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After falling to New Zealand 7-12 in the cup semi-finals, the USA Women’s 7s had the chance to play Canada in the bronze medal match of the Las Vegas 7s. This was a tough matchup for USA. This is the second tournament in a row in which these two sides finished with a match against each other—the teams last played in the Sydney cup final. They had gone head-to-head 14 times with Canada winning 12 of those.
Canada continued their dominance winning 31-7.
Canada dropped the opening kick, but the Eagles conceded a penalty at the first breakdown. A nice chip through by Ghilsaine Landry into the USA 22 would not quite sit up for Canada, which was a good break for USA. However, Canada still won a scrum feed, then a penalty, and then shifted the ball wide quickly and Landry went through a Kristen Thomas tackle and over the line. Landry converted her own try to put Canada up 7-0.
The Eagles struggled to control the next restart cleanly which left them attacking from inside their own 22. They managed to run the ball out close to the 10 meter line before a knock on gave Canada another scrum feed. Landry scooped the ball from the scrum and zipped past Kelsi Stockert and in for her second try. The conversion was again successful to make it 14-0.
Alev Kelter claimed the following restart cleanly, and a Thomas break from the base of scrum not only moved the ball out of the USA half, but also into the try zone. Kelter converted to make it 14-7.
Kelter kicked the restart deep, and the tactic worked—not for the first time today—as the Eagles had a scrum inside 30 meters. However, Canada stole the scrum and Natasha Watcham-Roy made a clean line break and made the Canada lead 14 once again.
The half time score was 21-7.
To start the second half, it was Canada kicking deep. A high tackle call helped USA work the ball into the Canada half before being tackled into touch. Canada looked dangerous from the lineout, but ultimately gave up possession with a breakdown penalty. That favor was retuned as USA was then also pinged at the breakdown following a nice run.
Canada had to work hard for their next try, but eventually the USA defense was stretched too thin and Brittany Benn outpaced Kelter to the corner of the try zone to bring the score to 26-7.
Moments later, valuable would-be comeback time was lost setting and resetting a scrum. That lost time ended up not mattering as Megan Lukan won the turnover for Canada after the scrum and Hannah Darling scored out wide. The match ended as the ball dribbled into touch from the following restart.
The final score was 31-7, and Canada seized third place. The USA team ended the night by walking around the edge of the field thanking fans. The next stop for the Women is Kitakyushu in April.
USA Starters: Samantha Pankey, Joanne Faavesi, Kristen Thomas, Ryan Carlyle, Leyla Alev Kelter, Naya Tapper, Kelsi Stockert
Reserves: Kelly Griffin, Katharine Zackary, Nicole Heavirland, Bulou Mataitoga, Nikki Snyder
Canada Starters: Caroline Crossley, Jennifer Kish, Bianca Farella, Brittany Benn, Kayla Moleschi, Ghislaine Landry, Natasha Watcham-Roy
Reserves: Sara Kaljuvee, Breanne Nicholas, Charity Williams, Hannah Darling, Megan Lukan