PARIS -- The 2014 Women’s Eagles World Cup team is coming to the end of its journey. As the tournament comes to close, USA faces New Zealand to determine fifth place.
For some of the players it will also be the final international match of their careers.
“We had the jersey ceremony today and for many of our players it will be the last jersey they receive,” said Pete Steinberg, Eagles head coach. “It was a great event with many of the players showing their admiration for the team.”
The team will play one final match, a rematch against the reigning and four-time champion Black Ferns.
“On Sunday we get a chance to play the reigning World Champions, at least for a couple of hours,” said Steinberg. “The Black Ferns are still the standard bearer of women’s international rugby and it will be an honor to play them again.”
The Black Ferns won the Pool B competition, 34-3.
Running in four tries to end the match, the Women’s Eagles took a new focus from the contest to end the World Cup.
“We want to ‘Finish Strong’. This mean the last few days of the World Cup, but also the end of the game,” explained Steinberg. “Against New Zealand we played them well for the first 60 [minutes], but they pulled away at the end. This time we want to finish strong.”
USA pressured the Black Ferns in the prior meeting through possession, territory, and numerous scoring opportunities. Down 12-3, the Women’s Eagles couldn’t keep the pressure on for the final 20 minutes.
“They are such a strong team and have so many world-class players that, as we learned before, we need to be able to play for 80 minutes,” said Steinberg. “We need to turn pressure into points, which we did not do the last time.”
According to Steinberg, “we need to continue to not give away penalties and we need to have good line speed to take away their wide game.”
Further, the Women’s Eagles have been challenged, “to play our best game of the tournament.”
The Women’s Eagles sit at 2-2 during the 2014 World Cup.
Prior to its 17-14 loss to Ireland, New Zealand had only lost one game in World Cup competition - a 7-0 decision against the Women’s Eagles in 1991.
The series between USA and New Zealand has seen eight contests, with the Black Ferns claiming seven. In that span, New Zealand has outscored the Women’s Eagles 311-31.
However, according to Steinberg, the Women’s Eagles are ready for the match.
“We had a good, light practice today and spirits are high,” said Steinberg. “ We are looking forward to the challenge of playing the Black Ferns again.”
Kickoff for the match is set for 8:15 A.M. (EST) in Stade Jean Bouin and can be viewed live on RWCWomens.com as well as UniversalSports.com (with subscription). Universal Sports will also air the contest on tape delay at 6:00 P.M. (EST).
The match in Stade Jean Bouin will be the first match outside of FFR Headquarters (Marcoussis) for the Women’s Eagles. New Zealand defeated Wales in the stadium on Wednesday.
WOMEN’S EAGLES | v New Zealand | 2014 IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup
1. Sarah Chobot
2. Kathryn Augustyn
3. Hope Rogers
4. Carmen Farmer
5. Sarah Walsh
6. Shaina Turley (C)
7. Lynelle Kugler
8. Jillion Potter
9. Jocelyn Tseng
10. Kimberly Rozier
11. Nathalie Marchin
12. Sylvia Braaten
13. Emilie Bydwell
14. Vanesha McGee
15. Meya Bizer