September 8, 2016
GHSAA in France for Rugby Europe U18 Sevens Championship
Photo: Emilie Bydwell
The USA Rugby Girls High School All-Americans powered by ATAVUS will play for the Rugby Europe Women’s U18 Sevens Championship this Saturday and Sunday September 10-11 at Stade Darragon in Vichy, France.
In tours this season, the GHSAA teams went undefeated. This included the Vancouver Rugby Festival in March, U`8s and U16s matches against Rugby Quebec in Maryland and U18s in Seattle against British Columbia.
In the Rugby Europe tournament they are in Pool C along with Germany, Ireland and Russia.
Head Coach Farrah Douglas said “This is unique for them. They haven’t played on other continents, in other countries besides Canada. They haven’t had what we think of as a true international. It’s a first for the program overall to have the opportunity to be included in the European championship.”
Twelve athletes were selected to the squad and they traveled to Washington, D.C. On September 4th prior to traveling to France on September 6th. They were instructed on key strike zones and on principles of attack and defense and then challenged in a scrimmage from 2016 USA Rugby Emirates Airline Club 7s National Champion and USA Rugby National Development Academy Scion Rugby Academy.
Douglas said “Playing against Scion early in the week was a great opportunity for us to be challenged by a structured defense and attack and recognize our critical outcomes for the rest of the D.C.-based sessions. The players are now in a place where they feel comfortable with what we are trying to do on attack and defense, and now the France sessions will be about putting some detail around our set piece and structure of our kickoffs so that we can put our best foot forward to win the possession battle.”
Seventeen-year-old Lilly Durbin, capped on the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series circuit at the last leg in Clermont-Ferrand, will be the team captain.
Douglas added “We are excited about the balance across the GHSAA squad of strong, dynamic runners; playmakers; and pure speed. This team marks a transition in American rugby with our first generation of U18s that have been playing the game for four or five years. We hope to surprise the teams with the girls’ ability to not only be athletic, but read the game and make decisions.”
Individual match times for Saturday’s pool play have not been made available, but matches will be streamed live online via RugbyEurope.tv. Saturday’s Pool play matches is scheduled to begin at 4:19 a.m. ET, with the GHSAAs involved in the fifth, 13th, and 21st matches of the day. Follow @aarugby on Twitter for updates from the team.
Girls High School All-Americans powered by ATAVUS – Rugby Europe Women’s U18 Sevens Championship 1. Lolohea Makaafi 2. Julia Riekena 3. Daisy Manoa 4. Kathleen Gearhart 5. Renee Gonzales 6. Kayla Canett 7. Kathryn Stowers 8. Lilly Durbin 9. Cassidy Bargell 10. Nia Toliver 11. Alexandria Sedrick 12. Suiluana A’au Coaching Staff: Farrah Douglas & Emilie Bydwell – Coaches, Sarah Leslie – Physiotherapist
Rugby Europe Women’s U18 Sevens Championship Pools
- Pool A: England, Italy, Ukraine, Romania
- Pool B: Spain, Wales, Sweden, Andorra
- Pool C: Germany, Ireland, Russia, USA
- Pool D: Portugal, Netherlands, France, Canada