PARIS, France -- Despite aggressive play to open each half, a staunch France side staves off the Women's Eagles, 27-3. The US pushed the play, earning territory in the first minutes of each half, but could not muster points from the efforts.
France was able to take advantage of attacking errors Saturday in front of the home crowd at Stade de France.
"We are disappointed with the result," said head coach Peter Steinberg. "The game highlighted some deficiencies that we need to address if we want to play at this level."
The loss is the second consecutive against France, and drops the squad to 1-2 for the European tour. The tour also concludes matches for the Women's Eagles during the 2012 campaign.
Although not the desired results on the scoreboard, USA head coach Pete Steinberg is pleased with the team's advancement.
"The tour was a great opportunity for us to learn and develop," said Steinberg. "Our staff and players have learned a lot over the last two weeks and we are already planning for next year."
The Women's Eagles started the game with a bang, maintaining pressure on the French by keeping the ball in the opposition's territory.
Handling errors and kicking miscues were very prevalent in the early minutes as a result of wet field conditions. Despite their difficulty with ball movement, the Women's Eagles battled in the scrums to keep pressure on France.
A staunch defensive line rarely allowed France to gain field position, permitting the home team to enter the attacking zone only as the result of penalties.
France was able to put the first points on the board after a penalty to the US for diving over. Aurelie Bailon slotted the penalty goal to put France ahead 3-0.
Yet another penalty minutes later, this time resulting in a yellow card for captain Jamie Burke, would allow France to push its lead. Bailon connected on the ensuing penalty goal to give France another 3 points.
Numerous US penalties would be the momentum change that France was in search of. With the drive behind them, France took advantage of the drop in pressure from the US.
Camille Grassineau was able to sneak into the corner of the try-zone with only minutes remaining in the half. Bailon added the conversion kick, making it 13-0 at the half.
After the break, France picked up right where it left off, pressuring the Women's Eagles. The French forced a penalty near the US 22-meter line after refusing to allow its opponent to leave its own territory.
A lineout on the Women's Eagles 5-meter line set up a France try. France was able to force a maul over the try line and Bailon made the conversion to boost France to a 20-0 lead.
The try would be somewhat of a wake up call to the US who came back with an aggressive offense, forcing a penalty by France. Kimber Rozier slotted the 35-meter penalty goal. The deficit was now, 20-3.
Handling errors again plagued the Women's Eagles attack. Numerous scrums to France replaced attacking opportunities that the US could have utilized.
Although the Women's Eagles opened the half with physical play and gains in territory, the pace would prove too much. In the closing minutes of the game, France was able to drive the ball over the try-line from a 5-meter scrum. Bailon remained perfect on the day, making the score 27-3, France.
The loss concludes the Women's Eagles European tour with a 1-2 record.
The Women's Eagles defeated Italy, 34-20, (Nov. 18) during the opening match before falling to France, 13-0 (Nov. 21).
Captain Jamie Burke emphasized the importance of the tour, as it was "critical in getting players up to speed at this level."
Before returning to the US, the team will spend a full day in Paris.
Rugby Athletic supported the Women's Eagles as the official sponsor for the European Tour. As a premier rugby apparel provider, Rugby Athletic outfits numerous teams across the US with custom rugby uniforms and team equipment.
Stay tuned for more information about the 2013 Women's Eagles campaign as the team prepares for the 2014 Women's Rugby World Cup which will be played in France.
USA Women's Eagles
1. Sarah Chobot (Reddick @ 62)
2. Kittery Wagner (Augustyn @ 57)
3. Jamie Burke (C) (Wilson @ 74)
4. Stacey Bridges
5. Sharon Blaney (Miesner @ 74)
6. Shaina Turley (Denham @ 66)
7. Lynelle Kugler
8. Kate Daley (Wilson @ 31 – Yellow Card Front Row Sub)
9. Carrie White (Lui @ 40)
10. Sadie Anderson
11. Ashley Kmiecik
12. San Juanita Moreno
13. Amy Daniels (Griffeth @ 64)
14. Amelia Bizer
15. Kimber Rozier (Stolba @ 74)
16. Katy Augustyn
17. Sarah Wilson
18. Naima Reddick
19. Rosie Miesner
20. Mel Denham
21. Jennifer Lui
22. Hannah Stolba
23. Valerie Griffeth
Penalties: Anderson 0/1, Rozier 1/1
Tries: Grassineau, unknown, unknown
Conversions: Bailon 3/3
Penalties: Bailon 2/2