Eagles anxious to begin World Cup campaign

MOSCOW, Russia - The Women’s Eagles Sevens squad, along with 15 other nations, begin their 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens campaign on Saturday, June 29, at the Gorodok and Luzhniki Stadiums in Moscow, Russia.

It has been a very busy year for the Eagles, who competed in the inaugural Women’s Sevens World Series - taking part in four tournaments around the globe in Dubai, USA, China and the Netherlands. The Eagles delighted fans by reaching the Cup final on American soil at the Houston Sevens, and finished the season in fourth place behind New Zealand, England and Canada.

The elevated competition of the Series, along with the USA Rugby residency program, has paved the way for the program’s success.

“Training year round at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista has been extremely beneficial,” said Head Coach Ric Suggitt. “Having the World Series tournaments has been excellent, and now they are talking about increasing the number of events, which is what we want.”

Meanwhile in Moscow, the build-up for this young squad has been all about acclimating to the conditions.

The women have been in Moscow since Sunday and as USA Eagles Sevens captain Vanesha McGee explained, the team is working through the obvious challenges in preparation for the weekend.

“This week we have been training in the humidity trying to get used to that, as its pretty different from where we train normally in San Diego, California. We’ve also recovering from the flight, taking in lots of fluids, getting our body ready for this weekend.”

“We feel really good,” explained McGee. “Everyone’s excited and anxious for the tournament to get started.”

The Eagles will face opponents Brazil, Fiji and Spain in their pool outings on day one.

“There are no games that are easy,” expressed Suggitt. “Our first game against Brazil we need to come out and play the game we are capable of. Then Fiji is unknown, they have a new coach, and they are always exciting to play against - whether it’s the men or the women. Spain has been a real battle for us, and the last three times we have played them it has been decided in the last play of the game. We’re really looking forward to day one.”

Captain McGee echoed her coach, and added that: “overall we’ve changed a few things, but our general game plan as far as playing fast and aggressive is going to stay the same. Spain does match up well with us, and we’ve had some really good fights against them. We definitely expect this one to be even tougher than the past encounters. We’re looking forward to it and expect it to be a good end to day one.”

The Eagles have had several excellent field training sessions at the Luzhniki Olympic Complex, they’ve worked hard in the gym, and enjoyed some recovery time in the pool. The team atmosphere is relaxed, and the group is ready for their World Cup campaign.

“I hope the players really enjoy themselves and play the way they are capable of playing. They’ve trained really really hard and they deserve this opportunity to represent their country,” smiled Suggitt.

The Eagles finished their 2009 Rugby World Cup Sevens campaign with a thrilling semifinal match against New Zealand. The Kiwis held on for a 14-12 victory, but the Eagles gave a fantastic performance, finishing inside the top four teams. They will be looking to go one step further this time round, and win the World Cup.

Currently, the International Rugby Board (IRB) will not be broadcasting matches at the Gorodok Stadium, which means only the Eagles clash with Spain at 12.00 PM E.T on Saturday June 29 inside Luzhniki Stadium will be aired on the IRB’s website as well as broadcast on Universal Sports. Coverage on Universal Sports will begin on June 29 at 1:00AM E.T. and June 30 at 1:30AM E.T.

Follow live updates on Twitter from the official USA Rugby account (@USARugby) and read game recaps on www.usarugby.org/rwc2013 and www.rwcsevens.com. Join the conversation using #RWC7s.

Women’s Eagles Sevens | Rugby World Cup 2013
1. Jillion Potter
2. Kelly Griffin
3. Vanesha McGee (Captain)
4. Deven Owsiany
5. Kimberly Rozier
6. Ryan Carlyle
7. Victoria Folayan
8. Emilie Bydwell
9. Irene Gardner
10. Christine Ringgenberg
11. Nathalie Marchino
12. Kathryn "KJ" Johnson

Women’s Eagles Sevens | Staff
Ric Suggitt (Head Coach)
JoAnne Kos (Assistant Coach/Team Manager)
Nicole Titmas (Athletic Trainer)
Dr. Lisa Bartoli (Team Doctor)

Women’s Eagles Sevens | Schedule
USA vs. Brazil 2.28 AM E.T Saturday June 29 [Gorodok Stadium]
USA vs. Fiji 5.24 AM E.T Saturday June 29 [Gorodok Stadium]
USA vs. Spain 12.00 PM E.T Saturday June 29 [Luzhniki Stadium]