Eagles set record in World Rugby Women's Sevens Series victory against China

"Is rugby fun?"

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The Women’s Eagles Sevens scored nine tries in their final pool match of Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens Thursday to defeat China, 61-0.

The win set a record for margin of victory on the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, which began its third season in Dubai. The previous record was held by China with a 57-0 win.

China gave up seven tries to both New Zealand and Russia in 43-0 and 47-5 losses earlier in the day while only scoring a single try. The Eagles went into the match needed a win to ensure a top-two finish in the pool and, subsequently, a ticket to Friday’s Cup Quarterfinals.

The Eagles began the match with the ball and passes from touch line to touch line before Jessica Javelet scored the match’s opening try. Two tries from Alev Kelter in the next two minutes extended the lead to 21-0. While Javelet’s try was created from finesse with a spin around two defenders, Kelter’s both came from hard-running, forward lines that challenged China’s physicality.

The weapons in Eagles Head Coach Ric Suggitt’s arsenal had not yet been fully unleashed with another four minutes to play in the half. Javelet’s speed only got her so far after a lengthy run to China’s 22, but Kelly Griffin followed the play to score her first try of the tournament in the fifth minute.

Lauren Doyle came within five meters of adding her name to the scoresheet before she lost the ball in the ruck outside the try line. Victoria Folayan extended her streak of matches with tries with a run down the wing in the final minute of the half to give the Eagles a commanding 35-0 lead.

In the halftime team talk, Suggitt asked his players, “Is rugby fun?” The Eagles answered positively and kept up the intensity in the second period. Folayan added her second of the match and sixth of the tournament in the eighth minute after Kathryn Johnson stole the ball from the opponent.

In her World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series debut, Joanne Fa’avesi scored a try a minute after her substitute appearance was made official. China had committed an infraction inside its own half and a smart play by Fa’avesi to take the quick tap to the try zone extended the lead to 49-0.

Folayan completed her hat trick in the 12th minute after intercepting a pass and running nearly 80 meters across the pitch. Melissa Fowler opened her Series account with a try in the final minute of the match to officially set the World Rugby record with a 61-0 win.

The Eagles will begin Day Two at Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens in the Cup Quarterfinals Friday. For an updated fixture list, visit the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series website.

Women's Eagles Sevens | v China
1. Kelly Griffin
2. Amelia Villines
3. Kathryn Johnson
4. Hannah Lopez
5. Jessica Javelet
6. Lauren Doyle
7. Victoria Folayan
8. Lorrie Clifford
9. Megan Bonny
10. Joanne Faavesi
11. Alev Kelter
12. Melissa Fowler

China | v USA
1. Lu Yuanyuan
2. Yang Hong
3. Liu Yang
4. Yang Min
5. Yu Xiaoming
6. Sun Tingting
7. Huang Meike
8. Chen Keyi
9. Qianqian Jiang
10. Sun Shichao
11. Zhou Lilian
12. Yu Liping

Women's Eagles Sevens | 61
Tries: Javelet, Kelter (2), Griffin, Folayan (3), Fa'avesi, Fowler
Conversions: Villines (3), Kelter (3), Lopez (2)

China | 0