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Coach Suggitt’s squad opened the day with a strong performance against South Africa. South Africa broke the ice with the a try in the second minute of regulation. But shortly after, Vix Folayan answered with two tries and Lauren Doyle with one, giving the US a 21-5 halftime lead. Alev Kelter , Bui Baravilala and Nana Fa’avesi added a try a piece in the second half to finish the match with an emphatic 40-5 victory.
Russia proved to be much more competition for the Eagles in their second match of pool play. Within the first three minutes of the match, Russia dotted down the first converted try. For most of the remaining first half, both squads defended with much pressure. Eventually, the Eagles capitalized on a breach in the Russian defense and Doyle scored their first five points. Russia closed the half with a 7-5 lead. Continuing her streak, Doyle scored her second try of the match within the first minute of the second half, giving the Eagles a 10-7 lead. Russia answered with a converted try four minutes later to regain a 14-10 advantage, but impact sub Kristen Thomas was too fast to be stop. She scored what would be the final try of the match that was converted by Baravilala. This win guaranteed a Cup quarterfinal spot for the US.
The Eagles final pool match, arguably the game of the day, was versus tournament host Canada. Unlike their first meeting of the 2014-2015 season, it was a very close contest from start to finish. Canada was the first to score, applying offensive pressure with penetrating pace against the Eagles. However, the USA showed great resilience under significant pressure inside their own five meter line as Doyle opened up all gears for a 90 meter unconverted try. The contest continued between the North American rivals with Canada scoring in the final seconds of the first half to bring the score to 12-5 in their favor. The Eagles came out on fire in the second half when Kelly Griffin made a strong run and offloaded to Megan Bonny who scored in the corner, narrowing the gap 12-10. The US momentum continued, as they waged a strong offensive drive which set Doyle up for her second try and the Eagles’ first lead of the match, 15-12. With very little time remaining, Canada maintained possession as the Eagles missed key tackles that ultimately led to a Canadian try. Canada finished on top with a 19-15 victory.
The Eagles will face France in the Cup quarterfinals at 1:22 ET Sunday, April 19. All matches will be streamed live on the World Rugby website.