’91 USA Rugby Women’s Rugby World Cup Winners Honored

The 1991 USA Women’s National Team and staff that won the first-ever Women’s Rugby World Cup was honored at Atlanta 7s last week. April 14, 2016 was the 25th Anniversary of the first-ever WRWC and a celebration of all the participating teams.

The 1991 Women’s Rugby World Cup almost wasn’t as the tournament was not approved by the International Rugby Board (IRB), now World Rugby. Representatives of the IRB, WRFU and RFU attended the final but it was not until 2009 that the IRB officially endorsed the event as a “world cup”.

Twelve teams were brought together in Wales from April 4-16, 1991. The inaugural teams were Canada, England, France, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Soviet Union, Spain, Sweden, USA,  and Wales. The USA started their tournament against the Netherlands, where the Americans scraped by with a 7-0 win on a four-point Patty Jervey try and Andrea Morrell penalty. The USA team then dispatched the Soviet Union 46-0 in their second match.

A few days later at the semifinals, they faced New Zealand. Again, it was another low scoring affair, with the USA winning 7-0. Chris Harju slotted a penalty and Barbara Bond dotted down a pack try for the Americans.

England took a different path to get to the final, only allowing points from Italy and shutting out the rest of the competition. They faced Spain first and defeated them 19-0, next was Italy where they scored 25 points and allowed Italy to slot 9. Finally they blanked France 13-0 in the semifinals.

At the WRWC final, England took an early lead,scoring a penalty try from a well-worked five-metre scrum. Converted by Gill Burns, the English drew first blood to up by 6. The scored remained at England 6, USA 0 until right before half when Chris Harju converted a penalty. From here the accounts don’t differ much as the USA took over and didn’t look back, eventually winning 19-6.

1991 USA Women’s National Team

Head Coach, Kevin O’Brien
1991 USA Rugby Women’s Chair, Jami Jordan
1991 USA Rugby’s Referee to the WRWC, Laurel Lockett

Players
Ann Barford
Barbara Bond
Tam Breckenridge
Patty Connell
Jen Crawford
Mary Dixey
Colleen Fahey
Tara Flanagan
Annie Flavin
Kathy Flores
Barb Fugate
Claire Godwin
Chris Harju
Tracy Henderson
Jennifer Hertz
Elise Huffer
Sheri Hunt
Patty Jervey
Kris Kany
Cassie Law
Krista McFarren
Joan Morrissey
Sandy Meredith
Tracy Moens
Andrea Morrell
Candi Orsini
Jan Rutkowski
Cathy Seabaugh
Maryanne Sorensen
Mary Sullivan
Val Sullivan
Julie Thompson
Morgan Whitehead

 

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Then and now…

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Photo: Tam Breckenridge

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Photo: Britt Westesson

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USA lifts the cup

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Read even more about the 1991 Women’s Rugby World from Scrumqueens:

Remembering WRWC’91: The final and the legacy
Remembering WRWC ’91 – Gill Burns
Remembering WRWC ’91: The players
Remembering WRWC’91: The Press
Remembering WRWC ’91: The Soviet Union

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