USA Women’s Eagles Squad Named for First Test Against Canada

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March 27, 2017

USA Women’s Eagles Squad Named for First Test Against Canada

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Doug Coil

Head Coach Pete Steinberg has named the USA Women’s Eagles squad for their first match against Canada at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center Tuesday, March 28. Tiffany Faaee, a prop, will captain the side .

The two match Can-Am Series will be the only international test opportunities for the USA Women’s Eagles prior tot he Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland in August. The USA squad will play ta Stars Rugby XV in a tuneup in July.

Tuesday’s match will not be open to the public, but may be viewed live online via USA Rugby’s Facebook page from 7 p.m. ET. The second test will be on Saturday, April 1 at Chula Vista, California and tickets are available. Kickoff will be at 6pm ET and will also be broadcast on The Rugby Channel.

The USA Women’s Eagles completed a camp where thirty four athletes participated as a selection vehicle for the Can-Am Series. After the first match, there will be additional training ahead of the second test match against Canada. These matches will assist in the final determinations for the World Cup squad.

The front row for the first test will have Tiffany Faaee taking over as captain for the injured Hope Rogers. Catie Benson will be the other prop, while Women’s Rugby World Cup veteran Katy Augustyn will be at hooker. Stacey Bridges, another World Cup veteran will team with Alycia Washington at lock. The back row will have Christiane Pheil and Nicole Strasko at flankers and Jordan Gray ant No.8.

In the backs, Joanne Fa’avesi earns her first starting role at scrum half and will team with flyhalf Megan Foster. World Cup veteran Sylvia Braaten and Eagles Sevens captain Alev Kelter will be the centers. Eagles Sevens players Naya Tapper, who has been a scoring force on the Sevens circuit and Kristen Thomas will be at wings. Thomas will debut for the Eagles and is also a scoring threat. At fullback is Jess Wooden, who has been playing professional rugby in the Women’s Rugby Premiership in England.

Four backs in Tuesday’s XV helped the USA Women’s Eagles Sevens to second- and fourth-place finishes at the two most recent HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series stops. Scrum half Joanne Fa’avesi earns her first starting role at scrum half following a substitute’s debut appearance on the November Tour, while sevens captain Alev Kelter receives a third nod at center outside World Cup veteran Sylvia Braaten.

The depth of the USA Women’s Eagles program has been increasing through National All-Star competitions and mproved domestic competitions at the club and college levels.

Reserves for the first test include two-time World Cup selection Naima Reddick and 10-cap Molly Kinsella.  The other reserves are younger players with possible debutants Kayla Canett and Annakaren Pedraza.

The Can-Am Series will provide a difficult challenge for the Women’s Eagles. Canada’s squad for the Can-Am Series will include 16 members of the 2014 World Cup’s runner-up squad. The Canadians have won four of six matches in the past 12 months, splitting two matches against England and losing to New Zealand abroad.

Only six players of the USA starting XV were starters against Canada in the Super Series test against Canada in 2016.

Tuesday’s match will kick off at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center at 7 p.m. ET, and can be viewed live online via USA Rugby’s Facebook page.

USA Women’s Eagles v. Canada
1. Tiffany Faaee (C) 2. Kathryn Augustyn 3. Catherine Benson 4. Stacey Bridges 5. Alycia Washington 6. Christiane Pheil 7. Nicole Strasko 8. Jordan Gray 9. Joanne Fa’avesi 10. Megan Foster 11. Naya Tapper 12. Sylvia Braaten (VC) 13. Alev Kelter 14. Kristen Thomas 15. Jess Wooden 16. Joanna Kitlinski 17. Naima Reddick 18. Jamila Reinhardt 19. Molly Kinsella 20. Sara Parsons 21. Annakaren Pedraza 22. Kayla Canett 23. Nicole Heavirland Coach Pete Steinberg

Canada v. USA: 1. Carolyn McEwen 2. Laura Russell 3. DaLeaka Menin 4. Kayla Mack 5. Latoya Blackwood 6. Jacey Grusnick 7. Karen Paquin 8. Kelly Russell — captain 9. Chelsea Guthrie 10. Emily Belchos 11. Frederique Rajotte 12. Andrea Burk 13. Amanda Thornborough 14. Magali Harvey 15. Julianne Zussman 16. Jane Kirby 17. Brittany Kassil 18. Olivia DeMerchant 19. Tyson Beukeboom 20. Cindy Nelles 21. Brianna Miller 22. Brittany Waters 23. Elissa Alarie Coach Francois Ratier

USA Women’s Eagles – Can-Am Series
v. Canada – Tuesday, March 28 @ 7 p.m. ET
v. Canada – Saturday, April 1 @ 6 p.m. ET

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant