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All-Time American List: Chris Harju

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All-Time American List: Chris Harju

The 1991 World Cup winners. We're pretty sure that'sChris Harju third from the left (sort of ... the shorter one standing) with her left arm raised.

Starting flyhalf for the USA team that won the 1991 Women's Rubgy World Cup, Harju was the table-setter for a dynamic and exciting USA backline.

Harju was the goalkicker and playmaker for the Eagles as they defeated England in the final, scoring seven of the USA's 19 points with a crucial first-half penalty that halved England's 6-0 lead, and then two conversions of the three tries the USA scored in the second half of that championship game.

That final was, in fact, her last game for the USA. At 33 and working as a critical care nurse, she had other things she needed to take care of. But the former Texas A&M Aggie, whose brother played rugby at A&M as well and so traveled in men;'s rugby circles as well as those of the women, was a great player before she was an Eagle. 

She continued to play, though, playing with the Rio Grande Surfers. and touring with Atlantis. On her playing for Atlantis, program founder Emil Signes remembered how wowed the fans with her goalkicking skill.

Before all that Harju toured with an unofficial USA team to Britain in 1985. The team was the Wiverns and their tour is discussed in more detail here. Harju was an established star even then and was a smooth-running flyhalf who could attack and defend as well as kick. 

She was capped "only" five times, but she managed to win a World Championship in that time.