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USA Women Shine on First Night at LA

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USA Women Shine on First Night at LA

Sam Sullivan makes a move. David Barpal photo.

The women's rounds for Friday night are wrapped up at the LA Sevens, with one major surprise.

Brazil put in an excellent defensive performance, keeping FIji from scoring until the final seconds. Before that, Bianca Silva scored on a pick-and-run at the end of the first half and they frustrated Fijiana after that.

With time almost up Thalita Da Silva Costa scampered through a gap and the Brazilians had a 12-5 upset win.

Australia dominated Ireland and France overpowered a tenacious Japan.

New Zealand controlled the game over South Africa and Canada held off Great Britain.

In the final game of the evening in the women's bracket, the USA took on Spain and won comfortably. 

Spain knocked on the kickoff, which wasn't a good way to start, and while two chances for Kristi Kirshe were held off (including Kirshe using her old soccer skills to try to toe the ball into in-goal), eventually the Eagles made them pay. Naya Tapper cut through the middle and when she was tackled, lofted a nice offload to Sarah Levy, who did the rest.

That proved the winning formula for the USA—offloads out of contact.

The USA got lucky with a couple of non-calls that could have been whistled as knock-ons but were allowed to go on, and Sam Sullivan unleashed a devastating inside-out move to go in from long range. A power run from Tapper and a snappy offload to Ilona Maher saw Maher charge through to make it 19-0 at halftime.

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More offloads out of contact set up the next try, this time Levy raced down the sideline and fought to stay in the field of play long enough to float the ball back to Maher for her second try.

Spain added a breakaway try. But the USA answered with a break from Spiff Sedrick and then a really nice sequence with Sullivan linking with Sedrick, who found Kristen Thomas in support to make it 40-5.

Yes, Spain is not at its strongest at the moment, but ultimately a USA team five years removed from playing a World Rugby 7s tournament on home soil wanted to make a statement, which they did.

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