from USA Rugby:
BOULDER, Colo. — Less than a year remains until the Women’s Eagles take to the field in Paris at the 2014 IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup. To focus the efforts of the team’s coaching staff until that time, Pete Steinberg has named a 55-player pool.
The pool will serve in creating the Women’s Eagles World Cup roster.
“We’ve established these players in prior camps and games over the past few years as potentially being contributors for us in the World Cup,” Steinberg said. “These are athletes who we believe have the ability to be World Cup-ready in 300 days.”
However, the pool still has potential to grow with an open-Eagle Training Center (ETC) camp tentatively scheduled for December.
“Despite us naming this core group, we still want to give a chance to those ‘on-the-cusp’ players, to show us how they have improved since the last round of ETC [camps],” noted Steinberg.
The option for those not previously identified to make the pool is there, as well.
“We are also looking for the athletes that haven’t put their hands up yet,” commented Steinberg. “We will always look for players that can create competition within the program.”
Naming the pool comes in order to give the coaching staff as much preparation time as possible. It also allows a greater interaction with the players that will most likely highlight the roster come August.
“We need to know what the players are capable of and how they perform under pressure,” said Steinberg. “We plan on providing players with all of the competition they need in order to be prepared for the World Cup. This also gives us a great deal of time to understand each player and know their tendencies and abilities.”
Tentative World Cup preparations include eight test matches along with six intra-squad scrimmages. The high-level competition is based on efforts to have the Women’s Eagles performing at top capacity from the opening match in pool play.
“With 12 teams in three pools of four at the World Cup, it will be critical for the team to start quickly and playing test matches is the only way to make sure we are prepared,” Steinberg said.
The Women’s Eagles automatically qualified for the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup having finished within the top six at the 2010 tournament.
In 2014, New Zealand, England, Australia, France, Canada, Ireland, Wales, Spain, Samoa, South Africa, and Kazakhstan – alongside the Women’s Eagles – will comprise the field set for Paris.
The Black Ferns will look to defend their crown for the fifth consecutive time.
At the same time, the Women’s Eagles will be trying to erase a 16-year dry spell of making it to the Final. The Eagles last played against New Zealand in the 1998 Final, falling 44-12.
Games for the 2014 World Cup are scheduled for August 1, 5, 9, 13, and 17, respectively. Each team will play five games.
Pools have yet to be drawn for the tournament.
Women’s Eagles | 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup | Player Pool
Helen Rose Miesner
Emily Van Gulik