USA Earn Silver at 2018 USA Women’s Rugby Sevens

2018 USA Women’s Rugby Sevens

After a day one at the USA Women’s Sevens in Glendale, Colorado, the USA Women’s Eagles Sevens team claimed the 8th spot in the Cup Finals by an aggregate one point differential over Spain.

Day two was another story as the USA Women had a convincing win over Australia, who won last year’s HSBC Women’s Sevens Series. They then defeated France after time had expired with a try by newly capped Alena Olsen to reach the Cup Final.

In the Final, New Zealand proved themselves to be Champions, as the USA left with the Silver medal and have to be pleased with the determination that they displayed after day one. The team can now turn their attention to Dubai.

The 2018 HSBC Women’s Sevens Series serves as an Olympic qualifier. The first four teams atop of the Series standings will automatically qualify for the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020. The other teams must survive regional qualifying tournaments. The USA Women’s Sevens was the first of six stops on the 2018-2019 HSBC Women’s Sevens Series circuit.

USA Women’s Eagles Sevens Recap to Silver

Cup Final vs. New Zealand

The United States lost in the championship match of the HSBC USA Women’s Sevens to New Zealand but gained a silver medal in an Olympic qualifying season. At the end of the six stops on the HSBC Women’s Sevens Series, the top four teams will qualify for the Olympics.

The U.S. took an early 7-0 lead over New Zealand, but the Black Ferns answered back and won 33-7. The US can take the momentum into the second round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Dubai, November 29-30.

The Eagles scored the first try of the match off a strong run by Ilona Maher, who was just shy of the line. She offloaded to Nicole Heavirland for the try and a 7-0 lead.

The Balck Ferns then scored three tries, two by Portia Woodman and the last by Sara Goss just prior to the break.

The USA started out well in the second half, but a Niall Williams try increased the pressure on the Eagles. Woodman then completed her hat-trick after an offload by Ruby Tui for the 33-7 win. Woodman was named the player of the final and also was the leading try scorer with 10. Maher had an outstanding tournament and finished tied for runner-up with seven.

With the silver medal, the team picked up 18 points to begin the HSBC Women’s Sevens Series. The team also had three players make their debut in Alena Olsen, Lauren Thunen and Stephanie Rovetti. The tournament at Infinity Park in Glendale was played before a packed house and that bodes well for this venue in the future.

Cup Semi-Final vs. France

The Women’s Eagles Sevens advanced to the Cup Final with a 21-19 win over France. Alena Olsen’s try after time had expired and Alev Kelter’s conversion propelled the team to a win.

France kept the pressure on the Eagles for most of the first half, but despite the ball being in the U.S. defensive territory, Cheta Emba found a gap and raced for a long try. France’s Amedee answered back with a try and the match was knotted at 7 all at the break.

An Alev Kelter try and conversion pushed the lead to 14-7 before France answered back with two tries by Julie Annery and Jessey Tremouliere for a 19-14 lead.

Ilona Maher then made a game-saving tackle of a French break, that would have put the match out of reach. The provided the opportunity for the Eagles Alena Olsen to execute a dummy and score under the posts after time had expired. Kelter then broke the tie with a conversion for the 21-19 win.

Cup Quarter-Finals vs. Australia

The U.S. opened day two with a thrilling 26-5 victory over Australia in the Cup Quarterfinals. This was the first time in World Series history the Women’s Sevens have defeated Australia since 2015 in Langford.

Although Australia gained the first possession, a turnover led to the first of Illona Maher’s consecutive tries for a 12-0 lead.

Cheta Emba opened the second half with a long try, pushing the Eagles lead to 19-0. Sykes answered back with a try for Australia and Maher finished with her hat-trick try in the closing minute for a 26-5 win.

Pool B vs New Zealand

The U.S. closed day one with a 35-12 loss to the Black Ferns. This left some hope for Spain to sneak into the Cup Quarterfinals as the 8th seed. The US needed Mexico to either beat Spain or keep the loss to less than 47 points. Spain beat Mexico 46-0 and the Women Eagles Sevens advanced to the Cup Quarterfinals against Australia.

New Zealand proved to dominate the hard-hitting match with first-half tries by Kelly Brazier, Sarah Goss, and Ruby Tui for a 21-0 lead at the break. Shakira Baker then opened the second half with a try before Ilona Maher answered back with the Eagles first try.

Michaela Blyde added a fifth try for the Black Ferns before Naya Tapper scored the final try of the day, making the final score 35-12.

Pool B vs China

The 2019 Women’s Sevens gained their first win of the new season in a 24-21 victory over China.

Abby Gustaitis scored the first try of the match and Nicole Heavirland converted for a 7-0 lead. China then answered back with a try by Hongling and after Chen’s conversion, it was 7 all at the break.

Ilona Maher opened the second half with two tries to push the lead to 17-7. China cut the lead to 17-14 with a try by Yu and conversion by Chen.

Alev Kelter sealed the win with a try and conversion for a 24-14 lead. China would cut the final score to 24-21 with a try by Xiaoqian and another conversion by Chen.

Pool B vs England

This was a match that the USA Women’s Eagles needed to win. The tone was set for day one after England’s Ellie Kildunne split two defenders for a try at death and a 12-10 win.

The US opened the match with a try by Illona Maher, who found a gap in the middle of the pitch and fended off a defender for a try.

England then leveled the match with a try from debutant Emma Uren for a 7-5 lead after the conversion by Aitchison. 

Naya Tapper opened the second half going around the left wide channel for her first try of the season as the Women’s Eagles Sevens reclaimed a 10-7 lead.

England’s Jess Breach then had a long break but was chased down by Cheta Emba, whose tackle saved a sure try. England gutted the U.S. as Kildunne broke a tackle and evaded the outstretched arms of another defender for the winning try at the death.


Women’s Eagles Sevens: 1. Cheta Emba  2. Ilona Maher 3. Abby Gustaitis 4. Nicole Heavirland (C) 5. Alev Kelter 6. Lauren Doyle (C) 7. Naya Tapper  8. Jordan Gray 9. Alena Olsen* 10. Stephanie Rovetti*11.Kris Thomas 12.  Lauren Thunen*

Traveling Reserve 13. Kasey McCravey* (All players are part of the Women’s Sevens residency program.)

England: 1 Claire Allan 2 Abigail Brown 3 Celia Quansah 4 Emily Scarratt 5 Natasha Hunt 6 Deborah Fleming 7 Emma Uren* 8 Ellie Kildunne* 9 Abi Burton* 10 Helena Rowland* 11 Holly Aitchison 12 Jess Breach

*First HSBC World Sevens Series appearance. 

China: Min Yang 2 Shen Yingying 3 Liping Yu 4 Hu Yu 5 Yan Meiling 6 Wang Wanyu 7 Yang Feifei 8 Liu Xiaoqian 9 Ruan Hongling 10 Keyi Chen 11 Gao Yueying 12 Su Qi

New Zealand: 1 Ruby Tui 2 Shakira Baker 3 Terina Te Tamaki 4 Niall Williams 5 Sarah Goss 6 Michaela Blyde 7 Tyla Nathan-Wong 8 Kelly Brazier 9 Katarina Whata Simpkins 10 Theresa Fitzpatrick 11 Portia Woodman 12 Alena Salii

Australia: 1 Shannon Parry 2 Sharni Williams 3 Demi Hayes 4 Dominique Du Toit 5 Samantha Treherne 6 Evania Pelite 7 Charlotte Caslick 8 Yasmin Meakes 9 Emma Sykes 10 Page McGregor 11 Cassandra Staples 12 Ellia Green

France: 1 Marjorie Mayans 2 Anne-Cecile Ciofani 3 Chloe Pelle 4 Pauline Biscaret 5 Monterrat Amedee 6 FAnny Horta 7 Jessy Tremouliere 8 Julie Annery 9 Carla Neisen 10 Caroline Drouin 11 Shannon Izar 12 Lina Guerin

*First HSBC World Sevens Series appearance. 

Women’s Eagles Sevens Staff

Head Coach – Chris Brown
Team Manager – Liz Strohecker

HSBC USA Women’s Sevens Glendale Schedule

Pool B – Streamed LIVE exclusively on FloRugby

  • Preview
  • vs England. Sat, Oct. 20 L 12-10
  • vs China. Sat, Oct. 20 – W 24-21
  • vs New Zealand. Sat, Oct. 20 –L 35-12
  • Cup QF vs Australia W 26-5
  • Cup SF vs France – W 21-19
  • Cup Final vs New Zealand L 33-7

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant