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The USA Women moved into the Sydney Sevens quarter final round with victories over England and Spain and a loss to Russia. The 2-1 record placed them second in the pool, won by Russia. which went 3-0 in the first round.
The opening game against Russia saw the Eagles up 5-0. But their opponents exploited defensive lapses and tied the match at five all. The Lady Bears moved the ball from side to side until openings were found, and their sprinter Mikhaltsova dashed through for two scores to move the tally to 19-10.
In the second game against England, the USA were down 14-5 with a minute left in the first half when Heavirland sped over for a try, and the Eagles were down 14-10. The second half witnessed the USA dominating the game with long runs from winger Tapper. A loose ruck produced a pop out ball to Kelter who scored and the USA led 15-14. The defense prevented England from advancing the ball, and, with time running out, Kelter bolted in for her second try. Conversion made (the first) and a deserved victory 22-14 against the Red Roses.
The Eagles knew they had to beat Spain to move forward. The game was tied 5-5 at the half, but the USA generated three tries in the second half without letting Spain score. The second half tries came from Fa'avesi, Tapper, and Kelter. Final: USA 20-5.
In the quarter final round, the line up follows:
New Zealand vs. France
Ireland vs. USA
Australia vs. Fiji
Russia vs. Canada
For the much-improved USA, the team showed grit coming from behind against England.