USA Women’s 7s Play for Bronze After Narrow RWC7s Loss to New Zealand

USA Women’s Eagles Sevens – RWC7s

USA Rugby Women’s Eagles Sevens defeated China 38-7 to open the Rugby World Cup at AT&T Park in San Francisco, July 20-22. This set up a Champions Quarterfinal match against Russia who beat South Africa 24-14. The USA beat Russia 33-17 and will play New Zealand in the Championship Semi-Finals while Russia will play Ireland in the 5th-8th place semi-finals.

In the Championship Semi-Finals, New Zealand defeated the United States 26-21and will move to the finals against France. The USA will play Australia in the bronze final at 7:22 pm PT. France beat Australia 19-12 with no time on the clock in the first semi-final.

USA v New Zealand Team & Player Stats After Day One

The match between the USA Women’s Eagles 7s and the New Zealand Black Ferns 7s featured two of the leading scoring teams. The USA was in 4th place with a scoring average of 35.5 points per match, while New Zealand leads the field averaging 51 points.

New Zealand had the first, second, third and seventh points scoring leaders in Michaela Blyde (25), Tyla Nathan-Wong (22), Portia Woodman (20), and Sarah Goss (15). The USA included sixth and seventh points scoring leaders Nicole Heavirland (16), Cheta Emba (15), and Naya Tapper (15).

New Zealand first, second, and fourth leading try scorers in Michaela Blyde (5), Portia Woodman (4), and Sarah Goss (3). The USA had both Cheta Emba and Naya Tapper in fourth place with 3 tries each.

Both teams also accounted for the first and second place goal scorers in Tyla Nathan-Wong for New Zealand with 11 and Nicole Heavirland with 8.

The USA led all teams in percentage of restarts retained, claiming 12 (58%). New Zealand was in third with 15 restarts (27%).  New Zealand led all teams in rucks per try with 11/16 (0.7 rates), while the USA was 31/11 (2.8 rates).

USA v New Zealand Recap

New Zealand kicked to open the match and created a penalty at the breakdown. After swinging the ball side to side, Michaela Blyde evaded two defenders for a try under the posts and Tyla Nathan-Wong added the conversion for a 7-0 lead.

The USA claimed the restart and after attacking from a scrum, Naya Tapper went down the wide left channel for a try. Nicole Heavirland slotted the conversion to level the match at 7 all.

Jordan Gray tapped the ensuing restart to Heavirland and the team attacked to the 22-meters. The ball then went wide to Tapper, who stepped her defender for her second try. Heavirland then converted to push their lead to 14-7.

On the restart, although the USA had possession, the team was penalized leading to a try by Ruby Tui in the right corner. Nathan-Wong missed the difficult conversion from touch and at the break, the USA led 14-12.

Second Half

Nicole Heavirland kicked to begin the second half and the USA were penalized on the restart. Gayle Broughton then took the ball coast to coast for a try as she just evaded Tapper’s chase. Nathan-Wong converted and the Black Ferns recaptured the lead 19-14.

The ensuing New Zealand attack was stopped by a penalty inside the USA 22-meters. The USA attack was then stopped at the breakdown with Emba isolated creating a penalty for holding on. New Zealand capitalized with Portia Woodman rounding the wide channel left for the try. Nathan-Wong converted to lead 26-14.

On the restart, New Zealand was penalized for hitting Abby Gustaitis in the air. From the breakdown, Lauren Doyle scored under the posts and Heavirland converted to narrow the final score to 26-21,

With the loss, the USA will play Australia in the Bronze Final AT 7:22 PM PT. New Zealand will play France for the Championship.

USA Women’s Eagles 7s: Cheta Emba 2 Ryan Carlyle 3  Abby Gustaitis 4 Nicole Heavirland (C) 5 Kelly Griffin 6 Lauren Doyle 7 Naya Tapper 8 Ilona Maher 9 Joanne Faavesi 10 Kate Zackary 11 Kristen Thomas 12 Jordan Gray + HC Richie Walker (Starters numbers bolded)

New Zealand: 1 Ruby Tui 2 Shakira Baker 3 Stacey Waaka 4 Niall Williams 5 Sarah Goss (C) 6 Michaela Blyde 7 Tyla Nathan-Wong 8 Kelly Brazier 9 Gayle Broughton 10 Theresa Fitzpatrick 11 Portia Woodman 12 Tenika Willison (Starters numbers bolded)


  • Round of 16 – v China W 38-7
  • Championship Quarterfinals v Russia  W 33-17
  • Championship Semi-Finals v New Zealand L 26-21
  • Bronze Final v Australia

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant