PARIS -- A day removed from a heartbreaking 23-17 loss to Ireland, the Women’s Eagles have a chance to look back and reflect on the opening match. While the score-line is disappointing, the execution against Ireland shows a lot of positives in moving forward.
“When we look at the stats of the game, it was very even,” commented Pete Steinberg after assessing the team’s efforts. “We had a very efficient attack and our defense only gave up one line break.”
However, there were two distinct areas that proved costly for the Women’s Eagles.
“Ireland’s fullback [Niamh] Briggs was a difference maker with her boot and also the Irish had the edge in the lineout,” reflected the head coach.
Opportunities in the match were also recognized as a point to change for future contests.
“There were three instances where we had the ball in [Ireland’s 22-meter line] with a chance at possession and we did not score,” said Steinberg. “And twice Ireland ended up getting points themselves.”
No matter the result of the match, the Women’s Eagles will move forward for a chance to meet the goal of “Final in ‘14”.
“[The team is] disappointed in the loss, but determined to move forward,” mentioned Steinberg.
Having captured a crucial bonus point in the match against Ireland, the path to reaching the 2014 Finals has become clearer.
“The winner of our game against Ireland had to get a bonus point to help them go through,” Steinberg explained on how the pools work. “Fortunately, since we got one our chance is still there.”
To move through to the Finals round, the Women’s Eagles will need to at least win its final two matches. Kazakhstan will square off against the Eagles on Tuesday (Aug. 5), with the match against New Zealand scheduled for Saturday (Aug. 9).
New Zealand defeated Kazakhstan 79-5 yesterday, however, the Eagles are not taking them lightly.
“Kazakhstan are a tough group,” noted the head coach. “They have a good kicking game and some athletic forwards.”
With the Friday’s results as they are, the Women’s Eagles will need to win and gain a bonus point by scoring more than four tries.
Kickoff for the Kazakhstan match is set for 7 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday. Universal Sports will again provide live coverage of the match.
Coverage for the contest begins at 6:30 a.m. (EST).
With the current standings, Steinberg and the rest of his staff are interested in the results of the New Zealand and Ireland match as well.
“The match will be telling and a good match,” said Steinberg.
The head coach expects to know more about New Zealand following that match, which will greatly affect USA’s next moves.
See how the Women’s Eagles fair in the final matches of pool play in the 2014 IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup.
Universal Sports will broadcast the Eagles’ match against Kazakhstan Aug. 5. Coverage for the event begins at 6:30 A.M. ET.