The USA Women 7s team can excite the crowds for sure, and they did so with a 17-5 victory over Australia during the Houston 7s Cup semifinals, and will play England for the title.
The game, however, didn’t start on a positive note, as Amy Turner took the deep kickoff around Kimber Rozier for a 50-meter break. But in an emblematic display of the Americans’ fortitude, the flyhalf got on her horse and finished the tackle that eluded her 50 meters ago.
The Eagles responded with a nice break of their own shortly afterward, turning over ball deep in their end and gaining ground through a Vanesha McGee weakside break. Before she was upended, the USA prop got the ball off and it worked to wing Lauren Doyle. She was on the verge of scoring before getting ankle-tapped.
About four minutes gone, the USA broke into the Aussies’ end and drew a penalty about 15 meters out. A simple hands-out moved to Vix Folayan (Paul Rudman photo, right) on the wing, and she had just enough pace – and arm length – to get past her defender for the dive-over try, 5-0.
Just before the half, Australia put a brilliant try, which began with a Shontelle Stowers breakaway. She and Tricia Brown worked the ball back and forth, as Doyle continued to pressure each pass, but in the end, it was too much for one person to cover, and the Aussies tied it up, 5-5.
The Americans wasted no time in breaking the tie, and took the kickoff in for a try. The ball worked from one touchline to the other, and although it appeared that McGee could have been called for shepherding, the ref threw up his arms in approval. The ball found Folayan again, and she pushed off Stowers en route to the corner, 10-5.
Play stayed in the Australians’ end for much of the fourth quarter, although possession is exchanged through knock-ons. After one near-try – which would have been Doyle’s fourth try if Marchino’s pass out of contact had a little more oomph on it – the Eagles made good on the favorable territory. From an Australian scrum inside their 22 meter, Marchino found herself in the perfect position (she nearly ate it) to intercept a pass out to wing. She quickly dished to Christy Ringgenberg in support and the sub finished off the cherry-pick with ease. Ringgenberg nailed the conversion for the 17-5 lead.
The last time the USA and England saw each other was the Amsterdam 7s quarterfinals, and the Eagles beat the Roses 12-7 then. The final kicks off at 8:16 p.m. CST.
Tries: Folayan 2, Ringgenberg