BOULDER, Colo. — Thirty players will convene in southern California for the Women’s Eagles’ upcoming tests against France. Head Coach Pete Steinberg has announced his roster to square off against the French in a three-match series.
The younger team will look to avenge two losses suffered to France during the Women’s Eagles’ European Tour last fall. France claimed both matches against the Eagles in Orleans (13-0) and Paris (27-3).
While 19 players listed on the current roster have prior experience against France from last November, Steinberg believes the newer players will be the key to success this time around.
“We have seven test matches this summer and with a year before the World Cup we want to see what some of the younger players can do,” he said.
Three players selected to the roster follow the pattern of youth, literally having left the Top 60 camp early in order to try out for the AIG Women’s Junior All-Americans. Meya Bizer, Anne Peterson and Hope Rogers all departed last week’s Top 60 camp in order to head to Chula Vista in an attempt to make the WJAA squad.
“Anne Peterson stood out as a very exciting talent at the Top 60 camp and we are hoping that she can continue that form in Los Angeles,” said Steinberg.
Bizer, however, brings much experience despite her age, having started both matches against France last fall.
All three WJAAs hopefuls come to the Eagles having claimed national championships for their respective colleges earlier in May. Bizer and Rogers won the Division I Championship with Penn State, while Peterson clinched the Division II title with Washington State.
Three other players also competed at the collegiate level this year. Megan Bonny played alongside Peterson at Washington State, Jessica Davis suited up for American International College and Erin Overcash led the way at the University of Colorado.
Sadie Anderson competed at Penn State in the fall before receiving her degree in May. Anderson was a resident at the Olympic Training Center during the spring.
Steinberg is also excited to have two Women’s Eagles Sevens residents join the roster in Anderson and Ryan Carlyle.
“Sadie has been part of the 15s program for two years and having her is a big boost for the series,” said Steinberg. “We are looking forward to seeing what Ryan can do and how she has developed down in Chula Vista.”
Anderson, much like Bizer, competed for the Eagles on its European Tour. Anderson slotted in at flyhalf while serving as a vice captain during matches.
Another player Steinberg is excited to have back on the roster following a long hiatus is Jocelyn Tseng. Last capped in 2007, the scrumhalf stepped back from rugby in order to pursue academic endeavors.
Steinberg mentioned having her back in the mix means “now scrumhalf is very competitive with three international scrumhalves on the squad.”
The captain for the Women’s Eagles European Tour, Jamie Burke, will look to add to her already-impressive cap collection. Burke is hoping to establish herself as the most-capped Women’s Eagle in program history following the games this summer.
Currently, Burke has 35 caps to her credit.
With such an expansive schedule for the coming months, Steinberg expects players to flourish from the contests.
“Players like Molly Kinsella have transformed their game in the last 12 months and, with 14 months to go, we need to start investing in the potential of the athletes,” he said.
The head coach also went on to say that, in preparing for the future, he just wants his team to have “more competition leading to the World Cup,” concluding that his players need to play as often as possible before competing for such an elite trophy.
The first two matches against the French will be held at Oxnard College (Calif.). The final contest, on June 14, will be held at The Home Depot Center in Carson (purchase tickets for the doubleheader here).
The final match of the series will take place prior to the Men’s Eagles’ Pacific Nations Cup match against Tonga. Universal Sports will be televising the Women’s Eagles contest. Airing times of the coverage have not been confirmed.
The first 2 matches will be broadcast on USARugby TV & the final match will be available on Universal Sports & DirecTV (Ch 625, part of their free preview weekend).
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