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The Eagles kicked off the New Year with a key focus on gaining more game experience, hosting Canada and Ireland last week. Over the course of two days (Sunday, January 11 and Tuesday, January 13), each country showcased two teams that played four 14-minute matches on Sunday and two 20-minute matches on Tuesday.
“We really needed to scrimmage, “ noted USA Assistant Coach Richie Walker. “There were several positives from these games that included having some of our players returning to play from injury and being able to assess their progress in a very competitive yet friendly environment. It was also good to see how the new talent we recently brought in measured up internationally.”
Although the US made a very strong showing on both days, performing particularly well considering the very wet and rainy conditions on Sunday, Canada was the most dominate of the three teams. Walker added “Canada are obviously very well drilled and in good form. They are certainly moving along very well. We did get a bit of an eye opener when playing them. They are great rivals for us. “
The US put in new combinations of players and identified several areas that required attention to detail. He continued, “Although on the one hand it seems as though we have several things to improve upon, it simply boils down to execution of the fundamentals. That is our primary focus for 2015. We will continue to refine these skills and improve in the process.” Walker stressed the importance of positivity to the successful development of the team. “As each individual focuses on improving her own skillset and positivity, the team will collectively get better. Concentration on doing the hard word on defense and in the ruck area will make us a stronger contender no matter who we rival.”
Ireland had a strong presence during the scrimmages as well, showcasing a great deal of young talent.
Sao Paulo, Brazil is the second stop of the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series February 7-8. The USA will face New Zealand, France and Spain on day one of the event.