Women’s Sevens Close 2017-18 Season On A High Note With Win Over Fiji
PARIS, FRA – The Women’s Sevens closed out the 2017-18 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series today with a dominant win over Fiji. While the season isn’t quite over with a small regional tournament still on deck in San Fransisco, the United States can look back on this game and some other high points from this year’s circuit.
Head Coach Richie Walker looks back on the year, “We had a great win to finish the tournament and that’s what we wanted to do. We came up just short against Canada during the quarters but played really well against Spain and Fiji. We wanted to end the World Series on a high note with everyone contributing and we got that.”
Play started with an Alev Kelter kick to the Fijian right flank as Abby Gustaitis made a run and jump for possession. Fiji would retain the ball and set up for an early scrum. Racing the ball back, Ana Maria Roqica was able to find space, but then Kelter was able to find her, laying out a massive hit at midfield. The US reclaimed possession and fed Kris Thomas for the try. The score marks her 50th career try.
— USA Rugby (@USARugby) 10 de junio de 2018
Thomas looked to have a second try in line just moments later, but the ball would fall into touch giving Fiji a chance to set and bring the ball over the line out wide. Going into the half, we’re all tied up at 7.
The second half was all USA. Clean ball movement carried possession down field to find Naya Tapper on the left wing, able to race it in. Lauren Doyle, again found a hole up the middle to score her team high 6th try of the weekend. Lastly, with zeros and the game in hand, each US player on the field kept the defense at full pressure as Fiji carried for a final score. Relentlessly, the United States ripped the ball back into possession, off loading to Ilona Maher for her second career score. The final whistle of the season blows, United States win 28-7.
After it’s all said and done, the United States improved overall as they complete a 6th to 5th place finish in the World Series standings. The first the team has finished in that position since the 2014-15 season.
Reflection on the series as a whole will come in due time, but as the Women’s Sevens look forward to the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018, their play and chemistry seem to be clicking at the right time.
Author: Calder Cahill.