The Women’s Eagles were upset by South Africa on Tuesday in the final match of round robin play in the Women’s Nations Cup. The USA held the lead for much of the game, but a late-game burst by South Africa edged the Eagles out 26-23.
Both teams were searching for their first win of the tournament on Tuesday, and the Eagles struck first as Penn State flyhalf Sadie Anderson slotted a penalty to go up early. Minutes later, Anderson slotted another three-pointer to go up 6-0.
South Africa answered back moments later through a penalty of their own. USA lock Shaina Turley ignited a try-scoring move for the Women’s Eagles as she offloaded to her scrumhalf Carrie White. White to Anderson and Anderson to the wheels of Vanesha McGee, and just like that the USA took a ten point lead.
Two kicks that didn’t find touch opened the door for the South Africans in the first half who scored two counter attack tries to bring the scores level at halftime with 13 points apiece.
Kaelene Lundstrum got her team started right in the second half, running a South Africa kick back for a try that gave the USA a five point lead.
USA Head Coach Pete Steinberg brought some fresh legs and experience on in the form of scrumhalf Kim Magrini, Amy Daniels, Lynelle Kugler and Katie Dowty.
Magrini made an impact off the bench, breaking the line and moving the ball down the field and setting up a scrum in South Africa’s red zone. Dowty dotted down in the corner and 23-16 was the score.
The USA looked to control the clock and maintain the lead late in the game but South Africa got a crucial turnover and scored in the corner to make it a two point game once again.
South Africa scored once more in the right hand corner and that would prove to be the last score of a very back-and-forth, tight encounter.
USA Coach Steinberg noted South Africa’s risky tactics on attack worked and knows that this will be a valuable learning experience for his team.
"This was one of those crazy games that if you looked at the statistics, you'd think we played pretty well. We enjoyed a lot of possession we enjoyed a lot of territory, but South Africa took their chances. I think that this tournament has shown all of the teams are in a building phase. We will work on our technique and continue to improve going forward,” said Steinberg.
The Women’s Eagles will have a shot at redemption as they face South Africa again on August 13 at 2 p.m. ET in a battle for 3rd Place in the Nations Cup. Live updates for that game will be provided by @usaeaglesrugby on Twitter.
USA Women's Eagles
15 Samantha Pankey (James River)
14 Vanesha McGee (New York Rugby Club)
13 Rebecca Brafman (New York Rugby Club)
12 Sylvia Braaten (Twin City Amazons)
11 Kaelene Lundstrum (Twin City Amazons)
10 Sadie Anderson (Penn State)
9 Carrie White (Seattle Rugby)
1 Sarah Chobot (Minnesota Valkyries)
2 Lisa Butts (Nor Cal Triple Threat)
3 Libby Berg (Minnesota Valkyries)
4 Lauren Daly (At-Large)
5 Shaina Turley (San Diego Surfers)
6 Kittery Wagner (Beantown
7 Laura Miller (DC Furies)
8 Kate Daley (Chicago North Shore)
16 Devin Keller (Keystone)
17 Jamie Burke (Beantown)
18 Stacy Baker (Keystone)
19 Lynelle Kugler (Twin City Amazons)
20 Kim Magrini (Keystone)
21 Amy Daniels (Beantown)
22 Katie Dowty (Beantown)
Tries: McGee, Lundstrum, Dowty
Penalties: Anderson (2)
15 Yolanda Meiring
14 Gadu Phumeza
13 Ziyanda Tywalent
12 Daphne Scheepers
11 Lusanda Mtiya
10 Zandile Nojoko
9 Fundiswa Plaatjie
1 Nedene Botha
2 Pulane Motloung
3 Cebisa Kula
4 Dolly Mavumengwana
5 Nolusindiso Bodi
6 Nomathamsanqa, Faleni
7 Mandisa Williams (c)
8 Namhla Siyolo
16 Denita Wentzel
17 Laurian Johannes
18 Onicca Moaga
19 Nwabisa Nwabisa
20 Lamla Momoti
21 Janine Felix
22 Natasha Mofmeester
Tries: Scheepers, Cebise, Felix (2)
Conversions: Nojoko (2)
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