Selections for the Women’s Eagles and the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 has been narrowed with the release of the Top 50 Camp roster. A trimmed pool of players is set to compete in Greeley, Colo., for a push to be named to the final, elite squad.
Hosted by the University of Northern Colorado, the Women’s Eagles Top 50 Camp will run May 24 to June 1 and be used to select 30 players who will play against England and Wales before the final 26 are named for the World Cup.
“The selections from this weekend are extremely important,” said Head Coach Pete Steinberg. “The group selected after this weekend will not only tour the U.K., but be the group that will represent us at the World Cup.”
During the nine-day event, the Women’s Eagles will have two scrimmages in addition to multiple practices for players to put themselves in contention for the final selection.
Anticipation of the emotion and intensity has the coaching staff eager of what is to come.
“This week is going to be intense for us,” said Steinberg on what he expects out of the camp. “I think the scrimmages are going to be heated and physical because, for some, it will be what determines them going to the World Cup versus staying home and not being selected.”
To add interest to the scrimmages, selections for the teams will put probables versus possibles. One team will be comprised of players who will most likely be selected to the World Cup roster, as the opponents will be made up of those on the cusp of making the roster.
After the initial scrimmage, rosters will be redesigned for the final contest.
“The thought behind the rosters is that we are looking for players to step up and play under pressure,” said Steinberg. “We want to put the players under pressure to perform, but see how players respond off the field to the selection process.”
With selections for the World Cup looming, the Women’s Eagles staff will be considering all factors when making the subsequent roster.
“All factors, both on and off the field, are being considered in this selection process,” Steinberg noted. “We want the best roster that can compete in Paris so we are looking at health, performance, attitude, relationships, communication, everything.”
Following the camp, the staff will convene to select a roster of 30. Fundraising will determine whether the full group can travel or if an abbreviated roster will make the trip to England and Wales. [Editor’s Note: We find this unacceptable, please share your thoughts via social media so we can all be heard. We’ve started the sharing here and here.]
“We will select the 30 and hopefully everyone can afford the travel,” said Steinberg of the team’s financial situation. “This is what I mean when I say that those that donate will have a drastic affect on how we perform at the World Cup. We may have players that won’t have played for months that could start for us in the World Cup.”
On the UK Tour, a match against Wales precedes two fixtures against England. Matches are scheduled for June 28, July 2 and 6, respectively.
Cross Keys RFC will host the Women’s Eagles in Pandy Park, Wales, for the match against Wales, while the subsequent contests against England will take place at the Surrey Sports Complex in Surrey, England.
A roster of 26 will be named for the Women’s Eagles World Cup lineup following the conclusion of the camp.
At the Top 50 Camp, the Women’s Eagles will be housed on the familiar campus of the University of Northern Colorado. The home of the Bears was also the site of the 2013 Nations Cup as well as the Women’s Eagles Top 60 camp, held in May of last year.
Last year’s Top 60 Camp followed a different schedule than what is slated to take place next week. A nine-day camp last year included three scrimmages, as this year’s events see only two matches. The change in schedule has been designed to put players into a World Cup-like timetable.
“We played the day after we arrived last year, which won’t happen at the World Cup,” said Steinberg of last year’s Top 60 Camp schedule. “It will be on the same cycle as the players face in the World Cup because that is something that we want to get adjusted to now.”
The Women’s Eagles will take to Paris in late July, prior to the opening match Aug. 1. USA takes on RBS Six Nations Champion Ireland for the first match in pool play.
Subsequent matches against Kazakhstan and New Zealand will take place Aug. 5 and 9, respectively.
Women’s Eagles | Top 50 Camp
Emily Van Gulik
Women’s Eagles | Coaching Staff
Peter Steinberg – Head Coach
Peter Baggetta – Defense Coach
John Coumbe-Lilley – Skills Coach
Luke Gross – Forwards Coach
Richard Walker – Backs Coach
Bill Le Clerc – Scrum Coach
Richard Ashfield – Kicking Coach
Farrah Douglas – Forwards Skills Coach
Johnathan Atkeison – Performance Analyst
Adam Russell – Player Performance
Paul Cater – Strength & Conditioning
Ian Jones – Assistant Strength & Conditioning
Amy Valenta – Medical
Katie Gloyer – Doctor
Roshna Wunderlich – Manager