USA Women’s Eagles Wins First HSBC Women’s Sevens Series Title at 2019 Biarritz Sevens

Day 2 at the Biarritz Sevens saw the USA beating Russia 27-12 in the Cup Quarterfinals and then Spain 24-7 in the Semifinals to advance to the Cup Finals against New Zealand, who defeated Canada 21-12. The USA were on fire against the Black Ferns and secured their first Series Cup Title 26-10 over New Zealand.

New Zealand won the season series with the USA second. The USA earned a Gold, Silver and 3 Bronze medals during the Series, with their previous medals best, two.

The USA Women’s Eagles had individual awards with Alev Kelter the Player of the Final and Lauren Doyle receiving the Mark of Excellence.

In Pool play, the USA Women’s Eagles Sevens qualified for the 2020 Olympics in Toyko after beating 11th ranked China 36-5 in their opening match. The team then beat 10th ranked Fiji 14-12 and 5th place France 19-7 to win Pool C.

The USA was the only team on the HSBC World Women’s Sevens Series circuit that made the semifinals at every tournament this season. The team entered the Biarritz Sevens ranked second and retained that position to end the Series, marking the highest ever finish for the program in history.


  • 11th place Final: Ireland 14-26 Scotland
  • Challenge Trophy Final: England 10-27 Fiji (Fiji core status for 2019/2020)
  • 7th place Final: Russia 12-26 China (China relegated from HSBC Women’s Sevens Series)
  • 5th place Final: Austarlia 24-10 France
  • Bronze Final: Spain 14-19 Canada
  • Cup Final: USA 26-10 New Zealand

Cup Quarterfinals: the USA vs Russia

The USA took an early lead over Russia as Ilona Maher scored a try after a Russia not releasing penalty at the breakdown. The team extended the led after a run by Naya Tapper with Abby Gustaitis running on to the pass to scoop and executing a pop pass to Kris Thomas for a try, 10-0.

Russia went through phases with Khamidova held up in-goal. After a high tackle, the U.S. was penalized and Kristina Seredina dotted down to cut the lead to 10-5 at the break.

Early in the second half, a Thomas offload to Tapper resulted in a try in the right corner after a fend. Russia answered back after Elena Zdrokova outpaced the U.S. on the wide channel and scored under the posts making for an easy conversion, 15-12.

The USA struck right back with a try by Thomas under the posts with Heavirland converting, 22-12. The team added another after a breakdown as Tapper offloads to Doyle and after a run, to Kristi Kirshe for the final try.

With the 27-12 win, the USA will advance to their sixth consecutive semifinal against Spain. The other semifinal will have Canada facing New Zealand.

Cup Semifinals: the USA vs Spain

The USA Women’s Sevens team defeated Spain 24-7 and advanced to the Cup Final against New Zealand, who defeated Canada 21-12.

Spain opened the scoring with a Barbara Pla try, which was converted by Patricia Garcia. The USA answered back with a Naya Tapper try to cut the lead to 7-5.

The Women’s Eagles Sevens took the lead after a Lauren Doyle break and offload to Alev Kelter, who offloaded back to Doyle for a try. Kelter then converted, 12-7.

The USA extended the lead to 17-7 after Tapper drew in a defender and offloaded to Kelter for a try. They finished with a try by Tapper under the posts with Nicole Heavirland slotting the conversion for a final of 24-7.

Cup Final: the USA vs New Zealand

Unfortunately for rugby fans around the world, most of the finals could not be viewed due to technical difficulties from the World Rugby Sevens. The video resumed so that a portion of the Bronze Final and then the Cup Final, could be viewed.

The USA scored first with Naya Tapper offloading to Alev Kelter for a long try, 5-0. The team extended the lead with a try by Cheta Emba going blind from teh breakdown. Kelter then slotted the conversion, 12-0.

Prior to the break, Rubi Tui answered back with a try in the right corner to cut the lead to 12-5. The USA however, were not done with Kelter finding a seam and motoring 70 meters for a try under the posts, which she then converted to push the lead to 19-5 at the break.

During the second half, Michaela Blyde was sent to the bin for knocking down a U.S. pass. This resulted in a Lauren Doyle try under the posts with Nicole Heavirland conversting, 26-5.

New Zealand’s Shakira Baker would score the last try, but it was too late as the USA Women’s Eagles Sevens team claimed this first HSBC Women’s Sevens Series title, 26-10.


1 Cheta Emba 2 Ilona Maher 3 Abby Gustaitis 4 Nicole Heavirland (C) 5 Alev Kelter 6 Lauren Doyle (C) 7 Naya Tapper 8 Kasey McCravey 9 Steph Rovetti 10 Kayla Rovetti 11 Kris Thomas 12 Kristi Kirshe


Head Coach Chris Brown
Head of Physical Performance Matt Long
Head Performance Analyst Dave Gardner
Athletic Trainer Nicole Titmas
Team Manager Liz Strohecker


  • Pool C Match Preview
  • vs China W 36-5
  • vs Fiji W 14-12
  • vs France W 19-7
  • Pool Play Recap
  • Cup Quarterfinals vs Russia W 27-12
  • Cup Semifinals vs Spain W 24-7
  • Cup Final vs New Zealand W 26-10

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant