ATLANTA, Ga. – The International Rugby Board has announced the pool draw for the third leg of the five-leg 2013-14 IRB Women’s Sevens World Series – Sao Paulo Sevens – set for the host nation of the 2016 Olympic Summer Games Feb. 21-22.
The Women’s Eagles Sevens, winners of the Plate at Atlanta 7s last weekend, were drawn into Pool A with Atlanta 7s Cup champion New Zealand, England and Ireland. The Eagles defeated England, 19-5, in the Plate Semifinal Sunday and last faced Ireland in pool play at Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens in November, a 12-12 draw.
The Eagles could not buy a try in the first two matches at Atlanta 7s against Canada and Australia but opened the floodgates in a 41-0 win against China. In that final pool match, Victoria Folayan scored three tries and Jessica Javelet, a recent addition to the Eagles at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., scored her first two career tries.
Javelet impressed throughout the remainder of the tournament on both sides of possession as the Eagles defeated England and Spain on the way to winning the Plate. The former field hockey player at Louisville scored a try in the 26-12 loss to Canada in the Cup Quarterfinal, recorded a ‘hat trick’ in the defeat of England in the Plate Semifinal and scored one in the Final. She also provided coverage defensively as a sweeper, chasing down some of the world’s fastest women’s rugby players to help the Eagles keep the opposition to 31 points scored in three matches Sunday.
All told, Javelet’s record of seven tries was good enough for second-most on the tournament tries list – tied with England’s Natasha Brennan and one behind Baizat Khamidova of Russia. The three top try-scorers also held the same positions in the Atlanta 7s player points standings.
Though Javelet’s individual performance was remarkable considering she only just crossed over to the sport in recent months, Eagles Head Coach Ric Suggitt was quick to point to the nature of rugby being a team sport before heaping praise on one player.
“We can’t get carried away with one player, that’s the thing,” he said. “We keep talking about it as a team – it’s one unit. They have to rely on each other. Jessica can’t score the tries unless we win the ball, unless we make the tackles and turn the ball over. She does her fair share of that, too, but it’s one to twelve.”
In the Plate Final against Spain, the Eagles scored in the fourth minute and were up 22-0 with the final whistle having gone. The decision was made to kick the ball into touch to end the match, but Suggitt would have rather had his team score once more.
“At the end [of the Final], I wish Lauren would have run it and put one more in,” he said. “Psychologically, you want to get into their heads and say, ‘We’ll run from anywhere at any time.’ That’s something we’ll talk about. With that big of a lead, let’s put the hammer to them. If it’s a 7-5 game, year, kick the ball out of bounds. But with a lead like that, keep jammin’ it down their throat. Let them know why we’re here.”
The Eagles will miss out on playing Canada in Pool A in Brazil after taking on the neighbors twice in Atlanta. The first match of the tournament for the home side went the way of the visitors, as Canada scored five tries in a 31-0 shutout win. Suggitt’s team played better against its rival in the Cup Quarterfinal and was only down 14-12 at the half before eventually losing 26-12.
“We didn’t have a good day [Saturday], as everyone knows,” Suggitt said of the Eagles’ 1-0-2 record in pool play in Atlanta. “They showed good character to come back and play some really good rugby on day two. We had a good first half against Canada, and we played two full, good games against England and Spain, who are tough teams and play a lot of sevens.”
Suggitt said he was “happy with the way they performed and how much they learned over one day” in Atlanta, but the team’s recent results against Canada was beginning to “cut too deep” for the native Canadian.
At the inaugural, U.S.-held Women’s Sevens World Series event in Houston last year, the Eagles went all the way to the Cup Final with wins against the likes of Canada, Russia and Australia. A runner-up finish was all the Eagles would receive, however, as England proved too much for the home team.
In a rematch of the 2013 Cup Final, the Eagles dominated England in their Plate Semifinal win. With a disastrous day one under their belts and a strong showing against Canada to lead off day two, the Eagles found their stride in the marquee match-up. Suggitt deflected any acclaim to his team for the bounce-back performance.
“It’s all about them,” he said. “We train so frequently down at the OTC, as you know. They put in all the hard work and I try not to interfere with their enjoyment while they’re playing. They seemed to enjoy themselves [Sunday]. I think there was a little bit of apprehension [Saturday] and the novelty of it all; a lot of new faces playing, big hits.”
The Plate resulted in 12 points for the Eagles in the Series standings, where they now sit joint-fifth with England and Spain behind New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Russia. With another win against England this weekend in Brazil, the Eagles could move even higher with two remaining stops to follow in China and the Netherlands.
Irene Gardner sustained an injury in Atlanta and will be replaced by Lorrie Clifford in Sao Paolo, where the Eagles are set to kick off at 12:52 P.M. ET against England. Watch live from Brazil on the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series website.
Sao Paulo Sevens | Pool A
Sao Paulo Sevens | Pool B
Sao Paulo Sevens | Pool C
Women's Eagles Sevens | Sao Paulo Sevens Pool A Schedule
v England - Friday, Feb. 21 - 12:52 P.M. ET
v New Zealand - Friday, Feb. 21 - 3:14 P.M. ET
v Ireland - Friday, Feb. 21 - 5:58 P.M. ET
Women's Eagles Sevens | Sao Paulo Sevens
1. Deven Owsiany
2. Kelly Griffin
3. Jillion Potter
4. Rebekah Siebach
5. Christy Ringgenberg
6. Lauren Doyle
7. Victoria Folayan
8. Amelia Villines
9. Lorrie Clifford
10. Dana Meschisi
11. Megan Bonny
12. Jessica Javelet