The USA Women 7s team has been relegated to the Plate competition at the Dubai 7s, having dropped a 36-0 Cup quarterfinal to Russia this morning. The Eagles will play England at 6:48 a.m. EST in the semifinals.
As the USA has been wont to do, the Eagles got down early when Baizat Khamidova dotted down 1:20 minutes into the game, and Nadezda Yarmotskaya hit the first of her three conversions. Yarmotskaya pushed the lead out to 14-0 in the fourth minute, accounting for both try and conversion, and Rusiet Edidzhi’s score ended the first half, 19-0.
Khamidova quickly dampened hopes of a USA comeback, scoring her fourth try of the tournament 1:26 minutes in, 24-0. Russia sent Ekaterina Kazakova and Marina Petrova over the line before the game’s end, banking a convincing victory in advance of its Cup semifinal against Australia.
Hurting the USA was the absence of Vix Folayan, who was suspended for two games after being found guilty for tripping in the Fiji game yesterday. The ramifications were drastic: First, Folayan ended up poaching the ball after tripping the Fijian player and scored the game-winning try, denying Fiji a trip to the Cup competition. Second, Folayan is the team’s most dynamic player, and even if she never gets her hands on the ball, she is irreplaceable on defense, both in speed and physicality.
The USA missed Folayan’s experience and talent, and will go without her influence in the next round as well. If the Eagles make it past England (which blew a 12-0 halftime lead over Australia to lose 19-12 during their Cup quarterfinal) in the Plate semifinals, then Folayan can rejoin the field in the Plate championship.
USA starting roster: Jill Potter, Kelly Griffin, Deven Owsiany, Lauren Doyle, Lorrie Clifford, Dana Meschisi, Rebekah Siebach
Tries: Khamidova 2, Yarmotskaya, Edidzhi, Petrova, Kazakova
Convs: Yarmotskaya 3