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USA Women 2nd at Hong Kong Sevens

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USA Women 2nd at Hong Kong Sevens

USA got by France in the semis. Mike Lee KLC Fotos for World Rugby.

The USA Women’s Sevens team took 2nd at the Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong SVNS Sunday, securing their second-straight podium finish after their Bronze Medal showing in LA.

Nineteen-year-old Kaylen Thomas made her SVNS debut, scoring a try in her third match appearance against Canada. Ilona Maher also scored her 60th career try, a critical one in the semifinal against France. And that was a critical win. Having blasted past Fiji in the quarterfinals, the Eagles needed, perhaps psychologically, to get by one of those top three teams—New Zealand, Australia, and France.

Tries from Maher, Alev Kelter, and Jaz Gray secured a fairly dominant 19-5 win.

“It was a tremendous weekend," said USA Head Coach Emilie Bydwell. "With so many positives but also some many things we can continue to improve on. We’ve been building throughout the season, focusing on the process and laying one brick at a time. We are really proud of the collective determination that the team showed particularly in our response against Fiji after our pool play loss to Canada and the way that we showed up and fought for everything against France. While we are disappointed with the way the final played out, we know that there is so much that we can take from that game as we build into both Singapore and Madrid. While this season will culminate both in Madrid and at the Olympics, we need to celebrate the moments along the way, and to be able to play in a final at such an iconic rugby sevens venue is a memory that I hope our players cherish for the rest of their careers."

Is the USA poised to win the final championship tournament in Madrid and Paris 2024? That might be a bit much, but they are taking forward steps. Consider, of course, that the final was almost all New Zealand—NZ 33 USA 7. 

USA Women finishes this season:

Dubai: 7th
Cape Town: 4th
Perth: 4th
Vancouver: 5th
LA: 3rd
Hong Kong: 2nd

SVNS Standings:

1. New Zealand 106 Pts
2. Australia 106
3. France 88
4. USA 82
5. Canada 72
6. Fiji 54
7. Ireland 54
8. Great Britain 33
9. Brazil 31
10. Japan 24
11. South Africa 19
12. Spain 15