USA vs New Zealand #WRWC2017 Semi-Final Preview

August 21, 2017

USA vs New Zealand #WRWC2017 Semi-Final Preview

Captains_Belfast

Photo: INPHO/Dan Sheridan [The captains of the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 semi-finalists at Titanic Quarter in Belfast (L-R) Tiffany Faaee (USA), Fiao’o Faamausili (New Zealand), Gaelle Mignot (France) and Sarah Hunter (England).]

Doug Coil

The USA Women’s Eagles will play New Zealand in the semi-finals of the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup on Tuesday, August 22 at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast at 17:00 local (12:00pm ET).

The fifth ranked Eagles advanced to the semifinal after going 2-1 in pool play, with victories over Italy 24-12 and Spain 43-0, followed by a defeat to defending champion England 47-26, with the Eagles coming back with four second half tries.

New Zealand went 3-0 winning Pool A with a 48-5 win over Canada, 121-0 over Hong Kong and 44-12 over Wales.

The United States won the first Women’s Rugby World Cup in 1991 beating England 19-6 in Wales. They came in second in the two following World Cups, losing 38-23 to England in 1994 and to New Zealand 44-12 in 1998.

After New Zealand’s initial win in the Women’s Rugby World Cup, they won three more in 2002, 2006 and 2010, beating England 19-9, 25-17 and 13-10. In 2014 England continued they streak of making the finals every year beating Canada 21-9.

The Eagles-Black Ferns winner will meet the winner of the other semi-final, England-France, in the Final.

The match will be broadcast live on NBCSN in the United States and in New Zealand on Sky Sport 1. In other countries, the match will be streamed on http://www.rwcwomens.com.

In addition to Tuesday’s match, NBCSN will also televise the Women’s Rugby World Cup final on Sunday, August 27, at 11 p.m. ET. NBC Sports Gold – NBC Sports Digital’s direct-to-consumer live streaming product – will provide live coverage of the two semifinal matches on Tuesday, August 22, as well as the final on Saturday, August 26.

New Zealand v USA

The USA Women’s Eagles head coach Pete Steinberg has not made any changes to the 23 player roster that gained a bonus point in their loss against England.

Eagles captain Tiffany Faaee will play tighthead prop with Katy Augustyn earning her 30th cap at hooker and Catie Benson at loosehead prop completing the front row. Stacey Bridges, with 31 caps and Alycia Washington are the locks with the backrow consisting of blindside flanker Sara Parsons, openside flanker Kate Zackary and Jordan Gray at No. 8.

The halfbacks will be Deven Owsiany partnering with Kimber Rozier, with Alev Kelter and Nicole Heavirland at centers and a back three of try scorers, Naya Tapper, Kristen Thomas and Cheta Emba.

In the reserves, prop Hope Rogers has returned to form, with other front row players Sam Pankey and Nick James ready to enter when needed. Lock Abby Gustaitis, loose forward Kristine Sommer and backs Kayla Canett, Sylvia Braaten and Jess Wooden complete out the reserves.

Black Ferns Head Coach Glenn Moore has made two changes to the squad who beat Canada 48-5, with Aleisha Nelson at prop and Lesley Ketu to cover in the loose forwards.

Black Ferns head coach Moore indicated that “We’ve planned carefully, and as a result the players have recovered well and are upbeat. Their levels of focus both on and off the field is impressive and we’re excited by the challenge in front of us.”

The USA had a strong forward pack, and big, athletic backs with a lot pace. “USA caused a lot of issues for England the other day because they have genuine pace on the edges. We expect them to throw everything at us, and when they have the ball they will be very quick.”

The Black Ferns will wear black armbands during the match to honour rugby legend Sir Colin Meads who passed away at the weekend.

 

USA Women’s Eagles v New Zealand: 1 Catherine Benson  2 Kathryn Augustyn 3 Tiffany Faaee (C) 4 Stacey Bridges 5 Alycia Washington 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 Sam Pankey 17 Hope Rogers 18 Nick James 19 Abby Gustaitis 20 Kristine Sommer 21 Kayla Canett-Oca 22 Tess Feury 23 Jesssica Wooden

New Zealand Black Ferns: 1. Toka Natua 2. Fiao’o Faamausili (C) 3. Aldora Itunu 4. Eloise Blackwell 5. Charmaine Smith 6. Charmaine McMenamin 7. Sarah Goss 8. Aroha Savage 9. Kendra Cocksedge 10. Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali 11. Renee Wickliffe 12. Kelly Brazier 13. Stacey Waaka 14. Portia Woodman 15. Selica Winiata 16. Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate 17. Sosoli Talawadua 18. Aleisha Nelson 19. Rebecca Wood 20. Lesley Ketu 21. Linda Itunu 22. Theresa Fitzpatrick 23. Carla Hohepha

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