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The USA women’s 7s team gets on an airplane soon for a 15-hour flight to Dubai. There they will start a 2011-2012 season that has few guarantees, but plenty of possibilities.
Ahead in the season the Eagles are expected to play in Las Vegas, and maybe further on. But right now, they are focused on playing in the first IRB-sanctioned international women’s 7s event outside of the World Cup.
Head Coach Ric Suggitt said focus is the word, as he comes out of camp extremely pleased with the approach of his players.
“The girls have shown extremely well,” Suggitt said. “They have worked really hard – as hard as any team I’ve coached – and they’re well prepared.”
High praise from a coach who handled several Canadian national teams, several of which won games thanks to a pile of determination.
Suggitt said he’s been pleased with the mix of veterans and youngsters, but added you wouldn’t know who was who from their play.
“Amy Daniels and Pam Kosanke and Beth Black practice like they’re 19 years old,” said the coach. “They are fresh and enthusiastic and they’ve got the wisdom we really need. The younger players have been full of enthusiasm. After our 9th training session they were tired, but they did not stop. And just as important, they finished the session with big smiles on their faces.”
Suggitt likes the chemistry of his squad, and also the versatility. Several players can cover varied positions. Kosanke, a veteran of two 15s World Cups and a 7s World Cup, will play in the forwards, but can slot in at first receive any time. Daniels is the same.
They’ve got some pace, too. Deven Owsiany is an outside center in 15s, but will play hooker on this team. Rebekah Siebach has plenty of pace outside, while Kaelene Lundstrum is another player strong enough to play as a prop, and fast enough to be a wing.
Suggitt will work with Irene Gardner and Katie Dowty at scrumhalf, with Black and Kimber Rozier working at flyhalf.
Those will be critical positions where one player might want to take control. They will be the link between the savvy forwards and some backs with pace. And Suggitt expects that the hard work and chemistry in the team will return the USA to the upper echelon of international women’s 7s.