The USA is bringing a different roster this weekend as well with 4 roster changes after Guangzhou 7s. Most notably, Katie Johnson make her return to the squad after last playing at the Rugby World Cup and Dubai 7s, while Jessica Javelet is mysteriously off roster once again. Both crossovers Elana and Alev make the Amsterdam 7s squad that faces New Zealand, Ireland and Spain in pool play.
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Four changes for Suggitt as Eagles head to Amsterdam
Dana Meschisi, Deven Owsiany, Rebekah Siebach and Shaina Turley, who were each at last month’s Guangzhou Women’s Sevens, will not travel with the team to Europe and will be replaced in the Eagles squad by Megan Bonny, Hannah Lockwood, Hannah Lopez, and Kathryn Johnson.
Bonny played in the three opening rounds of this year’s Series, the second season of the IRB’s top-flight international women’s sevens tournament, but suffered an injury in Brazil. The 15s-capped Eagle missed the trip to Guangzhou.
Lockwood and Lopez will be making their first appearances on the circuit, while Johnson returns to the fold after having not played for the Eagles since Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens in November.
“I am happy for Hannah, K.J., and Megan” Suggitt said. “They have trained well all year at the Residency program and they will now get an opportunity to showcase their abilities. All three are exciting and can run.
“Hannah has worked extremely hard the past year to earn this spot. She will be joining us from New Zealand and we look forward to her arrival in Amsterdam.”
The newest additions at the Olympic Training Center, Alev Kelter and recently-wed Elana Meyers Taylor, keep their spots on the Eagles’ roster after an 11th-place finish in China. Kelter scored her first try in a 14-12 loss to France in pool play.
“Alev and Elana have now had a sample of what sevens rugby is like on the international stage,” Suggitt said. “We are still searching for them to find their footing and the flow of the game. I believe we will see more production out of them now that they know what to expect.”
Amelia Villines will again captain Suggitt’s team. The Stanford alumna served as captain in Guangzhou, where she led the 1-4 Eagles with 17 points.
“Amelia will be captain again as we close out the season,” the head coach said. “She did an excellent job preparing and leading the squad that went to China. As a first-time captain, she handled the losses and adversity with maturity and class.”
Suggitt is excited about his team’s speed with Lauren Doyle and Victoria Folayan, but knows the Eagles will have to do a better job at “creating space” for their teammates.
The Eagles currently occupy seventh in the Series standings with 26 points, 12 of which were earned with a Plate win at Atlanta 7s in February, the team’s best performance of the season.
“We know we will perform better this time around,” Suggitt said. “We have to.”
No. 1-ranked New Zealand, Spain, and Ireland are in Pool A with the Eagles. Kickoff for the first match against the Kiwis is Friday, May 16, at 7:04 A.M. ET. Watch Amsterdam Sevens live on the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series website and follow live match updates on Twitter with @USARugby.
Women's Eagles Sevens | Amsterdam Sevens
1. Kelly Griffin
2. Lorrie Clifford
3. Jillion Potter
4. Amelia Villines (C)
5. Hannah Lopez
6. Lauren Doyle
7. Victoria Folayan
8. Alev Kelter
9. Elana Meyers Taylor
10. Hannah Lockwood
11. Kathryn Johnson
12. Megan Bonny
Women's Eagles Sevens | Amsterdam Sevens
v New Zealand - Friday, May 16 - 7:04 A.M. ET
v Spain - Friday, May 16 - 10:10 A.M. ET
v Ireland - Friday, May 16 - 12:54 P.M. ET
Day: Women's Series set for thrilling climax
It has certainly been an exciting Series so far and while there have been a lot of surprises in matches along the way, there have been very few surprises when it comes to the tournament winners, with Australia and New Zealand between them sweeping the board.
Australia have undoubtedly made a much bigger impact this season, really giving New Zealand a run for their money, but that isn’t surprising given they now have a centralised programme.
You would have to put money on those two teams to get to the semi-finals in Amsterdam and you would probably bet on Canada to be up there too, but the fourth spot will come down to which of the chasing teams comes closest to their best form of the Series so far. Whichever of England, Russia, Spain and even the USA hits the best form will likely grab the last spot.
And of course with only two points between Australia and New Zealand at the top, it could come down to a single game between those two teams to decide who wins the Series. What a great climax that would be.
The way it is shaping up it should be a truly fantastic tournament in Amsterdam, particularly given the sides who join the core teams and Brazil in the tournament. Our hosts the Netherlands, France and South Africa have all shown that on their day they can compete with the top teams. We haven’t seen much of South Africa for a while so it will be good to see what they come up with and how much they have improved.
These sides will undoubtedly be inspired by what Fiji achieved in reaching the Cup semi-finals at the last round in China; and I have to admit it is a shame that Fiji aren’t in Amsterdam because it would have been great to see if they could build on the success that they achieved in the last round.
I’m sure Canada will be looking to finish the Series with a bang. They played their part in what was one of the truly epic games of women’s Sevens in the Amsterdam final last year. The Canadians haven’t quite been able to reach the same heights they reached last year and a repeat of their performance in that final would give Jen Kish’s team the chance to remind the world that they are contenders.
We saw the Canadian men’s team reach a first ever Cup final in Glasgow recently and I’m sure their female counterparts will have been inspired by that. It shows how Sevens is growing in Canada and that Sevens really is a sport in which anything is possible.
VIDEO: RELIVE THE 2012/13 SERIES FINALE IN AMSTERDAM
Both of the teams involved in the title race though have some significant players back for Amsterdam. I’m thinking particularly of Kelly Brazier for New Zealand and Ellia Green for Australia.
I saw that Tim Walsh said that Green has the X-factor and she absolutely has. Give her the ball in space and she is very, very hard to stop. She also always plays with a big smile on her face and in the right spirit, which is something young players out there should aspire to.
She is a top quality finisher while Kelly Brazier is a world-class Sevens playmaker and has the potential to bring an extra dimension to New Zealand’s play. She has a great step off both feet, good hands and great vision and I think playing her in combination with Huriana Manuel gives the Kiwis a combination of excellence and experience in those pivotal play-making roles that probably no other team can match just at the moment.
On the subject of returning players, the USA coach Ric Suggitt will be disappointed that he doesn’t have the find of the season, Jessica Javelet, back for this tournament. The USA has had a pretty disappointing season and, when they have performed well, Javelet has generally been at the heart of their successes.
It is probably fair to say that Suggitt has sacrificed success this season in order to blood a lot of new players, planning for the future. That said, he would still have wanted a bit more of the positive momentum that success at tournaments gives you.
It may be that he will look back and think that he got the balance slightly wrong and sacrificed success a little too much. After all, New Zealand have also blooded a lot of new players this season and yet they have been winning tournaments. And there is nothing like winning tournaments to keep players inspired, motivated and happy…
The big question, though, is who will be crowned Series champions? I can’t wait to find out and hope we’re treated to another exciting weekend of Sevens action in Amsterdam to bring the curtain down on what has been a fantastic season.
The IRB Women’s Sevens World Series finale will be streamed live from Amsterdam on 16-17 May on wsws.irb.com. Follow us on Twitter @irbwomens.