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In July and August 1997, the US Women mounted a 17-day trip to Australia and Fiji, achieving a 4-1 record with wins over the two national sides. The sole loss came against Queensland, the best Aussie women’s club fifteen, in a match where many of the Eagles’ first team were rested for the Test match against Australia that followed three-days later.
Joe Kelly coached the Eagles scrum, many of whom made their national team debut on the tour. Denise Hargreaves served as liaison manager for the successful Australian visit, which was hosted by the Australia Rugby Union.
The USA won their opening match with a 45-0 shutout of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) in Canberra. The Eagles scored five tries, with Captain Jen Crawford notching the first of her tour high seven scores.
Next up was New South Wales in Sydney where the USA also won handily 31-16. Crawford ran brilliantly for three tries. In Brisbane, Queensland rallied to lead 26-5 at half time and held on for a 31-10 victory against a young Eagle team.
They key game of the tour occurred in Brisbane as the USA played its toughest opponent, the Australian XV. The Eagles led 16-5 at the break off a long Crawford score up the middle. The score was close at 23-17 with nineteen-minutes remaining when again Crawford broke loose for a 35-meter try to make it 28-17. The Aussies rallied for seven more points and the whistle blew.
In Suva, Fiji, the Eagles met a Fijiana fifteen playing its first ever international match. The Eagles triumphed 24-19. Erina Queen at #7 scored twice in a contest where the USA freely substituted, employing 25-players.
Throughout the tour, Jos Bergmann excelled at fly half, Jen Crawford was voted MVP.