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Watch the matches live on Universal Sports and Direct TV.
BOULDER, Colo. – With the Women’s Eagles’ first-ever victory against France last Friday and a record 20,181 attendance at last weekend’s Men’s Eagles match against Ireland at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas, rugby in America is officially on the rise. The next step in a busy 2013 schedule is an Eagles double header this Friday, June 14, at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The Women’s Eagles will again take on France and the Men’s Eagles will continue their IRB Pacific Nations Cup campaign against visiting Tonga.
The record crowd in Houston witnessed a physical Eagles team keep ninth-ranked Ireland tryless, but ultimately lose 12-15. The penalty kick fiesta was watched live by millions across the country on Universal Sports Network, who will again broadcast the upcoming matches against France and Tonga this Friday.
The Eagles returned international professionals Scott LaValla, Samu Manoa, Takudzwa Ngwenya and Chris Wyles against Ireland, and the performance was much improved after a loss to Canada May 25 in the first match of the Pacific Nations Cup. Mike Petri and Chris Biller also returned from injury for the Eagles and training in the lead-up to the match had a renewed vigor with the additions.
“When we were away in Canada we had a lot of veterans out,” Men’s Eagles Head Coach Mike Tolkin said. “With veterans and pros coming back into the system—great athletes—it brings that new energy back.”
With the loss to Ireland, the Eagles dropped one spot in the IRB World Rankings from 16th to 17th. Ireland moved up a spot with the win from 9th to 8th. On the same night in Kingston, Ontario, the Eagles’ next opponent, Tonga, lost 27-36 to Canada in the Pacific Nations Cup, dropping one spot to 12th in the World Rankings. Canada improved to 3-0 in the competition and moved to 13th.
After this Friday’s Tonga match, the Eagles will travel to Japan to face Fiji and Japan in the final stage of the 2013 Pacific Nations Cup. Fiji is 1-1 and Japan 0-2, giving the Eagles hope for a top-two finish in the first year of their inclusion in the competition.
The Women’s Eagles on the other hand started their 2013 summer season on the right foot thanks to Sarah Chobot’s match-winning try against France Friday, June 7. The match was the first in a three-test series between the two international powerhouses. The second match is Tuesday at Oxnard College before the culminating match at the Home Depot Center Friday. Watch Tuesday's match on USA Rugby TV.
Head Coach Pete Steinberg will use a new-look lineup Tuesday for the second test, with 11 new starters including Erin Overcash, who will earn her first cap.
“I am interested to see how we do in the match because it is, for the most part, a completely different lineup,” Steinberg said. “How we do on Tuesday will determine exactly what kind of depth we have moving forward.”
The Women’s Eagles are using their three-test series with France as a warm-up to the Senior Women’s Nations Cup set for Greeley and Glendale, Colo., from July 30 – August 10. All summer matches are preparing the teams for the fast-approaching 2014 IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup in Paris, France.
Tickets for the Eagles double header start at $12 and can be purchased via the Home Depot Center website. Groups of 10 or more may purchase tickets by calling 720-508-8036. The first 2,000 fans will gain entry to the Women’s Eagles’ match against France at the Track and Field Stadium on the Home Depot Center Campus.
About USA Rugby
Established in 1975, USA Rugby is the governing body for the sport of rugby in America and a Full Sport Member of the United States Olympic Committee. Currently headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, USA Rugby is charged with developing the game on all levels and has over 115,000 active members. USA Rugby oversees four national teams, multiple collegiate and high school All-American sides, and an emerging Olympic development pathway for elite athletes. It also hosts over 30 national playoff and championship events every year as a service to its members. In October 2009, the International Olympic Committee announced that Rugby Sevens (the seven-a-side version of the game) will appear in the 2016 Olympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro. Visit www.usarugby.org for more information.