For Immediate Release
August 13, 2011
USA WOMEN CLAIM 3rd IN NATIONS CUP
ONTARIO, Canada -- The USA Women's National Team beat South Africa by a clean 20 point margin on Saturday at Appleby College in Oakville, Ontario to claim 3rd Place in the Women's Nations Cup. With a final score of 29-9, the USA avenged their 23-26 loss on Tuesday to the South Africans and will leave the tournament on a positive note.
"Our goal going into the tournament was to play our best game on the last day and we did that," said USA Head Coach Pete Steinberg.
The coach also noted that the USA was the only team in the Women's Nations Cup to not concede a single try in 80 minutes. A focus on defense after the last South Africa clash contributed to that impressive stat.
USA Captain, Jamie Burke, applauded her squad's commitment to the game plan and a positive team mentality for the win.
"I think we came together really well as a team and executed our game plan," said the captain. "The team is really cohesive with a really good culture. It's also a team that can win. It's not very common for a team to have all of those things. This win is very important for the team moving forward."
The first half saw both teams struggle to find a rhythm. Handling errors and untidy breakdowns haunted both sides and accounted for some scrappy passages of play. Soon the early-game jitters subsided and the USA hit their stride.
The Women's Eagles were very aggressive in defense and at the breakdown, sometimes too much so. Two American penalties in the first half gave South Africa a 6-0 lead and the USA got a wake up call.
Blindside flanker Shaina Turley was a human battering ram on both sides of the ball. On one occasion, a South African defender was flattened when she tried to tackle Turley at full clip. Her work at the breakdown was excellent as well. Turley's captain, Jamie Burke, praised the blindside flanker for her dogged work rate and intensity during the pre-game pep talk and on the field.
Physical defense and strength in the contact area rattled the South Africans and even resulted in a USA try as the Women's Eagles forced a turnover and Vanesha McGee rocketed forwards and bashed through tackles to get to the line. Add that to a penalty from moments earlier and a successful conversion by Pam Kosanke and the USA found themselves ahead four points at the half.
Steinberg felt his team was losing a bit at the point of contact, and rallied the troops at halftime to close out the win and keep the intensity up. That advice held and the Women's Eagles showed controlled aggression to win that point of contact for the rest of the game.
McGee's speed and strength continued to cause all kinds of headaches for the South Africans in the second half and she darted through the defense regularly and tallied another five-pointer.
Rugged forward play helped set up the backline moves, and the USA forwards were strong in support as well as evidenced by Laura Miller's try in the second half. Miller, the big lock, was on the wing and ran a great line to gather an offload and dive over in the corner for a try. That try swung the momentum in the USA's favor.
Samantha Pankey found herself in the try zone for the last USA try, a just reward for her efforts in the encounter.
USA Women’s Eagles
15 Pam Kosanke (Chicago North Shore)
14 Vanesha McGee (New York Rugby Club)
13 Amy Daniels (Beantown)
12 Samantha Pankey (James River)
11 Katie Dowty (Beantown)
10 Sadie Anderson (Penn State)
9 Kim Magrini (Keystone)
1 Farrah Douglas (DC Furies)
2 Lisa Butts (Nor Cal Triple Threat)
3 Jamie Burke, captain (Beantown)
4 Stacey Bridges (At Large)
5 Laura Miller (DC Furies)
6 Shaina Turley (San Diego Surfers)
7 Lynelle Kugler (Twin City Amazons)
8 Kate Daley (Chicago North Shore)
16 Devin Keller (Keystone)
17 Sarah Chobot (Minnesota Valkyries)
18 Lauren Daly (At Large)
19 Kittery Wagner (Beantown)
20 Carrie White (Seattle Rugby)
21 Rebecca Brafman (New York Rugby Club)
22 Kaelene Lundstrum (Twin City Amazons)
Tries: McGee (2), Miller, Pankey
Cons: Kosanke (3)