Doyle, Griffin check in from Atlanta

The Women’s Eagles Sevens have been busy in the Peach State this week getting ready for Atlanta 7s, the third leg of the 2014-15 World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series. After traveling to Dubai and São Paulo, Ric Suggitt’s and company are basking in the southern hospitality of Georgia.

Two of the original 16 women’s athletes contracted to the Residency program at the Olympic Training Center – Lauren Doyle and Kelly Griffin – took a few minutes out of their “touristy” day to reflect on Atlanta, the team’s goal, and what wearing the U.S. jersey means in an Olympic sport.

On Atlanta

It feels great to be in Atlanta. The weather’s been really nice and the people have been really great. The hotel’s been great. Kennesaw State and Life University – where we’ve been practicing – have been really hospitable to us. And we got to meet some of the college girls there so that was really fun. Right now we are sitting outside the World of Coke, doing some touristy stuff and we’re having a good time.

I personally think that this weather, where it’s kind of cloudy and not scorching hot, is the perfect weather for sevens.

On difference between Atlanta 7s 2014 and Atlanta 7s 2015

There are some new faces. As a team we have improved a lot with our skills and our game plan and, as you know from watching, the level of rugby all around the world has definitely risen. All the teams are getting better and the games themselves are more exciting with a higher level of play all around.

Our preparation has been very tactical and technical. I feel like that is going to give us an advantage.


On competition at home

It’s definitely getting harder and harder to be selected for a tour. All the girls at the Olympic Training Center – and there are a lot of girls who aren’t at the OTC who are working really hard vying for spots . . . It’s definitely an honor, it’s always an honor to put the jersey on. When you think about all the girls who are working hard and are behind you, when you put it on you feel even more proud.

The skill level keeps growing and it pushes us to become better and I think that’s a really great aspect of the Olympic Training Center.

On goals

We know that, in order to qualify for the Olympics, we need to be in the top four at the end of the Series. So at every tournament our goal is to be in the top four. Obviously you go in wanting to win the whole thing, but on the whole we’re thinking about that Olympic qualification and getting in the top four.

We need to win at least two games on the first day or win one by a lot of points to get into the top eight. Then we need to win the first game on the second day and we’ll be in.

On who will come out of the weekend with the most tries scored

I’m going to say it’ll probably be a running between JJ (Jessica Javelet) and Vix (Victoria Folayan).

We’ve got a lot of scoring threats out there. You have to throw Kristen Thomas in the mix; she had a great tournament in Brazil. KJ (Kathryn Johnson) gets her tries in.

We’re pretty even, I’d say.

We have a solid team. It’s not about who scores the tries; it’s about us scoring more than the other team.

Someone has to pass them the ball.