BOULDER, Colo. -- The Women’s Eagles have been selected for the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014. In total, 26 players will have the chance to represent the U.S.A. in Paris for the prestigious tournament.
“It has taken three years to get to this point and I am very excited about the squad,” said Pete Steinberg about his selections. “A lot of work has been put in to get us to where we are now.
“With only 26 players and five games in just over two weeks, the ability to play multiple positions was a factor in the selections.”
The representing players will now attempt to overcome a tough pool draw to accomplish the team motto: “Final in ‘14” – a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since 1994.
“We have an extremely tough pool,” Steinberg said. “We have Ireland and New Zealand, who could both claim to be a top team along with ourselves. However, we are excited for the challenge.”
Ireland is the opening match for the Eagles in Marcoussis Aug. 1. The Irish claimed the RBS Six Nations crown in 2013 and a third-place marker for 2014.
The Black Ferns cap the three games in pool play Aug. 9. New Zealand is a four-time defending World Cup champion, having won each tournament title since 1998.
Kazakhstan takes on the Eagles Aug. 5.
To prepare for the World Cup, the U.S.A. most recently competed in the U.K., which, despite the outcomes, was very beneficial to the group.
“Our tour to the U.K. was very useful as part of our preparation,” summed Steinberg. “The matches in England and Wales have put us where we want to be in terms of for the World Cup.”
In addition to playing Wales and one test and one scrimmage against England, the Eagles have squared off against a number of international opponents. During the World Cup cycle, the Eagles have faced six different countries.
During the preparations, France, Canada, and South Africa were regular opposition, having played the Eagles four times each.
Most recently, the undefeated record against Wales was upheld during the U.K. Tour.
Smaller assemblies around the country were also established to help players in preparations for the World Cup.
“We have worked hard to create an environment that players want to be around and are comfortable in,” said Steinberg of the Eagle Training Centers and preparatory tours. “Our player identification processes means that we can properly evaluate players and know what we are getting on the field.”
With less than a month remaining until the World Cup begins, players are excited to be making the trip, as well.
“Everyone is coming together as teammates and we left the U.K. Tour with a lot of confident energy,” said Deven Owsiany, who rounds out the roster at scrumhalf. “I can’t wait to build on that energy and that emotion now.”
All players who attended the U.K. Tour have been selected to the World Cup roster.
A great number of players, however, are returning from the 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup. Bringing experience to the group are Sharon Blaney, Stacey Bridges (reserve), Jamie Burke, Emilie Bydwell, Lynelle Kugler, Nathalie Marchino, Vanesha McGee, Naima Reddick, Hannah Stolba, and Kittery Wagner.
Burke will look to extend her cap total as the most-capped Eagle. The prop earned her 46th career cap in the friendly against England Sunday, July 6. Burke also served on the 2006 World Cup squad.
Maintaining her place in the squad is McGee, who accounted for all of the Eagles’ tries during the U.K. Tour.
Joining Kugler in the back-row is Kate Daley and Shaina Turley. Each brings a great deal of experience and leadership to the World Cup roster despite not being named to any previous World Cups. Both captained the Eagles during the U.K. Tour.
“It is really exciting to go back to Paris,” said the number eight, Daley. “Especially because it will be for the World Cup.”
Also bringing a lot of experience and leadership to the group, while it being their first World Cup, are Kimber Rozier and Sadie Anderson. The versatile backs can slot in at every position in the back line, but primarily step in at fly half.
The nine-ten connection will be a strong suit for the Eagles with veteran scrum half Jossy Tseng leading the way at the position.
Newer to the Eagles mix, but certainly bringing an edge to the team, are three dynamic players, all lining up in different parts of the field.
Bui Baravilala comes to the team as a speedster that fills in at wing and full back. The Hawaiian native earned her first cap with the Eagles during the match against Wales.
Having played the sport of rugby for only two years, Carmen Farmer fills in at the lock position. The lawyer has picked up the sport seamlessly and will be alongside World Cup veteran Blaney along with Sarah Walsh and Lauren Daly.
At prop, Hope Rogers has made a name for herself during the most recent matches. The 21-year-old college student will be teaming up with Burke, Sarah Chobot, Reddick, and Sarah Wilson at the position. With Katy Augustyn and Wagner at hooker, the front row will be a big boost to the Eagles throughout the tournament.
Fellow college student Meya Bizer with Bydwell and Sylvia Braaten will fill the center positions. Rozier and Anderson are expected to help with the duties, as well.
Matches during the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup will be held at the French Rugby headquarters in Marcoussis, while placement matches will take place primarily at Stade Jean Bouin.
Non-pool play matches will be played Aug. 13 and 17.
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Women's Eagles | IRB Women's Rugby World Cup 2014
Sadie Anderson (Fort Collins, Colo.)
Kathryn Augustyn (Antigo, Wis.)
Akalaini "Bui" Baravilala (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Meya Bizer (Woodlands, Texas)
Sharon Blaney (Braintree, Mass.)
Sylvia Braaten (Waterford, Wis.)
Jamie Burke (Chesapeake, Va.)
Emilie Bydwell (Montreal, Quebec)
Sarah Chobot (Mendon, Mich.)
Kate Daley (Mishawaka, Ind.)
Lauren Daly (Boulder, Colo.)
Carmen Farmer (Richmond, Va.)
Lynelle Kugler (New Raymer, Colo.)
Nathalie Marchino (Geneva, Switzerland)
Vanesha McGee (Ewing, N.J.)
Deven Owsiany (Royersford, Pa.)
Jillion Potter (Denver, Colo.)
Naima Reddick (El Cerrito, Calif.)
Hope Rogers (Chambersburg, Pa.)
Kimberly Rozier (Raleigh, N.C.)
Hannah Stolba (Missoula, Mont.)
Jocelyn Tseng (Palo Alto, Calif.)
Shaina Turley (Fox Lake, Ill.)
Kittery Wagner (Fort Collins, Colo.)
Sarah Walsh (Baltimore, Md.)
Sarah Wilson (Westerville, Ohio)
Women's Eagles | Non-Traveling Reserves
Jessica Davis (Rescue, Calif.)
Katie Dowty (Boston, Mass.)
Amanda Kingzett (Ellendale, N.D.)
Tess Kohanski (East Lyme, Conn.)
Jennifer Lui (Ridgway, Pa.)
Amy Naber (Tucson, Ariz.)
Anne Peterson (Arusha, Tanzania)
Amanda Street (Princeton, W. Va.)
Women's Eagles | IRB Women's Rugby World Cup 2014
v Ireland - Friday, August 1
v Kazakhstan - Tuesday, August 5
v New Zealand - Saturday, August 9