MILL BAY, British Columbia – Women’s Eagles Head Coach Pete Steinberg has selected the side to start IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 preparations - the side that will face Canada in the opening match of the Can-Am series Tuesday, April 15.
The Eagles and Canada share a storied and intertwined history together, with both programs following nearly identical paths. Tuesday’s match at Shawnigan Lake School – which kicks off at 3:30 P.M. (6:30 P.M. ET) – will be another part of that connection throughout time.
Both programs contested their first ever matches against each other in 1987, with Canada hosting the inaugural match. In 2014, each side will open its seasonal campaign against each other – the start to IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 preparations.
Furthering on the game of firsts for the Eagles, the contest will also be the first non-tournament match during the month of April.
The Eagles have only ever competed in a World Cup in April (1991, 1994).
Mixed international experience levels will allow the team to see more than just what players can do in an international match environment.
“We have had some really good practices here [at Shawnigan Lake] and I’m interested to see what some of the players are capable of when under pressure,” Steinberg said. “These games are also really a chance for us to see where we want to go tactically with our game plan.”
Two players will get their first caps for the Women’s Eagles following the four practices at Shawnigan Lake School. Tess Kohanski, and Jacie Vonada will don the red, white, and blue jersey in the starting XV for the first time, while Amanda Kingzett could earn her first cap from the bench.
“I’m just expecting to go out and have fun,” said Kingzett. “I think every competition you prepare like it is an international game, but it is extra special to represent your country. So with that I’m going to have fun and go out and execute what we’ve prepared to do.”
On the other end of the spectrum, Jamie Burke gets the nod at prop to earn her 43rd career cap. The honor furthers Burke’s record as most capped Women’s Eagle.
Shaina Turley will lead the Eagles as captain on the day, slotting in at eight.
“I’m excited about our team’s development and looking forward to a great match against Canada,” said Turley. “It’s always an honor to lead team U.S.A. and I couldn’t ask for a better group of teammates.”
Rugby Canada’s live stream of the match will begin at 3:15 P.M. (6:15 P.M. ET) on rugbycanada.tv.
Despite it being the first matches of the season, both sides know each other well, having last played during the 2013 IRB Women’s Nations Cup.
The July meeting saw the host Eagles best the Maple Leafs, 29-17, at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colo.
In the contest, Sarah Chobot dotted down twice for the Eagles, coming on as a reserve prop. Lynelle Kugler, who gets the start at flanker, joined Nathalie Marchino and Kristin Zdanczewicz by also adding tries on the day.
To round out the scoring for the Eagles, kicking duties were assumed by Kimber Rozier and Meya Bizer, who accounted for a conversion kick each. Bizer will line up at inside center Tuesday, while Rozier slots in as a reserve.
For Canada, Sammy Crandell, Jane Kirby, and Laura Russell claimed tries during the match. Magali Harvey converted one of the three tries.
Tuesday’s match will be the 29th time the teams have squared off against each other. It is also the 14th time Canada will host the series contest.
The Eagles hold a 7-1 record during April contests.
Follow live match updates on Twitter with @USARugby.
Women's Eagles | v Canada
1. Naima Reddick
2. Tess Kohanski
3. Jamie Burke
4. Stacy Bridges
5. Molly Kinsella
6. Mel Denham
7. Phoebe Boone
8. Shaina Turley
9. Jennifer Lui
10. Sadie Anderson
11. Ryan Carlyle
12. Meya Bizer
13. Emilie Bydwell
14. Amanda Street
15. Jacie Vonada
Canada | Roster
1. Laura Russell
2. Kim Donaldson
3. Hilary Leith
4. Kayla Mack
5. Latoya Blackwood
6. Barbara Mervin
7. Karen Paquin
8. Kelly Russell
9. Stephanie Bernier
10. Kayla Moleschi
11. Magali Harvey
12. Andrea Burk
13. Mandy Marchak
14. Brittany Waters
15. Julianne Zussman
Canada | Reserves
16. Asya Bartley
17. Marie-Pier Pinault-Ried
18. Mary Jane Kirby
19. Tyson Beukeboom
20. Jacey Murphy
21. Julia Sugawara
22. Brittany Benn
23. Jessica Dovanne
Women's Eagles | v Can-Am Series
v Canada - Tuesday, April 15 - 6:30 P.M. ET
v Canada - Saturday, April 19 - 6:30 P.M. ET