ORLEANS, France — Relentless defense was the name of the game as France was able to sneak past the US, 13-0 at Stade Marcel Garcin. Penalties would be the difference however, with France capitalizing on three Women’s Eagles infractions to seal the game.
Neither team was able to enter the attacking zone for very long, but it was France’s Jessy Tremouliere that would capitalize for her side when the opportunity arose. Scoring all points in the match, the fullback notched two penalty-kicks and converted on the penalty try to give France the victory.
“It was a very physical match and the team played with a lot of heart,” said captain Jamie Burke. “Despite not coming away with the win, we learned some things and we had opportunities.
Women’s Eagles head coach Pete Steinberg was also pleased with the overall performance of his squad, but noted displeasure in the penalty count.
“We played very well. We were physical and did an outstanding job defensively,” mentioned Steinberg following the game. “I’m disappointed with how skewed the penalty count was, but that isn’t something that we can control and we must play through it.”
USA was cited for fifteen penalties throughout the match, to France’s two.
Lynelle Kugler made an impression for the Eagles on the defensive side of the ball, receiving player of the match honors as a result. Numerous game-changing tackles highlighted a tenacious defensive performance from the flanker.
“We learned a lot,” said Kugler, who shared the same sentiments as her teammate. “It was a hard fought game, we just came up short.”
The Women’s Eagles will get a chance to redeem the loss, as the two meet again on Saturday (Nov. 24) at Stade de France.
“My focus now is on recovering and preparing for another physical match against them,” mentioned Kugler.
A defensive standoff opened the game, with both teams struggling to gain a territorial advantage. An attempt at goal from France on a penalty kick just minutes in was the only scoring opportunity either team would see until the waning moments of the half.
The impact of injuries to US players early in the contest went unfelt by the Women’s Eagles who remained defiant on defense. Amy Daniels was utilized as a substitution just seven minutes into the match after Kaelene Lundstrum was sidelined with an ankle injury. Meya Bizer was also forced to step away from play for a short period due to a cut under her eye.
Sadie Anderson stepped in for the ailing Bizer midway through the opening frame. Anderson slotted in as fullback and pushed Kimber Rozier to the wing position during the blood-substitution.
With the Women’s Eagles not budging on defense, the French took to the air, attempting to kick to gain a territorial edge. However, counter attacks from Daniels, Bizer, and fullback Kimber Rozier would thwart the attempt by bring the ball back to midfield each time.
It wouldn’t be until the 39th minute that another scoring opportunity would present itself, with Tremouliere redeeming her first attempt this time, to put France ahead 3-0.
The penalty goal would be the only scoring of the period as France led the Women’s Eagles, 3-0, at the break.
Minutes into the second half, Tremouliere made the most of yet another kicking opportunity from deep within US territory, connecting on the penalty goal to further France’s lead, 6-0.
Handling errors plagued the US in the second half, signaling the end to numerous attacking opportunities.
Despite a continued strict defense, penalties moved France into striking distance on several occasions. One such penalty, for not rolling away, would lead to Ashley Kmiecik receiving a yellow card and giving the opposition a one-player advantage deep in US territory.
Although Tremouliere missed on the ensuing penalty-goal attempt, France was able to hold the territorial advantage and came knocking on the US try-line.
After holding the ball up in goal, yet another penalty was awarded to France, this time for wheeling the scum. With the infraction taking place on the 5-meter line and deeming it intentional, a penalty try was signaled. Tremouliere made good on the conversion kick to make the score 13-0 in France’s favor.
A late push from the Women’s Eagles would prove be for not, as time expired and sealed the France victory at 13-0.
The loss puts the Women’s Eagles at 1-1 for its European tour.
The USA outlasted Italy in its first match of the tour, 34-20 at CPO Acqua Acetosa.
France dropped its previous match to playing the Women’s Eagles, losing 23-13 to England (Nov. 3).
The Women’s Eagles final tour contest, against France (Nov. 24), will be held in Paris at Stade de France. Kickoff for that match is set for 3 PM (9 AM ET).
Prior to the Nov. 21 meeting, the most recent match between USA and France was in 2009, which ended in a 15-15 draw. Played in Canada, the match was during the Nations Cup tournament.
Rugby Athletic is the official sponsor for the Women’s Eagles European Tour. As a premier rugby apparel provider, Rugby Athletic outfits numerous teams across the US with custom rugby uniforms and team equipment.
USA Women’s Eagles
1. Naima Reddick
2. Katy Augustyn (Chobot @ 65)
3. Jamie Burke (C) (Wilson @ 53)
4. Rosie Miesner (Turley @ 56)
5. Sharon Blaney (Bridges @ 68)
6. Laura Miller
7. Lynelle Kugler
8. Mel Denham
9. Jennifer Lui (White @ 74)
10. Hannah Stolba (Anderson @ 42)
11. Meya Bizer (Blood-sub, Anderson @ 20)
12. Sam Pankey
13. Ashley Kmiecik
14. Kaelene Lundstrum (Daniels @ 7)
15. Kimber Rozier
16. Kittery Wagner
17. Sarah Wilson
18. Sarah Chobot
19. Stacey Bridges
20. Shaina Turley
21. Carrie White
22. Sadie Anderson
23. Amy Daniels
Tries: Penalty (63)
Conversions: Tremouliere, 1/1
Penalties: Tremouliere, 2/4