USA Women’s Eagles Look Toward Second Test Against Canada

March 31, 2017

USA Women’s Eagles Look Toward Second Test Against Canada


Photo: USA Rugby

Doug Coil

The USA Women’s Eagles played Canada at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center on Tuesday, March 28, losing 39-5. Round two of the Can-Am Series and will be on Saturday, April 1 at Chula Vista, California on the South Field and tickets are available by clicking here. The tickets are $10 if purchased in advance and $15 at the gate. The kickoff will be at 6pm ET and will also be broadcast live on The Rugby Channel.

USA Women’s Eagles

Head coach Pete Steinberg has made five changes to the starting XV that held Canada to ten points during the first half and without a strong Canada try line defense, had the opportunity to have a lead at the break.

Pete Steinberg talked about the first match saying that “The tough thing about Tuesday’s match is it was a game of two halves for us. In the first half we were happy with our ability to launch and apply pressure defensively; we had the structure in the second half but weren’t able to launch. We’ve continued to make line breaks – we had six or seven Tuesday – but we only scored one try. What we’ve talked about is converting those opportunities against one of the best teams in the world.”

For the second Can-Am match, there will be new halfbacks as Annakaren Pedraza will replace Joanne Fa’avesi at scrumhalf as she goes through concussion protocol. Pedraza made her international debut in the substitute appearance, providing quick ball to the backs. She will team with Nicole Heavirland at flyhalf, who will be making her first start for the XVs side since the 2015 Women’s Rugby Super Series. Heavirland is a regular on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

Women’s Eagles Sevens players Naya Tapper and Kristen Thomas return to the wings, while Alev Kelter, who scored the lone try on Tuesday, moves from outside to inside center. She will be joined in the centers by Ryan Carlyle. Jess Wooden rounds out the backs at fullback.

In the forwards, the front row of props Tiffany Faaee, who captains the side, and Catie Benson and hooker Joanna Kitlinski remain unchanged. The locks will  have Rugby World Cup veteran Stacey Bridges joined by Molly Kinsella. Christine Pheil continues at flanker and will be joined by Sara Parsons with the Women’s Premier League Championship Most Valuable Player Jordan Gray at the No. 8 position.

Canada is a difficult opponent and with their 39-5 win in the first match over the Eagles, is likely to retain the CanAm Cup. The USA held the Cup in 2015, while Canada reclaimed it in 2016. The U.S. holds a slim, 18-17 advantage in these matches that began 30 years ago.


Canada’s Head coach Francois Ratier has made three changes to his starting XV from the opening 39-5 win on Tuesday. One change is in the forwards and two in the backs.

The front row of Carolyn McEwen, Laura Russell and DaLeaka Menin was very effective on Tuesday. Tyson Beukeboom is the lone replacement in the forwards as she replaces Kayla Mack at lock and joins Latoya Blackwood. Beukeboom was a substitute in the first match of the series and scored a second half hat trick.

The back row will consist of Jacey Grusnick and Karen Paquin at blindside and openside flanker, respectively with Kelly Russell, captaining the side at No. 8.

In the backs the scrum half – flyhalf combination of Chelsea Guthrie and Emily Belchos continues. Brittany Waters replaces Andrea Burk in the centers, with Amanda Thornborough moving to inside center. Elissa Alarie will start on the wing in place of Frederique Rajotte, where she will team with Magali Harvey on the other wing and Julianne Zussman starts at fullback.

Following their two test match series in California, Canada will travel to New Zealand for a three-game tour to face New Zealand, England and Australia.


USA Women’s Eagles – v. Canada (April 1)
1. Tiffany Faaee (C) 2. Joanna Kitlinski 3. Catherine Benson 4. Stacey Bridges 5. Molly Kinsella 6. Christiane Pheil 7. Sara Parsons 8. Jordan Gray 9. Annakaren Pedraza 10. Nicole Heavirland 11. Naya Tapper 12. Alev Kelter 13. Ryan Carlyle 14. Kristen Thomas 15. Jess Wooden 16. Phaidra Knight 17. Naima Reddick 18. Jamila Reinhardt 19. Alycia Washington 20. Kristine Sommer 21. Kelly Griffin 22. Kayla Canett 23. Tess Feury

Canada’s Game 2 Roster vs. USA: 1. Carolyn McEwen 2. Laura Russell 3. DaLeaka Menin 4. Tyson Beukeboom 5. Latoya Blackwood 6. Jacey Grusnick 7. Karen Paquin 8. Kelly Russell (captain)  9. Chelsea Guthrie 10. Emily Belchos 11. Magali Harvey 12. Amanda Thornborough 13. Brittany Waters 14. Elissa Alarie 15. Julianne Zussman 16. Jane Kirby 17. Brittany Kassil 18. Olivia DeMerchant 19. Kayla Mack 20. Cindy Nelles 21. Lori Josephson 22. Andrea Burk 23. Anais Holly

Canada Coaching and Support Staff: Head coach Francois Ratier, Assistant Coach Shaun Allen, Scrum Coach Gary Dukelow, Technical Support Colette McAuley, Manager Nicole Crowley, Medical Nicole Ainsworth, Strength & Conditioning Jamie McCartney

USA Women Eagles v Canada March 28 Recap

Canada’s women’s fifteens team opened up the 2017 Can-Am Series with a 39-5 win over USA Tuesday afternoon at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Centre in San Diego, California and have positioned themselves to likely retain the CanAm Cup.

The teams will meet again this Saturday in Chula Vista. The winner of the series is based on head-to-head record, then point differential, so it would take a 35-point win by the Eagles to for the title.

The first match was a high paced match with both teams playing an attacking style of rugby with powerful hits disrupting the play of their opponents. Crisp, quick passes placed runners to challenge their opposition and grub and chip kicks kept the defense on their toes.

The first half saw a sizzling pace and excellent defense by both sides. Canada had the USA Women’s Eagles under some early pressure and worked the ball to within 8 meters of the try line before loosing the ball to the USA after a lineout. The Women Eagles kicked for touch and attacked from their lineout before a penalty thwarted their attack.

Magali Harvey opted to kick for touch, but the ball went to Jess Wooden instead. Quick hands had the ball in Naya Tapper’s hands and she advanced to within 5 meters of the line. The Women Eagles lost a valuable opportunity to score first, as Christine Pheil went into contact and the ball was stripped by Canada.

Twenty minutes into the match, a kick by Sylvia Braaten gave up possession and Magali Harvey kicked to touch for a USA lineout just outside their 22 meters of Canada. The Eagles soon went on the attack and once again the ball was turned over by Braaten.

Soon after, the USA won a scrum while on their back foot and tried to clear the ball. The ball was blocked and a slip pass by Emily Belchos had Karen Paquin going over the line to give Canada a 5-0 lead at the 25th minute.

The USA quickly responded as Jordan Gray ran for 35 meters and Christine Pheil then brought the ball inside 22 meters. An offload by Sylvia Braaten to Alev Kelter evened the score as she grounded the ball for a try.

With five minutes remaining in the half, Carolyn McEwan added a try to reclaim the lead for good at 10-5. Andrea Burk missed the conversion and the score remained the same at the break.
The second half had Canada placing the Eagles under pressure. They defended their try line for some time and were penalized a few times, before Christine Pheil was sent to the bin. This set up the first of Tyson Beukeboom’s three tries in the second half. Kelly Russell also added a try while the USA was short handed and Canada pushed their lead to 20-5.

Canada attacked from a penalty at the 52nd minute and Harvey chased a kick and was taken into touch. Tapper was excellent in defending Harvey the entire match.

Canada then added a try by Beukeboom after a failed offload by the USA. Beukeboom then added her third try 10 minutes later and Harvey converted for a 32-5 lead. Momentum was clearly in favor of Canada.

Canada added one more try late in the game as Briana Miller scored from a 5 meter scrum and Harvey converted to increase the lead to 39-5.

The Eagles ended the match with a sustained attack and moved the ball near the try line, as Canada ultimately defended well.

After the match, USA Women’s Eagles Head Coach Pete Steinberg said that “We came out with some real intensity in the first half. Unfortunately we didn’t come out with that same intensity in the second half. There’s some learning that happens with a team that’s young like we are. We have to help our players manage their intensity throughout the game; something we’ll work on for Saturday.”

Canada’s Head coach Francois Ratier said after the match that “When you play the Americans, you need to respond to there physicality first and then you can play a bit wider. We didn’t perform in the first half, but the second one was better. We knew our scrum would keep us in the game. To perform on Saturday we will have to be better in reading and executing.”

USA Women’s Eagles v. Canada

1. Tiffany Faaee (C) (Reddick @ 56′) 2. Joanna Kitlinski 3. Catherine Benson (Reinhardt @ 61′) 4. Stacey Bridges 5. Alycia Washington (Kinsella @ 51′) 6. Christiane Pheil 7. Nicole Strasko Parsons @ 61′) 8. Jordan Gray 9. Joanne Fa’avesi (Pedraza @ 54′) 10. Megan Foster Canett @ 71′) 11. Naya Tapper 12. Sylvia Braaten (VC) (Heavirland @ 58′) 13. Alev Kelter 14. Kristen Thomas 15. Jess Wooden 16. Phaidra Knight 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 – 5
Tries: Kelter, Conversions: N/A, Discipline: Pheil (Yellow)Canada – 39
Tries: Paquin, McEwen, Beukeboom (3), K. Russell, Miller
Conversions: Harvey (2)USA Women’s Eagles – Can-Am Series
v. Canada – L 39-5
v. Canada – Saturday, April 1 @ 6 p.m. ET

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