USA Women’s Eagles vs Spain #WRWC2017 Preview

August 12, 2017

USA Women’s Eagles vs Spain #WRWC2017 Preview


Photo: USA Women’s Eagles

Doug Coil

The USA Women’s Eagles will face Spain in the second Pool B match of the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 at the UCD Bowl in Dublin starting at 9:45 a.m. ET.

The USA enters the match with some momentum after beating Italy 24-12. Spain faced the number one ranked team in the world in England, losing 56-5.

The match against Spain will be the third time the teams have ever met. The Eagles won the previous two matches. The first occurred at the 1998 Women’s Rugby World Cup where they beat Spain 38-16 in Amsterdam. The second was in the 2002 Women’s Rugby World Cup they beat Spain 23-5 in Barcelona.

The USA enters the match ranked 7th in the world, while Spain is currently 8th.

The match will be streamed live for viewed outside of USA and Spain on In the USA, the watch may be watched live with a NBC Sports Gold’s Rugby Pass.


Pete Steinberg, USA Women’s Eagles head coach, has made three changes in the Eagles squad that will face Spain Sunday, August 13 at the UCD Bowl in Dublin starting at 9:45 a.m. ET.

Tiffany Faaee will captain the side at tighthead prop. Sam Pankey will start at hooker with Katy Augustyn as a reserve, while Catie Benson remains at loosehead prop.

Abby Gustaitis, who scored a try against Italy, will start with Alycia Washingtonas a reserve.  She will team with Stacey Bridges, a WRWC veteran.

The back three remains intact, with Sara Parsons, the Player of the Match against Italy, teaming with Kate Zackary at flanker and Jordan Gray at No.8.

In the backs, Alev Kelter, the USA Women’s Sevens captain and Olympian moves into outside center with Sylvia Braaten moving to the replacements. She will pair with Sevens mate Nicole Heavirland. The backline also consists of Sevens players, Kristen Thomas, who scored two tries against Italy, with Naya Tapper at wing and Cheta Emba at fullback. Halfbacks Devin Owsiany and Kimber Rozier also retain their starting positions.

The USA was inside the Italian 22 meters on numerous times, but mistakes did not allow the USA to capitalize on their efforts many times. That will need to change against Spain.

Steinberg indicated to USA Rugby that “One of the things I feel like we can be really good at is line speed. Spain loves to move the ball, so we really need to put them under some defensive pressure. Line speed and really getting after the contest at the tackle area will be the big things on defense.”

“Our structure wasn’t quite right, so we weren’t able to source the rucks when it got wide the way we wanted to. We’ll have to make sure our structure is right, but we’re pretty happy with where we are.”

The Eagles’ second match of the 2017 Women’s World Cup, which kicks off at 9:45 a.m. ET, can be watched live on NBC Sports Gold’s Rugby Pass for viewers in the United States. Eagle supporters outside of America can watch Sunday’s game versus Spain live on the official website of the Women’s World Cup.


Spain has made four changes to their starting XV, with three additional position changes from their opening World Cup loss to England.

In the forwards, Isabel Rico, vice captain, will start at loosehead prop, with captain Aroa González remaining at hooker and Jeanina Vinueza at tighthead prop. Maria Ribera moves to #4, while Rocio García starts at lock, with Berta García moving to the reserves.

In the backs, the dangerous halfback combination of Anne Fernández de Corres and  Patricia García remains. The back three changes as Uri Barrutieta will see her first WRWC action at left wing, with Iera Echebarria moving from wing to fullback and Amaia Erbina moving from center to right wing. Marina Bravo retains her inside center position and will be paired with Vanesa Rial, who was a reserve against England.

Spain is the second oldest team in the WRWC, and their team includes 11 Olympians. The USA will be tasked containing their ball handling and positional kicking.

USA Women’s Eagles v Italy: 1 Catherine Benson  2 Sam Pankey 3 Tiffany Faaee (C) 4 Stacey Bridges 5 Abby Gustaitis 6 Sara Parsons 7 Kate Zackary 8 Jordan Gray 9 Devin Owsiany 10 Kimber Rozier 11 Kristen Thomas 12 Alev Kelter 13 Nicole Heavirland 14 Naya Tapper 15 Cheta Ember 16 Kathryn Augustyn 17 jamilla Reinhardt Naima Reddick 18 Hope Rogers 19 Alycia Washington 20 Kristine Sommer 21 Kayla Canett-Oca 22 Sylvia Braaten 23 Jesssica Lavelet

Spain v USA: 1 Isabel Rico (VC) 2 Aroa González (capt) 3 Jeanina Vinueza 4 Maria Ribera 5 Rocio García 6 Diana Gasso 7 Paula Medin 8 Angela Del Pan 9 Anne Fernández de Corres 10 Patricia García 11 Uri Barrutieta 12 Marina Bravo 13 Vanesa Rial 14 Amaia Erbina 15 Iera Echebarria 16 Saioa Jaurena 17 Isabel Macias 18 Laura Delgado 19 Berta García 20 Elena Redondo 21 Carmen Perez 22 Maria Ahis 23 Maria Casado

USA Women’s Eagles | Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 Coaching Staff
Pete Steinberg – Head Coach
Peter Baggetta – Associate Head Coach
Richie Walker – Assistant Coach
Liz Kirk – Assistant Coach
Richard Ashfield – Assistant Coach
Ian Gibbons – Head of Physical Performance
Katie Gloyer – Physician
Michelle Look – Physician
Amy Valenta – Physiotherapist
Sarah Leslie – Physiotherapist
Bri Arsenault – Physiotherapist
Caitlin Singletary – Video Analyst
Julie Sutcliffe – Sports Psychologist
Amie Kern – Assistant Manager & Massage Therapist
Roshna Wunderlich – Manager

USA Women’s Eagles Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017
v. Italy – W24-12 Wed. Aug. 9
v. Spain – Sunday, Aug. 13 @ 9:45 a.m. ET
v. England – Thursday, Aug. 17 @ 9:30 a.m. ET
Semifinals – Tuesday, Aug. 22
Finals – Saturday, Aug. 26

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant