GUANGZHOU, China – Although a few pieces of luggage were lost along the way, the Women’s Eagles Sevens arrived safely in China earlier this week in preparation for the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series’ Guangzhou Women’s Sevens, scheduled for March 30-31.
The women have spent most of this week working to counter the jet lag from the trip, thanks to Nicole Titmas, the team’s head athletic trainer, and Lisa Bartoli, D.O., M.S., the team doctor.
“The players spent quality time on the field and in the video room and have been recovering with the stretch bands and, of course, the comforts of the cold pools,” Head Coach Ric Suggitt said.
The Eagles are in sixth place with 22 points halfway through the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series, ahead of Canada and two points behind South Africa and Russia, who are tied in fourth. With a Cup Final appearance at Houston Sevens against England, the Eagles gained a massive 18 points towards the standings. With one tournament remaining in the series, a repeat performance in Guangzhou this weekend could put them within striking distance of leaders New Zealand.
Suggitt’s team knows every game is crucial, no matter the opponent. The Eagles are in Pool C with China, who is tied for 13th in the standings with two points, and Fiji, who is making its first appearance of the Series in Guangzhou. In their last and only meeting so far this season, the Eagles defeated China 36-7 in the Bowl Semifinals in Dubai and eventually went on to win the Bowl.
The last match of pool play for the Eagles is against England, a rematch of the Cup Final from Houston. Suggitt knows his team is prepared for each team and will not take any lightly.
“The players have taken an in-depth look at who we are playing on day one and I am certain they have formulated a good plan of attack on how to play all three teams,” he said. “Like flying, the players must always expect the unexpected – keeping in mind the external influences like the weather, the ref, and, of course, any new wrinkles the opposition might throw our way.”
Since Houston Sevens during the first week of February and the Las Vegas Invitational the week after, the Women’s Eagles Sevens have been training at the Olympic Training Center in California non-stop. All of their work and preparations will be put to the test on Saturday in China.
“There is no panic and we are excited about getting on the field and playing,” Suggitt said.
USA Women’s Sevens | Guangzhou Women’s Sevens
Eagles Schedule | Guangzhou Women’s Sevens
vs. Fiji – 10:22 P.M. ET Friday, March 29
vs. China – 12:44 A.M. ET Saturday, March 30
vs. England – 3:04 A.M. ET Saturday, March 30