USA Eagles
28 14
Japan
7 7
Women's Sevens  @ Westhills Stadium
May 12, 20184:16 pm PDT
Canada Sevens
Pool Play

Women's Sevens' Take Third Consecutive Win Over Japan

LANGFORD, B.C. – It was a hard-fought battle, but the Women’s Sevens pulled together and came away with their third consecutive victory over Japan. In a match where the Japanese kept the Eagles moving, challenging their efforts so as to avoid another wide gap on the scoreboard, the United States overcame their own penalties to seal a 28-7 win and Canada Sevens Cup Quarterfinal berth. The U.S. will now face the home team and long-time rival Canada tomorrow at 1:04 PM ET, LIVE on The Rugby Channel

“We certainly had our challenges throughout each match but pulled together for a chance to win the ultimate prize tomorrow,” said Head Coach Richie Walker. “It will be important for us to focus on making accurate tackles so we avoid penalties, keep the ball and have more opportunities to score. We’ve made it to the Cup Quarterfinals with all to play for.”

Following a 14-35 defeat of third ranked Russia and a heartbreaking 22-19 loss to fourth ranked France, the Women’s Eagles Sevens came into their final battle of pool play determined to remain resilient. Though the Japanese met the United States with a counterattack that could have seen the match run away from the Eagles, Head Coach Richie Walker and his squad held on to minimize opposing scores. 

Drawing first blood for the U.S. side was Abby Gustaitis who took a promising USA attack all the way for the 7-0 lead. Japan attempted to expose gaps in the Eagle defense shortly after, but a tight formation prevented any breakaways through the first few minutes of play. 

Penalties moved the ball back and forth between both teams, making just enough space for Japan’s Yume Hirano to find an opening and give her side their only try of the match, 7-7. Now tied with momentum available for either squad to capture, the Women’s Sevens knew they needed to take control of the match. 

Then, a promising final attack before halftime put the Eagles back on top. Naya Tapper took the ball along the wing first, but was stopped and passed it back for a series of offloads that kept USA in the game. Finally, Tapper took the final pass and ran it in for the leading score, 14-7.

When the second-half began,  a wide pass from Ryan Carlyle to Cheta Emba allowed Emba to sneak along the left flank and put the Eagles up 21-7, making this the third consecutive match where the Eagles were first to score following halftime. But, just when it appeared USA was about to run away with the win, Japan kept fans in Westhills Stadium at the edge of their seats.  

Both teams on back-to-back plays took powerful and patient attacks moving across the gain line for what should have been two tries. The first, a Cheta Emba breakaway that saw a bobbled pass go to Abby Gustaitis who was stopped just short of the line. The Eagles kept it moving but a penalty knocked possession back to Japan before anyone could pick it up and score. 

Japan took the next opportunity for a similar attack, moving within dangerous distance of the Eagle try line before a penalty gave the ball back to USA. With every intention of preserving their momentous run, the United States redeemed their lost try by way of Naya Tapper’s winning score, 28-7. 

Now with a place in tomorrow’s Cup Quarterfinals, the Eagles are in perfect position to contend for it all. The U.S. will face rival Canada at 1:04 PM ET for a chance to advance, LIVE on The Rugby Channel. 

WOMEN’S SEVENS STAFF | 2018 HSBC Canada Sevens

Head Coach – Richie Walker
Athletic Trainer – Kevin Ng
Head of Physical Preparation – Jon Hood
Analyst – Dave Gardner
Team Manager – Liz Strohecker

WOMEN’S SEVENS SCHEDULE | 2018 HSBC Canada Sevens

v. Russia | 14-35 (W)
v. France | 22-19 (L)
v. Japan |  28-7 (W)