Eagles edge Wales in Wet UK opener

CROSS KEYS, Wales -- Rain poured down as the Women's Eagles squeaked by Wales, 10-7. Tough handling conditions forced numerous scrums on the day that was highlighted by dominating defensive performances from both sides at Pandy Park.

"We are happy to get the win in tough conditions," said Women's Eagles coach Pete Steinberg. "Our defense was excellent today and our scrum showed that it has come a long way since Canada."

In total, there were 24 scrums on the day, with only 9 being awarded to the US.

"The pitch was great, but it poured in the first half to make it really difficult to handle the ball throughout the game," said Steinberg.

Wales was determined to break the Women's Eagles undefeated record in the series, however, fell just short. The win gives USA a 4-0 lead all-time against the Welsh - a 6-0 record for matches played in Wales.

"Our edge in the scrum was the key today," said eight Kate Daley, who captained the Eagles. "Wales never stopped and we were able to hold them out. I was proud of how we kept going to the end."

Substitutions also proved to be a factor for the Women's Eagles late in the match.

"The Welsh kept coming at us for the whole game and our subs made a huge difference when they came in," commented Steinberg following the game.

Despite the rain and playing up hill in the first half, the Women's Eagles were able to dominate a territory, and a missed penalty by Kimber Rozier meant that the Eagles came away without points. Later in the half the Eagles were able to move the ball wide where Captain Kate Daley created a break and fed Emilie Bydwell who passed to Vanesha McGee on the wing and McGee took 2 defenders over the line with her to score in the corner. The try was converted by Kimber Rozier from the touchline was the only scoring of the first half.

Shortly into the second half, Wales was able to even the score at the hands of Sioned Harries. The eight broke through the Women's Eagles defense for the try, converted by Laurie Harries.

As the game drew on, staunch defense resumed. The Eagles had several attempts at the Welsh goal-line repelled by strong tackles and the Welsh were able to clear each time.

A penalty in the attacking zone gave Rozier the only opportunity she would need, slotting the penalty goal.

Late efforts from Wales were thwarted out for the Women's Eagles to close out the game, 10-7.

As the first match of three for the Women's Eagles during the UK Tour, USA will now travel to England for two contests against the Roses.

Akilaini Baravilala earned her first cap with the Women's Eagles with the start at fullback.

Tuesday's (July 2) match against England is a non-test fixture. The final match of the UK Tour (July 6) will be a capped test for England.

Improving to 4-0 in the all-time series against Wales, the two sides last met in 2001. The Women's Eagles claimed the only friendly of the series, 20-17.

Meeting for the first time in 1993, USA was able to shutout Wales, 26-0, during the Canada Cup. Building on the performance, the Women's Eagles defeated the Welsh, 56-15, at the 1994 World Cup in Scotland.

Wales entered the match having finished fifth during the RBS Six Nations tournament, shutting out Scotland, 25-0, for the team's only win in 2014.

The Women's Eagles are utilizing the UK Tour as final preparations for the 2014 Women's Rugby World Cup. Matches for the elite tournament begin August 1 in Marcoussis.

1. Sarah Chobot (Reddick @ 61')
2. Kathryn Augustyn (Wagner @ 61')
3. Jamie Burke (Rogers @ 55')
4. Carmen Farmer (Daly @ 76')
5. Sarah Walsh (Blaney @ 55')
6. Jillion Potter
7. Lynelle Kugler
8. Kate Daley (C)
9. Jossy Tseng
10. Kimber Rozier (Stolba @ 77')
11. Vanesha McGee
12. Emilie Bydwell
13. Meya Bizer
14. Sadie Anderson (Braaten @ 70)
15. Akilaini Baravilala

16.Kittery Wagner
17. Hope Rogers
18. Nai Reddick
19. Lauren Daly
20. Sharon Blaney
21. Hannah Stolba
22. Sylvia Braaten
23. Deven Owsiany

1. Caryl Thomas
2. Lowri Harries (Phillips @ 69')
3. Catrin Edwards (York @ 65')
4. Jenny Hawkins
5. Rachel Taylor (C)
6. Catrina Nichols (Williams @ 62')
7. Nia Davies (Powell Hughes @ 72')
8. Sioned Harries
9. Sian Harries
10. Elinor Snowsill (@ 77')
11. Dyddgu Hywel
12. Rebecca de Filippo
13. Elen Evans (Wilkins @ 78')
14. Adi Taviner
15. Laurie Harries (Taylor @ 69)


16. Carys Phillips
17. Megan York
18. Cerys Hale
19. Shona Powell Hughes
20. Sian Williams
21. Robyn Wilkins
22. Rafluke Taylor
23. Philippa Tuttlett

USA | 10
Tries: McGee
Conversions: Rozier 1/1
Penalties: Rozier 1/1

Wales | 7
Tries: S. Harries
Conversions: Laurie. Harries 1/1
Penalties: -

Forecast: 50º F, rain
Kickoff: 1:30 P.M.