The USA Women’s Rugby Sevens Olympic Team began Pool C play with a 28-14 win against China and followed with a 17-7 victory against Japan. This assured them of advancing into the medal quarterfinals. The team will finish pool play against defending Olympic gold champion Australia, who opened with a 48-0 win over Japan and followed with a 26-10 win over China.
USA vs China
China struck first from an offload by Yang Min to Wang Wy for a try, which was then converted by Chen Ky, 0-7.
Following a poach by Naya Tapper at the breakdown, the ball went wide right to Kris Thomas, who knocked the ball backward, picked it up, and motored for a try under the posts, which was converted by Nicole Heavirland, 7-7.
The USA struck first in the second half, as Kristi Kirshe found a gap for a try under the posts, making the conversion by Heavirland easy, 14-7.
The USA attacked from a scrum and Kirshe added a brace, with Alev Kelter converting, 21-7.
Another USA scrum led to a Lauren Doyle break and a Kayla Canett try under the posts, with Canett adding the extras, 28-7.
China added a final try as Chen Ky noticed the USA did not have a sweeper and kicked ahead, gathered, and scored under the posts. China added the conversion by Yu XM for a final of 28-14 to the USA.
On the battle with China
“It wasn’t easy at all, so it just showed us that every team is going to bring it, and don’t doubt any team. Every game we play, the next game is the biggest. I think we have one of the strongest teams America has ever put out. That was a little wake-up call we needed, to play when it’s time to go. Every team is going to bring it. So I think each game we’re going to bring it more and more and you’ll see us getting better and better.”
On Japan hosting the Olympics
“I think Japan has done an amazing job putting this on still, if any country put on an Olympics in a pandemic it’s Japan. They slew with the beds, the food, and the environment in the village. It’s so cool to see other athletes and trade pins.”
On being a TikTok sensation
“Honestly TikTok’s been great because it’s a way to keep my mind off of the games. I started thinking about it and I get very stressed about something that you can’t control. So TikTok has been a good way to share me with the world and in a really genuine, authentic way and give people an inside, look into the Olympics and not only helps promote myself but promotes my team. I think we’ll have a lot of people even tuning into this game.”
USA vs Japan
The USA struck first with a try by Ilona Maher and added another by Jordan Matyas after an intercept by Kayla Cannett for a 10-0 lead at the break.
The team followed with a try by Ariana Ramsey up the middle, converted by Nicole Heavirland, 17-0. It was Ramsey’s first try at Tokyo, as well as her first on the senior circuit, as she has yet to make an appearance on the HSBC World Sevens Series.
In the final minute, Japan’s Koide Mifuyu scored the team’s sole try with Yamana Ka adding the extras, 17-7.
With the win, the USA will advance to the medal quarterfinals. They finish pool play against defending Olympic champion, Australia to determine seeding in the quarterfinals.
Head Coach Chris Brown
“We got the results where we’re through to the Quarters, which is great, but we’re pretty frustrated with the performance we just put out there. Some of our squad got opportunities to really do their job, which was to score tries, to go out there physically, and they held back for the first seven minutes.”
“I think given the disappointment of this last game and the sense of how we carried ourselves through our standards, they’ll be hurting just as much. The maturity of the group comes through a lot. They won’t want to hear it from me. It’s been a tough, tough year, but we’re more mature for it on and off the pitch and I think that’s going to set us up nicely for the end of the tour.”
“Two years ago, the men’s and the women’s sides were number two in the world. So we need to put a performance out there that people are excited to get into. I’m sure we’ll bounce back tomorrow and show that stronger.”
Australia: Shannon Parry (co-capt.), Sharni Williams (co-capt.), Faith Nathan, Dominique Du Toit, Emma Tonegato, Evania Pelite, Charlotte Caslick, Madison Ashby, Tia Hinds, Sariah Paki, Demi Hayes, Maddison Levi
China: Tang Minglin, Ruan Hongting, Wu Juan, Wang Wanyu, Liu Xiaoqian, Yan Meiling, Xu Xiaoyan, Yu Xiaoming, Yu Liping, Yang Min (captain), Chen Keyi, Yang Feifei, Gu Yaoyao
Japan: Squad: Mei Ohtani, Marin Kajiki, Mifuyu Koide, Mayu Shimizu (co-captain), Miyu Shirako, Honoka Tsutsumi, Hana Nagata, Bativakalolo Raichelmiyo (co-captain), Wakaba Hara, Yume Hirano, Haruka Hirotsu, Rinka Matsuda
USA: 1 Cheta Emba 2 Ilona Maher 3 Abby Gustaitis (co-captain) 4 Nicole Heavirland 5 Alev Kelter 6 Lauren Doyle 7 Naya Tapper 8 Jordan Matyas 9 Ariana Ramsey 10 Kayla Canett-Oca 11 Kristen Thomas (co-captain) 12 Kristi Kirshe 13 Nia Toliver (13th player), Kasey McCravey (traveling reserve), Nana Fa’avesi (traveling reserve)