The HSBC World Sevens Series Sydney Sevens was held on January 31-Feb. 1, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. This was a combined Women’s and Men’s event that has modified determination of place finishes as the Quarterfinal round has been eliminated. The latter has created an uproar in the rugby community.
The USA Women’s Sevens finished the tournament in eighth place and will be disappointed in their performance.
USA 14-19 Fiji
After Fiji had the early possession, the USA attacked after a turnover with Stephanie Rovetti stepping on the touchline just prior to grounding in the left corner. Illona Maher picked up the long throw by Fiji for an easy try with Nicole Heavirland adding the extras.
From the ensuing restart, Fiji’s Luisa Tisolo raced through a gap for a long try under the posts and then converted to level the match at 7 all at the break.
The USA reclaimed the lead early in the second half with Alev Kelter turnover at the breakdown and offloading to Kris Thomas for a try. Kelter then converted for a 14-7 lead.
Fiji answered back with a wrap-around try down the right wide channel by Alowesi Nakoci with Tokasa Seniyasi leveling the match with the kick.
Fiji’s apparent try by Nakoci was ruled that her foot went onto the dead-ball line, however, on the play Alev Kelter was sent to the bin for a deliberate knock-on. That was all Fiji needed with Mereseini Leivere scoring from the breakdown to win 19-14.
USA 34-19 Brazil
After the opening HSBC Sydney Sevens loss to Fiji, the USA Women’s Sevens beat Brazil 34-19.
The USA controlled most of the possession with fast runs, powerful fends, and quick phase play. The team scored six tries with Stephanie Rovetti scoring her first career hat trick in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
Eti Haungatau’s physicality saved a Brazil try and set up at two more with line breaks and well-timed offloads.
Alev Kelter’s scored a try and offloaded to Abby Gustaitis and Kris Thomas for tries.
Brazil came back to score two consecutive tries in the final minutes.
USA 7-21 Canada
The United States lost 21-7 to Canada and that meant playing in the 7th place final.
Canada scored tries by Bianca Farella. Then, Ghislaine Landry and Charity Williams, while the U.S. added one by Alev Kelter.
7th Place Final: USA 15-19 Russia
The USA lost to Russia in the 7th Place Final 19-15 and leave Sydney in 8th place and picking up 6 points in the overall standings. This places them in 5th place in the standings.
Cheta Emba’s two tries had the U.S.taking a 10-7 lead into the break. The United States gifted a try to Russia’s Noritsina who scooped a loose pass and dotted down under the posts.
Kristi Kirshe added a final score with one second to go, but Russia already had the match in hand with 19 points.
The U.S. returns home to San Diego with the next round in Hong Kong April 3-5. Following Hong Kong will be Langford from May 2-3 with the season finale taking place in Paris from May 30-31.
The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 officially kick off on July 24 with women’s rugby sevens played from July 30 to August 1.
USA Women’s Eagles Sevens Squad + Tournaments Played & Preview Article
1 Stephanie Rovetti (Flyhalf/Wing, 5) 2 Ilona Maher (Center/Prop, 11) 3 Abby Gustaitis (Co-Captain, Prop/Hooker, 11) 4 Nicole Heavirland (Hooker / Scrumhalf, 23) 5 Alev Kelter (Center/Prop, 33) 6 Lauren Doyle (Flyhalf/Wing, 29) 7 Cheta Emba (Prop/Wing, injury reserve, 15) 8 Nana Fa’avesi (Scrumhalf, 8) 9 Eti Haungatau (Prop, 3) 10 Kayla Canett (Scrumhalf/Flyhalf, 9) 11 Kris Thomas (Co-Captain), Hooker/Center, 25) 12 Kristi Kirshe (Center/Wing, 8) + Injury reserves 13 Jordan Gray-Matyas (Prop, 12), 14 Naya Tapper (Wing/Prop, 20)
USA Women’s Eagles Sevens Staff
Head Coach Chris Brown, Strength & Conditioning Matt Long, Performance Analyst JD Stephenson, Athletic Trainer Nicole Titmas, Team Manager Liz Strohecker
vs Fiji 14-19 (L)
vs Brazil 34-19 (W)
vs Canada 21-7 (L)
7th Place Final vs Russia 15-19 (L)