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Eagles finish World Cup in fifth place

posted by THE Phaidra Knight
Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 3:54pm EDT

Phaidra Knight of New York, NY blogs about her experiences as a professional rugby player (USA Rugby) and media spokesperson.

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9.5.10 – from USA Rugby.org
GUILDFORD, UK – The Eagles hit their stride in the final match and played well when it really mattered. This was the Eagles’ most tightly contested match of the World Cup with the USA and Canada switching the lead frequently throughout the match.

The Canadians struck early, having scored a penalty, a try, and a conversion within the first ten minutes of the match. Down by ten points early, the USA needed to wake up. And fast. Thanks to the boot of the American flyhalf, Christy Ringgenberg, the USA was brought back into the match. The pivot slotted two penalties for her side and brought the USA within four points. Canadian center, Sarah Ulmer, was carded in the 25th minute and would spend ten minutes in the bin, giving the Americans a one player advantage which they would capitalize on. Ashley English gave the USA the lead as she scored in the 30th minute, a missed conversion brought the scores to 11-10. The Canadians would answer back with a try of their own as the Canadian second-rower Megan Gibbs went over in the 35th minute. The conversion was good, and the scores at halftime were USA 11, Canada 17.  

The second half would be a different story. The USA came out of halftime with an impetus that was slow to come in the first half. Inside center, Lynelle Kugler went over in the second minute of the half and a conversion from Ringgenberg brought the scores to 18-17 and a nail-biting finish to the match. Speedster Vanesha McGee added another try to the American tally only five minutes after Kugler’s try. Ringgenberg’s conversion wouldn’t hit the mark. With a score of 23-17, the Americans maintained a lead, allowing only another penalty for the Canadians in the 66th minute. Canada was within three points for rest of the match, but the American lines held off the Canadians and would finish with a final score of 23-20.  

“We are really proud of how the team came together for our last World Cup match. Today we played smart rugby, maintained possession, and came out with a win,” said captain Ashley English.  

Head coach Kathy Flores was pleased with the win, and also gracious to the Canadians, a team she has come to know extremely well both as a player and as a coach.  

“Ultimately, I’m happy we maintained our fifth place standing. I know the players have grown with each International experience. We knew the match would be tight, and as much as we are rivals, we greatly appreciate having Canada as a consistent opponent,” said head coach, Kathy Flores.  

The Eagles finished the Women’s Rugby World Cup with a 3-2 record, with the two losses coming in pool play. The losses to England and Ireland shut out American hopes for a semi-final berth, but the USA reacted to the two consecutive losses well. In their second match against Ireland, the USA came away with a 37 point victory, showing what the Eagles could do. In a tightly contested fifth place playoff, they showed that they had the skill and the character to overcome adversity and put in an enormous effort in a rivalry on the World stage.  

USA  

  1. FARRAH DOUGLAS – AT LARGE (Replaced by Vivolo, 68′)
  2. LISA BUTTS – BERKELEY ALL-BLUES (Replaced by Wallace, 54′)
  3. JAMIE BURKE – BEANTOWN
  4. BLAIRE GROEFSEMA – BERKELEY ALL-BLUES
  5. SHARON BLANEY – BEANTOWN
  6. KRISTIN ZDANCZEWICZ – MINNESOTA VALKYRIES
  7. BECKETT ROYCE – ORSU (Replaced by Knight, 45′)
  8. MELANIE DENHAM – BEANTOWN
  9. CLAUDIA BRAYMER – ALBANY
  10. CHRISTY RINGGENBERG – MINNESOTA VALKYRIES
  11. NATHALIE MARCHINO – BERKELEY ALL-BLUES (Replaced by Folayan, 64′)
  12. LYNELLE KUGLER – TWIN CITIES AMAZONS
  13. AMY DANIELS – BEANTOWN
  14. VANESHA MCGEE – NEW YORK
  15. ASHLEY ENGLISH – BERKELEY ALL-BLUES (Captain)
  16. MAURIN WALLACE – BEANTOWN (Replaced Lisa Butts, 54′)
  17. LARA VIVOLO – NEW YORK (Replaced Douglas, 68′)
  18. STACEY BRIDGES – AT LARGE
  19. PHAIDRA KNIGHT – NEW YORK (Replaced Royce, 45′)
  20. KIM MAGRINI – KEYSTONE
  21. MELISSA KANUK – MINNESOTA VALKYRIES
  22. VICTORIA FOLAYAN – BERKELEY ALL-BLUES (Replaced Marchino, 64′)

Tries: English (30′), Kugler (42′), McGee (47′) Conversions: Ringgenberg (43′)
Penalties: Ringgenberg (16′, 20′)  

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