USA Women 2nd in Hamilton; 3rd in Standings

The USA women made a massive move towards securing an automatic berth in the 2024 Olympics with a second place finish in the Hamilton 7s.

Perhaps it was no surprise that the hosts New Zealand won it all, and were in sterling form in the final, taking the Eagles down 33-7, but the USA women had already leapt over significant hurdles.

Defensive Pressure, Nifty Passing See Eagle Women 3-0 in Hamilton

Quarterfinals

Against a Fiji team that has some significant offensive ability, the USA wisely worked to control possession. It took some time for the Eagles to get into scoring position, but that was OK as each phase put Fiji under pressure and, eventually, led to a yellow card for preventing a quick tap.

The USA took a scrum and Alena Olsen skated right before feeding Ilona Maher for the first points.

Maher was involved in the next try too, committing a couple of defenders before offloading, and Sam Sullivan did the simple but often effective thing, a simple catch and pass, freeing up Kristi Kirshe to zip around the edge.

Right off the restart the USA won the ball and sent it wide to Naya Tapper, and just like that it was 15-0. The only concern, really, was that with the tries scored out wide the USA’s fairly woeful conversion rate remained poor.

The second half was more of the same, with a quick pickup from Kirshe and an offload out of contact to Sullivan, who did the rest. Olsen converted for a 22-0 lead.

Fiji finally saw some possession and scored with about two minutes to go,

With the USA seeing the results, it’s difficult to argue that another player should be starting, but regardless it was good for fans to see Spiff Sedrick get on with 90 seconds left and make an impact, which she often does. In this case it was a simple pickup at the base of the ruck and acceleration between two defenders to go 55 meters. It was a good reminder of her vision and explosiveness.

USA 27 Fiji 7.

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