USA Eagles
21 14
26 7
Women's Sevens  @ Westhills Stadium
May 28, 20174:42 pm PDT
Canada Sevens

Russia nabs dramatic overtime winner in Canada

 Michael Lee / KLC fotos

LANGFORD, British Columbia - Extra time was needed to separate the USA Women's Eagles Sevens and Russia in Sunday's HSBC Canada Sevens Fifth-Place Final, with Russia scoring the sudden-death winner for a 26-21 victory at Westhills Stadium.

Sixth at the penultimate round of the 2016-17 HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series, the U.S. maintains its sixth-place standing on the circuit, but sees the gap between it and Russia grow to six points (Fiji dropped to fifth on 54 points to the U.S.'s 52). Richie Walker's squad will reconvene at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center in preparation for the final leg at HSBC Clermont-Ferrand Sevens June 24-25.

The Eagles started with blistering pace from a match-opening lineout. Naya Tapper had eyes on an early try and held off two defenders as she crossed midfield, where Joanne Fa'avesi similarly pushed around the Russian defenders before offloading to her wing for the first try. Nicole Heavirland converted from a difficult angle for the 7-0 advantage.

Tapper again used her strength to the U.S.'s advantage as Russia looked to respond from the third-minute restart, successfully turning over possession with a counter ruck. Russia could do nothing but kick past the defense when it won its own turnover a phase later, and Kristen Thomas spun out of an attempted tackle after receiving Fa'avesi's offload to double the lead, 14-0.

Alena Mikhaltsova put her side on the scoreboard as time expired in the first half. Following a scrum win, Russia's Baizat Khamidova found her teammate running a switch and hit her with the offload for an 80-meter try, 14-7.

The Eagles survived an eighth-minute break by Mariia Perestiak, but could not keep Mikhaltsova out of the try zone a minute later after conceding a penalty within 20 meters of their try line. Russia went on to take its first lead of the Final, 21-14, with two minutes to play as Perestiak caught the U.S. out of position with a short-side run down the touch line.

With time winding down, Cheta Emba secured the 13th-minute restart to settle possession for the Eagles. Thomas drew a penalty at midfield, and Kate Zackary did well to quickly send the ball out to Alev Kelter under pressure around Russia's 22. The captain had Emba in support and timed the pass to perfection before completing the scoring play with the conversion for a tied, 21-21, match.

Neither team could find a winner in the dying seconds of full time, and Russia began the first extra five-minute period with possession due to a restart knock against the Eagles. The U.S. could not capitalize on the turnovers it created deep in its half, and Mikhaltsova provided the dagger of an assist with an offload in contact for Elena Zdrokova's winner, 26-21.

Women's Eagles Sevens | v. Russia

1. Cheta Emba

2. Kristen Thomas

3. Kate Zackary

4. Nicole Heavirland

5. Sylvia Braaten

6. Alev Kelter (C)

7. Naya Tapper

8. Kelly Griffin

9. Kelsi Stockert

10. Joanne Fa'avesi

11. Mata Hingano

12. Jessica Javelet

Russia | v. USA

1. Daria Noritsina

2. Arina Bystrova

3. Anna Gavrilyuk

4. Alena Mikhaltsova

5. Baizat Khamidova

6. Ekaterina Skoromko

7. Marina Petrova

8. Marina Kukina

9. Anna Minislamova

10. Elena Zdrokova

11. Daria Lushina

12. Mariia Perestiak

Women's Eagles Sevens | 21

Tries: Tapper, Thomas, Emba

Conversions: Heavirland (2), Kelter

Russia | 26

Tries: Mikhaltsova (2), Perestiak, Zdrokova

Conversions: Lushina

Women's Eagles Sevens | HSBC Canada Sevens

v. England - W 21-19

v. New Zealand - L 7-0

v. Netherlands - W 57-0

Cup QF v. Australia - L 22-10

Fifth-Place SF v. England - W 26-14

Fifth-Place Final v. Russia - L 26-21