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USA WOMEN

It is four-years since the last Women’s Rugby World Cup when the Eagles finished fifth out of twelve teams, beating Canada 23-20 for the spot. Since that WRWC, the USA has a 6-12 record in test matches, and a 1-3 tally in 2014 to prep for the event that begins August 1.

In the 2010 pool were Ireland and Kazakhstan, which will repeat also in this year’s pool. (The Black Ferns are the fourth XV.) In the first round in 2010, the Eagles beat Kazakhstan 51-0, and lost 22-12 to Ireland, finishing 1-2, the other loss was to second place runner up England. But in the playoff round, the USA scored an impressive win over Ireland 40-3, playing them for the second time in the tournament.

Will history repeat in 2014? They key game for the Eagles is tomorrow’s contest against Ireland. A win would guarantee at minimum a 2-1 record, and a chance to make the semi-finals. As indicated, bonus points will determine the semi-final seeding, and, more importantly, who advances into that fourth slot. A loss to the Irish would practically eliminate the Eagles’ chances of making the semi-finals, presumptive favorite New Zealand difficult to beat.

Since 2010, the Irish have significantly improved, surprisingly winning the 2013 Six Nations Championship with a Grand Slam. Ireland finished third in 2014’s Six Nations event behind winner France, and second place England.

And, the Irish coach is retiring after the World Cup, a motivating factor for the team.

Can these Eagles rise to peak form? We wish them well in the difficult task ahead.

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