Women’s Eagles Sevens leave it late to defeat Fiji in Dubai

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Following the Women’s Eagles Sevens’ draw with Ireland in the opening pool match Thursday, head coach Ric Suggitt made a solitary change to his team’s lineup for the match against Fiji and it paid dividends: Rebekah Siebach scored her second try of the day and the Eagles earned their first win of the tournament 24-19.

Once again, the Eagles gave up the first try early in the match. Josivini Gusuivalu beat Amelia Villines at midfield after the minute mark and Asinate Ufia Savu converted.

It took a few minutes, but Jillion Potter picked up the ball from the ruck and ran 50 meters untouched for the Eagles’ opening try. Villines could not hit the conversion, but the Eagles were back in it.

Savu added another try for Fiji not too long afterwards and Potter scored her second after the whistle signaling halftime to bring the score to 14-12 Fiji.

Savu showed some individual brilliance at the beginning of the second half to run through the Eagles’ defensive line for the try, while Rusila Nagasau missed the conversion to keep the Eagles within a converted try at 19-12.

Following an extended break in play due to a Fijian injury, Dana Meschisi chased down a grubber kick into the try zone before one of Fiji’s attackers could get there, saving a try. On the restart, Siebach made a long run to dot down between the sticks and set up Kelly Griffin for the tying conversion. The conversion was missed, however, leaving the Eagles trailing 19-17.

They did not trail for long, as Griffin stole the ball from a ruck after the restart and Victoria Folayan put on the jets to score her first try of the tournament. Griffin kicked the conversion and the Eagles won 24-19.

With five points so far in pool play at Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens, the Eagles need at least a draw against New Zealand at 11:02 A.M. ET to guarantee a spot in the Cup Quarterfinals.

Watch the Eagles live on the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series website and follow live updates on Twitter @USARugby.

Women's Eagles Sevens | v Fiji
1. Jillion Potter
2. Kelly Griffin
3. Kathryn Johnson
4. Deven Owsiany
5. Lauren Doyle
6. Liz Sowers
7. Victoria Folayan
8. Lorrie Clifford
9. Dana Meschisi
10. Rebekah Siebach
11. Amelia Villines
12. Megan Bonny