Eagles claim third place victory with thrilling sudden death try

MOSCOW, Russia – The Women’s Eagles Sevens team made history Sunday with Captain Vanesha McGee’s sudden death score to give the Eagles a third place finish at the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013.

The Eagles began their Rugby World Cup campaign by defeating Brazil, Fiji and Spain during their Pool C match-ups. In the Cup Quarterfinals they scored two late tries to defeat Ireland 14-5. In the Cup Semifinals they faced eventually champions New Zealand, putting in a brave performance but narrowly losing out 19-10.

The Eagles then played Spain for the second time in the weekend, coming out on top 10-5 in extremely wet and slippery conditions.

The match against Spain was delayed due to lightning near the Luzhniki Stadium, with a torrential downpour making conditions extremely difficult for sevens rugby.

Right from the kickoff Spain knocked the ball on near their 22-meter. After a successful scrum, Christy Ringgenberg chipped over the top for winger Victoria Folayan. The ball went too far and Spain was able to dot it down for a 22-meter drop out.

The tactic of keeping Spain backed into their own territory paid off shortly thereafter. The Eagles were awarded a penalty near the Spanish goal line because of intentional wheeling at the scrum. Jillion Potter made meters with a great carry. Then Kelly Griffin took it forward, with the storming Emilie Bydwell diving over at close range to score.

Kimber Rozier wasn’t able to add the conversion, but the Eagles led 5-0.

Following the restart, Rozier was in action again, sliding across the field and finding a hard running Potter on a beautiful line. Potter was clean through to score, but was called back by the referee for a forward pass from Rozier.

Spain had their own scoring opportunity moments later, when winger Barbara Pla made a break on the outside. USA sweeper Folayan was initially fended off, but turned and caught Pla, tackling her superbly into touch to end the action for the half. Eagles led 5-0.

During the opening minutes of the second half both teams struggled with the conditions, with several handling errors.

Spain eventually tied up the match, working some magic from inside their own half. Several excellent passes led to Angela Del Pan touching down for the equalizer. The conversion missed and the score remained 5-5.

Shortly thereafter the fulltime siren sounded, and the match went into sudden death. The procedure is five minutes each way, with the first team to score declared winners.

The Eagles received the restart and worked their way upfield with several phases of possession. The Eagles entered the Spanish half, where Ringgenberg used her step to create an overlap for McGee. Fresh off the bench, McGee raced away beating the sweeper to score a sensational try for the USA.

The Eagles claimed third place at the 2013 Rugby World Cup with the 10-5 win over Spain.

Watch some of the Eagles matches available on USA Rugby’s YouTube Channel.

Read all the game recaps on www.usarugby.org/rwc2013 and www.rwcsevens.com. Join the conversation on Twitter

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

Women’s Eagles Sevens | Rugby World Cup 2013 | vs. Spain
Tries: Bydwell, McGee

Women’s Eagles Sevens | Results
USA 10 Spain 5 (Third Place)
USA 10 New Zealand 19 (Cup Semifinals)
USA 14 Ireland 5 (Cup Quarterfinals)
USA 12 Brazil 7 (Pool Stages - June 29)
USA 31 Fiji 5 (Pool Stages - June 29)
USA 19 Spain 7 (Pool Stages - June 29)

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