RUGBY: U.S. Women Defeat France, Fall to New Zealand in Cup Semifinals of 2009 Rugby World Cup Seven The U.S. Women's Sevens Team beat France 19-0 in the Cup Quarterfinals, only to be stopped short in the semi's by New Zealand, falling to the Black Ferns 14-12.
The U.S. Women's Sevens Team beat France 19-0 in the Cup Quarterfinals, only to be stopped short in the semi's by New Zealand, falling to the Black Ferns 14-12 in the inaugural women's event at the 2009 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai, March 7-8.
“I don’t know one player out there who didn’t give it everything they had,” U.S. Women’s Coach Julie McCoy said following the loss. “I know the fans will be disappointed, but I’m not. We all did our best in preparation for this moment and it just goes to show that with hard work, dedication and support, we can be competitive.”
Saying the USA Women’s side was competitive during these last two days may be a bit of an understatement. The Eagles rolled through the first day’s pool play with a loss to England, but definitive wins against Russia and Japan, outscoring those two opponents 50-0.
The squad earned its way into the Cup Quarterfinals today and faced a tough French side first, reiterating they were ready to take on the best the world had to offer. The Eagles held France scoreless, playing seamless defense and at half the score was tied at 0.
“We made a couple tweaks to our defense after that first match against England,” U.S. scoring leader Jessica Watkins said. “As we got more confident, we got more comfortable playing together and vice versa.”
The U.S. Team also made a few tweaks to its offensive game during halftime and came out prepared to win the kicking game that France was using to gain the advantage. The tweaks worked and within the first minute Christy Ringgenberg was able to break away and touch one down. Her conversion missed, but the U.S. had the opening it needed. Watkins outpaced the French opposition to score the next two tries for the Americans and the whistle blew with the U.S. ahead, 19-0.
“One good kick deserves another,” McCoy said after the game. “Ringgenberg did a good job leading our adjustment and backing them off. We like to think of the team as a steering wheel and as long as we have all hands on the wheel, we can get where we want to be – in the finals.”
The first stop for the U.S., however was the semifinals where it met New Zealand. The U.S. had scrimmaged New Zealand earlier in the week and in fact hosted the New Zealand Maori women’s side in San Diego prior to leaving for the Rugby World Cup, so they knew a fair amount about the New Zealand players. But, within the first two minutes, the U.S. found itself down early after a try by Huriana Manuel put New Zealand up by seven.
The U.S. responded three minutes later, as Ringgenberg saw some space and dished to forward Amy Daniels who was able to touch it down for the try. Ringgenberg missed the conversion, however and the teams broke for half with the scoreboard at 7-5, New Zealand.