Eagles clinical with few opportunities in defeat of Ireland

CLERMONT-FERRAND, France - Naya Tapper scored the match-winning try in a substitute appearance as the USA Women's Eagles Sevens won their first matchup of HSBC Clermont-Ferrand Sevens Saturday, 12-7, against Ireland.

Ryan Carlyle also dotted down for Richie Walker's squad, which was kept largely in its own end through seven minutes. The Eagles face Japan next at Stade Gabriel Montpied, with the 8:44 a.m. ET kickoff broadcast live on The Rugby Channel.

Ireland scored from its first possession of the game, swinging the ball across the field near the midfield line before Ryan Carlyle slowed down the attack with a blocked kick and turnover. On the ground, she lost the ball, however, and Stacey Flood beat the defense for a 7-0 score line inside 60 seconds.

A final pass moments later was thrown forward to cut short another potential try-scoring play for Ireland, though the team in green did not have to chase the Eagles due to several dropped passes behind the attacking 22. Ireland had an opportunity late in the half to score from a set piece after placing a kick in the corner in open play, but successive knocks brought the half to an end with just the one try scored.

Alev Kelter was just one experienced reserve thrown into the game at halftime, and not a moment too soon as the Eagles looked to put together their first meaningful attack. Kelter set up an attacking lineout and won another penalty near the 22 as the U.S. held onto the ball through phases, and debutant Sara Parsons chased a well-placed grubber by Cheta Emba. Jessica Javelet was in support of the XVs flanker and found the onrushing Carlyle meters from the try line for the 7-5 try.

Tapper, the team's leading points- and try-scorer through five of six rounds of the 2016-17 HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series, did well to pick up a loose ball on the run in the 13th minute as Ireland neared the try line to give the Eagles their first lead of the match, 12-7, and one they would keep come the final whistle.

Japan found the try line against New Zealand in its first match of the weekend but ran out of gas as the Series-leader captured a 21-10 victory. The Eagles will try to secure a Cup Quarterfinal berth against the invited team on the weekend in the teams' first meeting of the season, which is scheduled for an 8:44 a.m. ET kickoff. All of the matches at Stade Gabriel Montpied this weekend can be found on The Rugby Channel.

Women's Eagles Sevens | Ireland
1. Cheta Emba
2. Joanne Fa'avesi
3. Sara Parsons
4. Nicole Heavirland (C)
5. Ryan Carlyle
6. Mata Hingano
7. Jessica Javelet
8. Ashley Perry
9. Natalie Kosko
10. Tess Feury
11. Alev Kelter
12. Naya Tapper

Ireland | v. USA
1. Audrey O'Flynn
2. Hannah Tyrrell
3. Stacey Flood
4. Megan Williams
5. Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe
6. Claire BOles
7. Chloe Blackmore
8. Claire Keohane
9. Emma Murphy
10. Kim Flood
11. Anna McGann
12. Katie Heffernan

Women's Eagles Sevens | 12
Tries: Carlyle, Tapper
Conversions: Heavirland

Ireland | 7
Tries: S. Flood
Conversions: K. Flood

Women's Eagles Sevens | HSBC Clermont-Ferrand Sevens
v. Ireland - W 12-7
v. Japan - Saturday, June 24 @ 8:44 a.m. ET
v. New Zealand - Saturday, June 24 @ 11:50 a.m. ET