Steinberg names team for Super Series showdown with New Zealand

EDMONTON, Alberta – With one game to go in the Women’s Rugby Super Series, the Women’s Eagles square off against New Zealand Sunday to help determine the winner of the quad-team competition.

After splitting their previous two matches against England and tournament host Canada, the Eagles can claim the trophy by beating the Black Ferns, as the result of a point differential with England.

No matter the point differential, the Eagles are going to play for improvement.

“We are going to go out with the same approach we have,” said Eagles Head Coach Pete Steinberg. “We need to be physical on defense and we need to take risks on attack.”

With only one win against the Black Ferns in team history, the U.S. has a tall task in front of them.

“The Black Ferns are a great team and we are looking forward to the challenge,” said Steinberg.

The Eagles noted the difference with finishing breaks between the first two matches and are looking to do the same against New Zealand.

“We want to be able to play with quick ball effectively and look to flood through for breaks so we can convert [breaks] more easily,” said Steinberg. “Our defense has continued to improve in training and we hope to be more unified in that area.”

To face the Black Ferns, the U.S. returns to a more experienced lineup with players earning spots from play in the previous Super Series matches.

“Selections were tough because everyone has played well,” said Steinberg. “Sam Pankey and Joanna Kitlinski both played well against Canada and deserve another chance.”

A physical presence from New Zealand also played into the selections.

“Amy Naber has done really well since replacing Jen Sever and she gives us more size in the midfield, where we are the smallest of any team here,” said Steinberg.

New Zealand scored nearly all of its tries from line breaks.

With the Super Series on the line, the Eagles will look to claim their first tournament trophy since the 1991 Women’s Rugby World Cup.

No matter the result, growth will continue to be a focus for the Eagles.

“I think the team has worked hard,” Steinberg said. “By the end of the Super Series we will have capped 17 new players. It is a young team that, if we can support their training and invest in the game, we will be very good by 2017.”

Veteran prop Sarah Chobot has been named captain for the final match of the Super Series.

Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. MT at Ellersby Rugby Park in Edmonton.

The game will be streamed live via Rugby Canada.

Women's Eagles | v. New Zealand

1. Sarah Chobot (C)

2. Samantha Pankey

3. Hope Rogers

4. Stacey Bridges

5. Molly Kinsella

6. Joanna Kitlinski

7. Elizabeth Cairns

8. Jordan Gray

9. Deven Owsiany

10. Kimberly Rozier

11. Nicole Heavirland

12. Amy Naber

13. Jane Paar

14. Kelsi Stockert

15. Jessica Wooden

Women's Eagles | Reserves

16. Kathryn Augustyn

17. Catherin Benson

18. Tiffany Faaee

19. Alycia Washington

20. Laura Miller

21. Jennifer Lui

22. Lauren Rhode

23. Bianca Dalal

New Zealand | v. USA

1. Toka Natua

2. Fiao'o Fa'amausili (C)

3. Aleisha Nelson

4. Eloise Blackwell

5. Charmaine Smith

6. Charlene Halapua

7. Justine Lavea

8. Linda Itunu

9. Kendra Cocksedge

10. Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali

11. Renee Wickliffe (Janna Vaughn)

12. Chelsea Alley

13. Stacey Waaka

14. Honey Hireme

15. Selica Winiata

New Zealand | Reserves

16. Teresa Te Tamaki

17. Aldora Itunu

18. Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate

19. Angie Sisifa

20. Lesley Ketu

21. Emma Jensen

22. Kiritapu Demany

23. Janna Vaughan (Keri Hayden)

Women's Eagles | Women's Rugby Super Series

v. England - L 39-13

v. Canada - W 36-28

v. New Zealand - Sunday, July 5 - 4 p.m. MT