BOULDER, CO — Two years remain until the next Women’s Rugby World Cup, however the upcoming tour to Europe will serve as the final trial run for the elite tournament and what the Eagles will experience during the 2014 competitions.
Head coach Pete Steinberg continues to note that the numerous games within a short timespan is almost identical to what the squad will face in the World Cup.
“This tour will most likely be the last time we [the US] are in Europe until August of 2014,” mentioned Steinberg.
The Eagles will spend thirteen days abroad in full, but will compete three times during a seven-day period of the tour. The first match is against Italy (Nov. 18) followed by two contests against France (Nov. 21 & 24).
Six to seven practices are expected to highlight the touring schedule, with five trainings most likely taking place within the initial four days of arrival. Due to transport and facility constraints, the practice schedule cannot be confirmed until after arrival to each destination.
“It’s a very busy schedule, but we made it that way to simulate exactly what we will experience during the World Cup,” said Steinberg. “Three games in a week will be what we will face in 2014.”
The Eagles are slated to stay in Rome from Nov. 13-19. Following its match against Italy, Orleans (France) will be the next stop from Nov. 19-23, before settling in Paris for the durations of the tour, Nov. 23-26.
No time will be wasted in preparing the team on the field however, as two practices are already in-line for the first full day of the tour (Nov. 15) at the CUS Roma Rugby grounds. The practice facilities are located at a university near the team hotel.
There has also been a special practice arranged where the Eagles will train with the Italian squad on Friday (Nov. 16) at the CPO Acqua Acetosa. The “G. Onesti” is also the site for the Sunday contest between the two teams.
“It will be exciting to practice with them and see what rugby is like for them, what they focus on, and what their tendencies are,” said flyhalf Sadie Anderson.
The day before its match against Italy, the Eagles will be entertained at the men’s Italy vs. New Zealand contest held at Olympic Stadium. Tickets were made available to the team through the Italian Rugby Federation.
Orleans is the next destination during the tour, where the team will reside from Nov. 19-23.
Currently, due to travel arrangements being in close proximity to the match against France (Nov. 21), coordinating an appropriate practice schedule will be difficult for the group. However, manager Roshna Wunderlich has mentioned that the training schedule will not take form likely until after the Italy game.
“We are still working on this, but it looks like we will [be able to] have practices before the first France test,” said Wunderlich.
Stade Marcel Garcin, home of RC Orleans, will host the first match against France, with a 7 PM (1 PM EST) kickoff.
Paris will be the team’s final stopping point, spending the final four days in the French capital.
The famous Stade de France will showcase the final test of the tour, again against France. A 3 PM (9 AM EST) kickoff will also serve as a “curtain raiser” for the France vs. Samoa contest.
Two days of relaxation and exploration in Paris has been scheduled for the team following its contest against France. The team will be able to tour the city on its final days of the European tour.
Flights will return the group to the United States on Nov. 26, concluding a fourteen-day tour.
The Eagles will return to Paris for the Women’s Rugby World Cup in August (2014).
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