The Lady Eagles certainly turned some heads this past weekend at the Atlanta 7’s tournament. The squad defeated powerhouses such as South Africa and Australia and moved up to fifth in the world rankings. The Eagles phenomenal finish proves that USA is quickly closing the gap between them and the top teams in the world.
The team went 2-1 in pool play beating South Africa and Russia but then suffered a blowout loss to New Zealand. The team advanced to the quarterfinals where they shocked the tournament and upset Australia 10-5. Following the quarterfinal, they met Russia once again and went on to defeat them 19-14. The stage was now set for the Eagles to take on New Zealand in the cup final and to avenge their only loss. Unfortunately, the very well skilled and experienced New Zealand side proved to be too much for the Eagles as they lost 50-12.
Despite two large losses to New Zealand, the Lady Eagles still showed phenomenal heart and determination throughout the tournament. They proved that they can compete with almost anybody.
What This Means for USA
This tournament was a HUGE statement for the development of rugby in the U.S. When the All Blacks came to play the Men’s Eagles in November, that was merely a stepping stone to get more people interested in rugby and to show we still have a long way to go. What the Women’s Eagles did this past weekend is proof that the development is starting to show progress and making the U.S. more of a powerhouse in international competition.
Closing The Gap
What gap is the U.S. trying to close for rugby? The gap of talent and skills between America and the powerhouse in the Southern Hemisphere such as South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia. With the defeating Australia and South Africa this past weekend, it proves the gap is closing but we are not quite there yet as they suffered huge losses to New Zealand. We are on the right track but still has quite a bit of work to do before we are an international powerhouse. With the right coaching and athletes, the sky is the limit for men’s and women’s rugby on the international level but we still have some ways to go.