2000-2009 Women’s Rugby Team and Players of the Decade from Rugbymag.com

from RUGBYMag.com Staff:

Phaidra Knight heads up the RUGBYMag.com USA women’s Team of the Decade. Knight was an All-World player as a prop, and reinvented her game to become one of the most feared players in the back row.

She played for the USA in 2000 and is still going strong in 2009 and is our Player of the Decade.

Following is our Team of the Decade, complete with subs:

1. Jamie Burke. Possibly the most physically imposing front row players in USA history.

2. Cynthia Gehrke. Easy to forget that Gehrke was nominated as IRB Player of the Year in 2001. She was very mobile a and multi-skilled.

Meredith Ottens
Meredith Ottens

3. Meredith Ottens. The gold standard of scrummagers. Not as big or quick as Burke, but was supremely tough, very strong, and knew the job she had to do.

4. Jen Crouse. A very classy and intelligent player with the skill and pace to play flanker.

5. Nancy Fitz. Enormously brave and dedicated lock forward.

6. Phaidra Knight. Our Player of the Decade. At her best she scared the living daylights out of teams. Serves as our prop replacement, as well.

7. Diane Schnapp. Every openside flanker since Schnapp hopes to be half as good as she was. Small for the position, and could play a good scrumhalf too, she was perhaps the USA’s best defensive player, ever.

8. Tina Nesberg. The Eagles have had lots of good No. 8s in the 200s – Erina Queen, Alex Williams, Blair Groefsema. Nesberg is the best combination of speed, power, game savvy and dedication.

9. Shari Dahlberg. Smooth and intelligent, Dahlberg is our pick in a position that struggled to find a superstar in this decade.

Jen Crouse
Jen Crouse

10. Heather Hale. Several good flyhalves patrolled the pitch for the Eagles. Hale was the most consistent and probably the best defender.

11. Ellie Karvoski. The USA was 4-1 at the 2006 World Cup, and she was a huge reason why.

12. Keenya Warner. Totally unselfish player.

13. Patty Jervey. One of the few holdovers from the great players of the 1990s. Lost a little pace and reclaimed her place as a center, and a great one. All-time leader for the USA with 38 tries in 40 appearances.

14. Laura Cabrera. Right wing is a tough one, because there are several who could have come here. Cabrera was the most consistent.

15. Ashley English. There’s really not been anyone else. Great attacking threat, although she has frustrated us at times, she still claims the spot.

Pam Kosanke
Pam Kosanke

16 Mari Wallace. Could have put Danielle Miller here. Wallace a little bigger.

17 Alex Williams. Tough luck for Williams to be the third lock and maybe the third No. 8. Great on-field presence.

18 Kristin Zdanczewicz. Still coming back from injury, but from 2006-2007 she was the USA’s most dynamic forward.

19 Erina Queen. Such a classy player. Could do it all and could have replaced Nesburg. Queen’s presence leaves out Becky Metzger, who played for the USA at flanker and center and would be great here.

20 Kim Magrini. Still has some work to do but she could be the greatest USA scrumhalf ever.

Ellie Karvoski
Ellie Karvoski

21 Pam Kosanke. Surprising speed, all-over skill in the backs. Can get points. She can play 10-15 without much of a problem.

22 Hedwig Aerts. Usually flyhalf or center, she perhaps gets hit by the USA’s revolving door at the halfback positions.

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