 7-0 at the break.

It did not take long for Fiji to extend its lead, as Johnson’s restart win was short-lived with Timaima Ravisa stripping the ball from an American and sprinting 40 meters for the 12-0 advantage.

Baravilala won a penalty from the ensuing restart and Doyle broke midfield with a strong run through several defenders. As the attack progressed, Team USA opened the Fijian defense, and Baravilala pushed through her opposite number to free a hand to offload to Kelter for the try. The five-pointer was converted for a 12-7 score line, but neither team was able to find the try zone in the remaining minutes of the match.

“It’s just executing the basics and not forgetting our fundamentals,” Jillion Potter said. “We’re definitely capable of being better than that, and we look forward to improving for Colombia and moving on, taking some lessons here, and excelling.”

Team USA falls to 0-1 in Pool A, with Fiji and Australia currently taking the top spots with victories. The top two nations from each of the three pools, as well as the two best third-place pool-play finishers, will advance to the knockout rounds. Colombia fell to the 2015-16 World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series champion in its first match, and will line up against Team USA at 5 p.m. ET. The live broadcast will be available to viewers in the United States on CNBC, with a live stream available on NBCOlympics.com.

Team USA Rugby Sevens Squad v. Fiji
1. Jillion Potter 2. Kelly Griffin 3. Kathryn Johnson 4. Alev Kelter 5. Bui Baravilala 6. Lauren Doyle 7. Victoria Folayan 8. Carmen Farmer 9. Joanne Fa’avesi 10. Richelle Stephens 11. Ryan Carlyle 12. Jessica Javelet

Team USA Rugby Sevens Squad | Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games
v. Fiji – L 12-7
v. Colombia – Saturday, Aug. 6 @ 5 p.m. ET – LIVE on CNBC & online
v. Australia – Sunday, Aug. 7 @ noon ET – LIVE on USA & online
Read more at http://www.usarugby.org/match/230