Women’s Eagles roster named for historic match with Barbarians

GLENDALE, CO. - USA Women’s Eagles Head Coach Rob Cain has named his match-day roster to face the famous Barbarians tomorrow (Friday, Apr 26) at Infinity Park, KO 5 p.m. Mountain Time, on FloRugby.com. Friday’s clash will mark the first time a Barbarians side has ever faced a U.S. National Team.

Tickets are available at glendaleraptors.com/tickets with the Glendale Raptors and Rugby United New York of Major League Rugby kicking off after at 7:30 PM. One ticket is valid for both games.

Following a competitive high performance training camp which saw a substantial number of pool players vie for selection, the Women’s Eagles lineup features a mix of new faces along with several who return following the previous Women’s Rugby World Cup cycle.

Three of which are starters Nicole Strasko, Nate Serevi and Amy Naber. Strasko will start at lock after playing her last test match during the 2017 Can-Am Series. Serevi is in at No. 8 after last suiting up against England in July of 2016 and Naber, starting at center, will play for the first time since her test debut against New Zealand in Summer of 2015.

The starting XV also features a new face in Twin City Amazon’s Katana Howard and two sevens athletes in Neariah Persinger and resident-athlete Eti Haungatau. Persinger will play her first match with the senior team in fifteens after last competing with the Eagles Sevens in Kitakyushu 2018. Haungatau will play her first match overall at the senior level, having focused heavily on development in the Women’s Sevens Residency Program.

Reserves also include sevens players in resident-athletes Hope Rogers and Ashlee Byrge, as well as Bui Baravilala and Bulou Mataitoga. Both Rogers and Baravilala have competed with the senior team in sevens and fifteens while Byrge and Mataitoga have made their national team appearances in sevens.

Byrge most recently debuted at Dubai Sevens 2018 while Rogers and Mataitoga last competed at the senior level during Kitakayushu Sevens in 2018 and 2017, respectively. Baravilala returns for the first time since the Olympic Games Rio 2016.

Alongside the group of long standing returners is Chicago North Shore’s Charli Jacoby who could play for the first time with the senior team as a reserve.

The full match-day roster owns a 176 cumulative caps. 

Head Coach Rob Cain said: “As a coaching group we are not just excited for the 23 that will be running out against the Barbarians but also incredibly excited for the inner competition that this week has shown throughout the player pool in camp. It’s always great to see both the excitement and realization from an individual player that they deserve to be in the national team environment.

“The Barbarians are steeped in history, no more so than with this match day squad, from World Cup winners, to multiple World Cup captains, to players involved at the Olympics in both their playing and coaching staff we know the type of challenge that lays await for us. This is such an exciting platform for all of us as we continue forwards with our adventures in 2019.”

While caps will not be awarded for the Eagles matchup with the Baa-Baas, the squad will have an opportunity to play the top women’s rugby players from several countries around the world in the famous Barbarians side. Two of which are Women’s Eagle Alumni in 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup athlete Hannah Stolba and 2016 Olympian Carmen Farmer.

Tickets for Friday’s game start at $25 for adults with VIP packages also available at glendaleraptors.com/tickets. To watch the action LIVE, visit FloRugby.com.

U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM STARTERS

PLAYER NAMEPOSITIONCLUBCAPS IN 15s
1. Catherine BensonPropLife West Gladiatrix17
2. Joanna KitlinskiHookerGlendale Merlins8
3. Nicole JamesPropHouston Athletic6
4. Stacey BridgesLockBeantown Rugby36
5. Nicole StraskoLockLife West Gladiatrix3
6. Katherine Zackary (C)FlankerSan Diego Surfers9
7. Rachel JohnsonFlankerOregon Sports Union3
8. Nate SereviNo. 8Scion Rugby2
9. Carly WatersScrumhalfNew York Rugby2
10. Katana HowardFlyhalfTwin City Amazons0
11. Neariah PersingerWingUnattached0
12. Amy Naber-BonteCenterLIfe West Gladiatrix1
13. Eti HaungatauCenterWomen's Sevens Residency Program0
14. Jennine DuncanWingSeattle Saracens2
15. Gabriella CantornaFullbackGlendale Merlins3

U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM RESERVES

PLAYER NAMEPOSITIONCLUBCAPS IN 15s
16. Katy AugustynReserveBerkeley All Blues33
17. Hope RogersReserveWomen's Sevens Residency Program25
18. Charli JacobyReserveChicago North Shore0
19. Alycia WashingtonReserveNew York Rugby17
20. Joyce TaufaReserveLindenwood University3
21. Ashlee ByrgeReserveWomen's Sevens Residency Program0
22. Bui BaravilalaReserveSan Diego Surfers6
23. Bulou MataitogaReserveBerkeley All Blues0

Women’s National Team Staff

General Manager | Emilie Bydwell
Head Coach | Rob Cain
Assistant Coach | Jamie Burke
Assistant Coach | Kate Daley
Assistant Coach | Shawn Pittman
Coach/Team Manager | Jenny Lui
Head Strength & Conditioning Coach | Ian Jones
Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach | Michaela Staniford
Head Performance Analyst | Dave Gardner
Team Doctor | Terence Cronin
Head Athletic Trainer | Bri Arsenault
Assistant Athletic Trainer | Amie Kern
Assistant Athletic Trainer | Jade Callan
Support Manager | Frank Palumbo


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