Eagles warm up for World Cup with win over WPL All-Stars

SAN DIEGO - The USA Women's Eagles beat the first Women's Premier League All-Stars, 50-0, at Torero Stadium Saturday in the U.S. National Team's final preparatory match for Women's Rugby World Cup 2017 in Ireland.

The Eagles had plenty of possession throughout the match and used the width of the field for Women's Eagles Sevens stars Cheta Emba, Naya Tapper, and Kristen Thomas to score twice each through 80 minutes in the victory. Recently-capped HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series international Sara Parsons also found the score sheet, as did fellow forward Elizabeth Cairns. Fly half Kimber Rozier converted five of the U.S.'s eight tries.


Watch the replay on The Rugby Channel


"We showed glimpses," Head Coach Pete Steinberg said of his team's performance one week into a residency camp ahead of the World Cup. "There were moments we were able to control the ball for phases. We want to play a fast game, but I don't think we're quite ready to play the game we want to play. The WPL All-Stars were exactly the opposition we needed.

"They're good, quality players and I thought they came out with a point to prove. Their commitment and work rate was really high and impressive. [Head coaches] James English and Beckett Royce did a good job preparing the team and pulling them together. They worked hard, they hit us hard, and they made it hard work for us."

Thomas opened the scoring prior to the 10-minute mark from a scrum before Tapper forced her way into the try zone with a few fends two minutes into Glendale Raptors prop Sarah Chobot's 19th-minute yellow card for a 12-0 lead. The Eagles looked to play quickly through phases from the ensuing restart, with Catie Benson, Alycia Washington, and Tiffany Faaee paving the way for Parsons to reach the try line. Cairns dummied her way over 10 minutes later before Tapper brought the halftime score to 33-0 in the corner.

"In the second half you saw some peoples' legs go," Steinberg commented after the match. "We have to do better in the tackle contest. With the outside backs that we have, if we can play fast we can play with people. We showed grit and determination in defense in the second half to hold them out, but weren't able to work our way out. We're about where we thought we'd be with three weeks to go before we go to Ireland."

Wholesale changes at the break slowed the Eagles' momentum, but quick ball from scrum half Deven Owsiany and a powerful run from Tapper set up Thomas' second within the first 10 minutes of the second half. Emba had provided the assist pass prior to ticking the scoreboard herself five minutes later, and Abigail Gustaitis set her away for a 50-meter run on the final play of the game for a 50-0 final score.

"I think we set ourselves a high standard, and we didn't meet that standard today," Steinberg said. "We see this as part of our camp. We got what we want out of it, which was a physical game. Certainly we struggled with penalties. The tackle contest on attack is really the area we need to work on. We need to do some work to be able to allow ourselves to play the ball quickly from the ruck."

USA Women's Eagles | v. WPL All-Stars
1. Catherine Benson (Reinhardt @ 56')
2. Samantha Pankey (Kitlinski @ 51')
3. Tiffany Faaee (Reddick @ 40')
4. Stacey Bridges (Gustaitis @ 51')
5. Alycia Washington
6. Sara Parsons (Sommer @ 40')
7. Elizabeth Cairns
8. Christiane Pheil
9. Deven Owsiany (Pedraza @ 65')
10. Kimber Rozier
11. Naya Tapper
12. Sylvia Braaten (Heavirland @ 40')
13. Ryan Carlyle (Emba @ 40')
14. Kristen Thomas
15. Tess Feury

USA Women's Eagles | Reserves
16. Joanna Kitlinski
17. Jamila Reinhardt
18. Naima Reddick
19. Abby Gustaitis
20. Kristine Sommer
21. Annakaren Pedraza
22. Nicole Heavirland
23. Cheta Emba

Women's Premier League All-Stars | v. USA
1. Sarah Chobot
2. Kristen Shalosky
3. Melissa Polheber
4. Brooke Saunders
5. Ali Gillberg
6. Phaidra Knight
7. Rachel Johnson
8. Evi Ashenbrucker
9. Claire Lundy
10. Molly Luft (Ziluca @ 18')
11. San Juanita Fetuuaho
12. Christen Suda
13. Emily Magee
14. Kyla Roth
15. Tia Blythe

Women's Premier League All-Stars | Reserves
16. Paris Hart
17. Adrienne Acosta
18. Maggie Craig
19. Candice Mahoney Watson
20. Maggie Olney
21. Beckett Royce
22. Josie Ziluca

USA Women's Eagles | 50
Tries: Thomas (2), Tapper (2), Parsons, Cairns, Emba (2)
Conversions: Rozier (5)

Women's Premier League All-Stars | 0
Tries: N/A
Conversions: N/A
Discipline: Chobot (Yellow)