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Women's 7s at Pan Am - Photo: Courtesy Ric Suggitt

The Eagles Women’s 7s Coach Reflects on Pan-Am

At last week’s Pan-Am Games the USA Rugby Women’s 7s National Team took home the silver medal at the Toronto-based games. The Eagles faced a tough loss against the Canadians in the final round, behind 24-0 at halftime. By the end the United States had come back with 12 points, but still lost by 22 points. Eagles Coach, Ric Suggitt, spoke with Rugby Today, sharing his thoughts on the team’s upcoming break and future preparations

Q. Did the Pan Am Games meet your expectations or did you have any surprises? The Games and the set up were very good.  The staff at the games and at the [United States Olympic Committee] did an excellent job in looking after our team.

Q. Did you expect the Canadians to be such tough competitors? Yeah the Canucks are tough, they are the number two team in the world right now and they played out of this universe in that game. We had a good start and scored first, anything after that we were caught watching and chasing the game. 

Going forward do you have any ideas for how to strengthen your defense against the team? Defense is always the key to success. You have to love to tackle and in that game we did not demonstrate that love. Now do not get me wrong we had a couple of players that stepped up and played out of their skins but two out 12 is not good enough. The girls are on a break right now but when we return we will get back to basics with the tackling and the ruck area. We need grow some confidence in the physical components of the game and we have time to fix it.

Q. So the next team event will be the Rugby Women's Sevens Series correct? Yes the next major event is the WSWS. We are still attempting to get some tournaments in between but they have not been finalized.

Q. When is the next time you guys will all get back together preparing? We have 12 players at the training center right now that are still training and preparing to battle for positions when the contracted players get back from holiday. Most of our contracted players have four weeks off to recovery and get ready for the grind.

Q. Do you personally have anything fun planned in the off time that you have coming up? Clara personally as I spoke with Nigel [Melville, the CEO of USA Rugby] last week, this is a “workcation” It is a great job and we have a great staff around us. The players put in an honest effort for the most part and that is all we really ask, show up and perform.

What do you do to relax? You might laugh at this but…Well we have three kids and that offers a great balance to being at the [Olympic Training Center] During the days. It is relaxing to hang out watching them do their thing and that is refreshing. I will take some days off in the fall but I feel it is important to make certain that the 12 players that are with us get quality time with Richie Walker, [our assistant coach,] and myself.

The men's and women's 7s teams will now take a much deserved break after a very long season. The men will commence with the HSBC Sevens World Series in December following the World Cup. The WSWS dates have not yet been announced.