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Having slogged through the thunderstorms then the heat and altitude in Greeley, Colo. to beat both South Africa and Canada, the USA women’s 15s team has very little rest before taking on England on Wednesday.
At least England has the short turnaround, too.
“We’re pretty excited about the win,” said prop Hope Rogers. “We felt we needed to put Canada under pressure. We had a game plan, and it didn’t matter that we had to wait a day [because the games were postponed from Saturday]. In the morning we got up and prepared the way we were supposed to. Everyone did her job.”
Among those jobs was, for the first time in a while, to take the game to Canada. The USA forwards challenged the Canadian defense repeatedly, and that set up the Eagles for five tries.
“The plan was to keep going at them,” said Rogers. “We had a good, physical starting lineup. It was tough, and very hot, but we came out of it, I think, showing that the USA is one of the more physical teams out there.”
The forward effort was nowhere more evident than in the first try of the second half, which made it 17-5 for the USA. The Eagles thundered down the field using one-off passes to forwards attacking the interior channels, and then pick-and-goes that eventually put Sarah Chobot over for the try.
“It got the momentum going in our favor,” said Rogers. “We went into that half knowing we were going to run at them.”
This manner of victory was crucial, as the Eagles have struggled to match the physicality of teams such as England and France before.