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USA Women's Competition at Sao Paulo 7s

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USA Women's Competition at Sao Paulo 7s

USA captain Kelly Griffin and team will get another shot at New Zealand in Brazil. (Ian Muir photo)

The USA Women 7s team has been in Brazil for four days now, acclimating to Sao Paulo’s humidity and training in intermittent rain, as the second leg of the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series looms ahead. The Sao Paulo 7s will kick off this Saturday, Feb. 7, and the USA will look to improve upon its 7th place finish in Dubai.

Pool play begins with New Zealand (9:06 a.m. ET), which won the Dubai 7s with a 19-17 win over Australia. Nine players from that championship team have returned, while veterans Selica Winiata and Kayla McAlister, and 24-year-old Kat Whata-Simpkins make it 12. The USA and New Zealand played each other in Dubai, and the Eagles impressed in the 24-19 loss. Only Amelia Villines and Lorrie Clifford are missing from the December tour, so the majority of the squad will be eager to guage its progress.

France has tightened ranks and rotated in 22-year-old Laurianne Lissar alone – an understandable move considering December’s squad nearly defeated Canada for third place in Dubai. It took Canada the entire match to surge to a 10-5 win (for reference, the USA played Canada in Dubai and lost 36-0).

The Eagles played France once in 2014 (14-12 loss in Guangzhou, China), but that game 10 months ago holds little weight today.

Saturday pool play ends with Spain (2:34 p.m. ET), which hasn’t made any changes to its Dubai roster. Spain is relying on a veteran team that averages 28 years old, and hopes to improve on its 11th place finish in December.

Pool A has a range of opponents for the USA: New Zealand is the standard; France has made a recent, concerted effort to improve its 7s game; and Spain is a team that the Americans tend to beat, but one that always challenges the Americans. The Eagles are working in Dana Meschisi for her first appearance on the '14-'15 series, while Kristen Thomas will make her World Rugby 7s debut.

USA Women 7s Schedule – Sao Paulo, Brazil
Saturday, Feb. 7: Pool Play
(all times in Eastern)
9:06 a.m. New Zealand
11:50 a.m. France
2:34 p.m. Spain

Sunday, Feb. 8: Knockouts
8 a.m. Cup Quarterfinals begin
9:28 a.m. Bowl Semifinals begin



Audrey Amiel Kelly Brazier María Casado Megan Bonny
Pauline Biscarat Gayle Broughton Alexandra Castillón Lauren Doyle
Camille Grassineau Sarah Goss Ángela Del Pan Joanne Fa'avesi
Lina Guerin Tyla Nathan-Wong Iera Echebarria Victoria Folayan
Elodie Guigliou Kayla McAlister* Laura Esbri Melissa Fowler
Fanny Horta Charlotte Scanlan Berta García Kelly Griffin
Shannon Izar Hazel Tubic Patricia García Jessica Javelet
Caroline Ladagnous Ruby Tui Elizabet Martinez Katie Johnson
Christelle Le Duff Jordon Webber Paula Medín Alev Kelter
Laurianne Lissar* Kat Whata-Simpkins* Barbara Pla Hannah Lopez
Marjorie Mayans Selica Winiata* Vanesa Rial Dana Meschisi*
Jennifer Troncy Portia Woodman Irene Schiavon Kristen Thomas*
avr age: 25.5 avr age: 23.5 avr age: 28 avr age: 24
* First appearance on '14-'15 World Rugby Women's Sevens Series