USA Eagles
19  
South Africa
15  
Women's Sevens  @ The Sevens Stadium
November 30, 20174:24 pm 
Dubai Sevens
Referee:  Alhambra Nievas, Spain
FloRugby

Tapper late heroics in Dubai seal win over South Africa

DUBAI, UNITED EMIRATES – The Women’s Sevens decided to make things interesting in their second match of Pool A. After a giveaway try so South Africa, the US relied on the speed of Naya Tapper to close out a 19-15 victory in the final seconds. The Women’s Eagles now sit 1-1 on the day heading into their final match up with undefeated New Zealand.

In a scrappy match for both sides, the South Africans maintained possession early, hardly allowing the United States to settle and drive. Zintle Mpupha would find an opening early and dot down for points in the 2′. Christelene Steinhoebel made the break, but had some ground to cover. With Tapper on her tail, she recognized the mis-match in speed and brilliantly looked to her left for Mpupha to find the try zone. 

On a few occasions, maul-like tackles kept play at a standstill while both sides would set up out wide hoping their team would win possession. The first US score came at the advantage of a draw out tackle from Ryan Carlyle, giving Tapper time and space to gather the ball out wide and race it in for points. 

Tapper would again be at the focal point of play after bobbling a pass just meters from the goal line. With her team lined up to strike, an empty back field was available to Mpupha for a breakaway. Valiantly, Alev Kelter made her way after Mpupha and was able to get a clean tackle on her, but not early enough to keep point off the board. The Springbok Women would lead 10-7 after the first half.

South African Head Coach, Renfred Dazel, urged his team to score first in the second half, but the Women’s Eagles had different plans as Abby Gustaitis showed her power on the left flank, recapturing a 12-10 lead only seconds into the half. 

The Springbok Women kept the pressure however, nearly finding the pay dirt if not for a brilliant tackle from Carlyle, forcing a US line out just off their own goal line. A crucial mistake on a short throw-in proved to be a turning point as Veroeshka Grain simply had to fall on the loose ball to pick up an easy 5 points. 

With time in the red, the United States were able to settle into their game plan and execute an almost perfect drive. Tapper being the speedy weapon on the outside, was the difference maker as she blew away her defenders and waltzed across the line for a 19-15 win. 

The US won’t have much time to celebrate the first win of the season however, given their final match with New Zealand. The Black Ferns come into the final match undefeated and in dominant fashion, having beaten this South African team, 40-0. Catch the final match on The Rugby Channel.

WOMEN’S EAGLES SEVENS ROSTER | Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens

1. Jordan Gray
2. Ryan Carlyle
3. Sara Parsons
4. Nicole Heavirland (C)
5. Tia Blythe
6. Alev Kelter
7. Naya Tapper
8. Abby Gustaitis
9. Kelsi Stockert
10. Sarah Buonopane 
11. Kiki Morgan
12. Megan Foster

WOMEN’S EAGLES SEVENS STAFF | Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens

Head Coach – Richie Walker 
Athletic Trainer – Sarah Leslie 
Physical Preparation – Ian Gibbons 
Team Manager – Leanna Corpus 
Analyst – Dave Gardner

WOMEN’S EAGLES SEVENS POOL A SCHEDULE | Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens

Thu, Nov. 30, 2017 
vs. France – L 19-17
vs. South Africa – W 19-15
vs. New Zealand – 10:43 AM ET