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USA Women Select Roster to Face Mighty New Zealand

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USA Women Select Roster to Face Mighty New Zealand

Photo Sandras Sports Shots.

Hamilton, NZ (USA Rugby Release)—The 2024 Pacific Four Series continues in Hamilton, New Zealand, where the USA Women’s Eagles take on New Zealand. USA v New Zealand kicks off Friday, May 10, at 10:05 pm ET, live on Peacock.

Rachel Johnson captains the squad this week as Kate Zackary continues to recover from injury. Head Coach Sione Fukofuka made a few changes to this week’s playing roster following their loss to Canada two weeks ago. Hallie Taufoou and Erica Jarrell switch jersey numbers, taking #4 and #5, respectively, while Freda Tafuna is named a starting flanker. Gabby Cantorna moves in to flyhalf while McKenzie Hawkins recovers from injury, and Eti Haungatau is named inside center. Lotte Clapp comes in as left wing, having reconvened with the squad last week.

The Eagles last played New Zealand in Ottawa during the 2023 Pacific Four Series. Despite a 39-17 loss, a 14-5 lead for the USA in the first half of the match showed their connection and confidence against the second top ranking team in the world. With some corrections made in the last few weeks and extra training time after the Canada match, the USA are ready to take on the challenge in Hamilton.

The 2024 Pacific Four Series is the USA’s first stop on the road to 2025 World Cup qualification. The winner of PAC4 will earn a spot at the World Cup, and the top-six ranked non-qualified teams out of WXV will earn qualification. The top three teams from the Pacific Four Series will head to WXV 1 in Ottawa, while the fourth-ranked team will head to WXV 2 in South Africa.

“Every test match is an opportunity to compete for positions and our preparation in Hamilton has allowed a few players to earn an opportunity against the Black Ferns," said Head Coach Sione Fukofuka. "With McKenzie Hawkins injured, Gabby Cantorna takes the game driver position with the confidence of her experience, with Eti Haungatau coming in at 12 to provide a strong, confident presence in the midfield. Eti has been working hard on her game conditioning and brings a level of physicality we feel will provide real momentum in our first phase strike. Freda Tafuna is eligible and adds impact to our pack with her power and skill, while Lotte Clapp comes in after joining the squad fresh off her Saracens success, and adds experience to our back three.

"We have had a good preparation for this test with the extra time in Hamilton, including a scrimmage against the Chiefs Manawa, which has allowed us to hone in on our attack break down, tackle tech, and backfield positional play that were areas we didn’t execute to our standards against Canada. Our set piece continues to improve and gains confidence each week as the team continues to work hard at striving for those gold standards. This week presents an opportunity to express ourselves as a team with no external pressure or expectation, however we continue to push to play a fast, physical game that is in the team DNA.”

USA Roster to Face New Zealand | 2024 Pacific Four Series
Name Club Test Caps
1. Hope Rogers Exeter Chiefs 45
2. Kathryn Treder Loughborough Lightning 18
3. Charli Jacoby Queensland Reds 26
4. Hallie Taufoou Loughborough Lightning 15
5. Erica Jarrell Sale Sharks 7
6. Freda Tafuna Lindenwood University 6
7. Georgie Perris-Redding Sale Sharks 12
8. Rachel Johnson (C) Exeter Chiefs 27
9. Olivia Ortiz Exeter Chiefs 18
10. Gabby Cantorna Exeter Chiefs 26
11. Lotte Clapp Saracens 14
12. Eti Haungatau Sale Sharks 13
13. Bulou Mataitoga Loughborough Lightning 15
14. Emily Henrich Unattached 14
15. Tess Feury Leicester Tigers 24
16. Paige Stathopoulos Beantown RFC 6
17. Alivia Leatherman Notre Dame College 1
18. Catie Benson Sale Sharks 42
19. Jenny Kronish Beantown RFC 14
20. Tahlia Brody Loughborough Lightning 9
21. Taina Tukuafu Lindenwood University 7
22. Atumata Hingano USA Sevens 3
23. Autumn Czaplicki USA Sevens 4