Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Stars Rugby 7s Baseball Hat Fundraiser

Our Calgary Stampede 7s tour is only 5 weeks away! To help with travel costs, players are selling Stars Rugby 7s baseball caps with our new logo. $20 for these navy hats with red Stars logo that come in either size S/M or M/L. Contact Liz for more details.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

An Amsterdam 7s Preview

The Women's Sevens World Series comes to a close this weekend in Amsterdam with all signs pointing to a thrilling semifinals/finals round. New Zealand and Australia are separated by only 2 points atop the standings with Canada lurking 10 points back. Both the Silver Ferns and Wallaroos return veteran playmakers to their rosters.

 The USA is bringing a different roster this weekend as well with 4 roster changes after Guangzhou 7s. Most notably, Katie Johnson make her return to the squad after last playing at the Rugby World Cup and Dubai 7s, while Jessica Javelet is mysteriously off roster once again. Both crossovers Elana and Alev make the Amsterdam 7s squad that faces New Zealand, Ireland and Spain in pool play.

Here's more from USA Rugby and the iRB:

Four changes for Suggitt as Eagles head to Amsterdam

Four changes for Suggitt as Eagles head to Amsterdam
CHULA VISTA, Calif. – The travel roster for Ric Suggitt’s Women’s Eagles Sevens has been announced for Amsterdam Sevens, the final round of the 2013-14 IRB Women’s Sevens World Series.

Dana Meschisi, Deven Owsiany, Rebekah Siebach and Shaina Turley, who were each at last month’s Guangzhou Women’s Sevens, will not travel with the team to Europe and will be replaced in the Eagles squad by Megan Bonny, Hannah Lockwood, Hannah Lopez, and Kathryn Johnson.

Bonny played in the three opening rounds of this year’s Series, the second season of the IRB’s top-flight international women’s sevens tournament, but suffered an injury in Brazil. The 15s-capped Eagle missed the trip to Guangzhou.

Lockwood and Lopez will be making their first appearances on the circuit, while Johnson returns to the fold after having not played for the Eagles since Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens in November.

“I am happy for Hannah, K.J., and Megan” Suggitt said. “They have trained well all year at the Residency program and they will now get an opportunity to showcase their abilities. All three are exciting and can run.
“Hannah has worked extremely hard the past year to earn this spot. She will be joining us from New Zealand and we look forward to her arrival in Amsterdam.”

The newest additions at the Olympic Training Center, Alev Kelter and recently-wed Elana Meyers Taylor, keep their spots on the Eagles’ roster after an 11th-place finish in China. Kelter scored her first try in a 14-12 loss to France in pool play.

“Alev and Elana have now had a sample of what sevens rugby is like on the international stage,” Suggitt said. “We are still searching for them to find their footing and the flow of the game. I believe we will see more production out of them now that they know what to expect.”

Amelia Villines will again captain Suggitt’s team. The Stanford alumna served as captain in Guangzhou, where she led the 1-4 Eagles with 17 points.

“Amelia will be captain again as we close out the season,” the head coach said. “She did an excellent job preparing and leading the squad that went to China. As a first-time captain, she handled the losses and adversity with maturity and class.”

Suggitt is excited about his team’s speed with Lauren Doyle and Victoria Folayan, but knows the Eagles will have to do a better job at “creating space” for their teammates.

The Eagles currently occupy seventh in the Series standings with 26 points, 12 of which were earned with a Plate win at Atlanta 7s in February, the team’s best performance of the season.

“We know we will perform better this time around,” Suggitt said. “We have to.”

No. 1-ranked New Zealand, Spain, and Ireland are in Pool A with the Eagles. Kickoff for the first match against the Kiwis is Friday, May 16, at 7:04 A.M. ET. Watch Amsterdam Sevens live on the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series website and follow live match updates on Twitter with @USARugby.

Women's Eagles Sevens | Amsterdam Sevens
1. Kelly Griffin
2. Lorrie Clifford
3. Jillion Potter
4. Amelia Villines (C)
5. Hannah Lopez
6. Lauren Doyle
7. Victoria Folayan
8. Alev Kelter
9. Elana Meyers Taylor
10. Hannah Lockwood
11. Kathryn Johnson
12. Megan Bonny

Women's Eagles Sevens | Amsterdam Sevens
v New Zealand - Friday, May 16 - 7:04 A.M. ET
v Spain - Friday, May 16 - 10:10 A.M. ET
v Ireland - Friday, May 16 - 12:54 P.M. ET

Day: Women's Series set for thrilling climax

(IRB.COM) Monday 12 May 2014
 Day: Women's Series set for thrilling climax
The 2013 final in Amsterdam was, according to Sue Day, one of the truly epic games of women's Sevens
Former England international turned commentator Sue Day can’t wait to find out how the finale to the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series will play out.

It has certainly been an exciting Series so far and while there have been a lot of surprises in matches along the way, there have been very few surprises when it comes to the tournament winners, with Australia and New Zealand between them sweeping the board.

Australia have undoubtedly made a much bigger impact this season, really giving New Zealand a run for their money, but that isn’t surprising given they now have a centralised programme.

You would have to put money on those two teams to get to the semi-finals in Amsterdam and you would probably bet on Canada to be up there too, but the fourth spot will come down to which of the chasing teams comes closest to their best form of the Series so far. Whichever of England, Russia, Spain and even the USA hits the best form will likely grab the last spot.

And of course with only two points between Australia and New Zealand at the top, it could come down to a single game between those two teams to decide who wins the Series. What a great climax that would be.

The way it is shaping up it should be a truly fantastic tournament in Amsterdam, particularly given the sides who join the core teams and Brazil in the tournament. Our hosts the Netherlands, France and South Africa have all shown that on their day they can compete with the top teams. We haven’t seen much of South Africa for a while so it will be good to see what they come up with and how much they have improved.

These sides will undoubtedly be inspired by what Fiji achieved in reaching the Cup semi-finals at the last round in China; and I have to admit it is a shame that Fiji aren’t in Amsterdam because it would have been great to see if they could build on the success that they achieved in the last round.

I’m sure Canada will be looking to finish the Series with a bang. They played their part in what was one of the truly epic games of women’s Sevens in the Amsterdam final last year. The Canadians haven’t quite been able to reach the same heights they reached last year and a repeat of their performance in that final would give Jen Kish’s team the chance to remind the world that they are contenders.

We saw the Canadian men’s team reach a first ever Cup final in Glasgow recently and I’m sure their female counterparts will have been inspired by that. It shows how Sevens is growing in Canada and that Sevens really is a sport in which anything is possible.


Both of the teams involved in the title race though have some significant players back for Amsterdam. I’m thinking particularly of Kelly Brazier for New Zealand and Ellia Green for Australia.

I saw that Tim Walsh said that Green has the X-factor and she absolutely has. Give her the ball in space and she is very, very hard to stop. She also always plays with a big smile on her face and in the right spirit, which is something young players out there should aspire to.

She is a top quality finisher while Kelly Brazier is a world-class Sevens playmaker and has the potential to bring an extra dimension to New Zealand’s play. She has a great step off both feet, good hands and great vision and I think playing her in combination with Huriana Manuel gives the Kiwis a combination of excellence and experience in those pivotal play-making roles that probably no other team can match just at the moment.

On the subject of returning players, the USA coach Ric Suggitt will be disappointed that he doesn’t have the find of the season, Jessica Javelet, back for this tournament. The USA has had a pretty disappointing season and, when they have performed well, Javelet has generally been at the heart of their successes.

It is probably fair to say that Suggitt has sacrificed success this season in order to blood a lot of new players, planning for the future. That said, he would still have wanted a bit more of the positive momentum that success at tournaments gives you.

It may be that he will look back and think that he got the balance slightly wrong and sacrificed success a little too much. After all, New Zealand have also blooded a lot of new players this season and yet they have been winning tournaments. And there is nothing like winning tournaments to keep players inspired, motivated and happy…

The big question, though, is who will be crowned Series champions? I can’t wait to find out and hope we’re treated to another exciting weekend of Sevens action in Amsterdam to bring the curtain down on what has been a fantastic season.

The IRB Women’s Sevens World Series finale will be streamed live from Amsterdam on 16-17 May on Follow us on Twitter @irbwomens.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Spring Season Update from Christina Swift

In late January I had the chance to surprise some of our Stars 7s players from FAU and FIU and fly to Boca Raton for their Friday Night Lights clash. Getting to see the girls in action with their home clubs playing 15s was an awesome experience and Swift definitely shined as a center making some devastating runs and even stronger tackles in a close match. Here's her update as she starts prepping for the Women's Collegiate All American East Camp (Eyal sent in a U-20 nomination and USA Rugby elevated her to WCAA consideration).

"Boy oh boy where do I start?

This spring season is definitely one I won’t forget! Our FAU Women’s team did rather well - we could have done better but next year were definitely going further than we ever have, I can feel it! On top of playing for FAU I got to play with the amazing and talented Ft. Miami Womens team in the Ruggerfest that was an awesome tournament and we ended up getting second place in!!!

In other news I have been training very hard lately and had my coach Eyal send in a nomination for U20 tryouts this year. A month later I get the invite to the Women's Collegiate All American East Camp tryouts!!! I am beyond excited for this opportunity and where it could lead me!

Every day I think about rugby and what more I can do to go further and knowing that I get to play in my first INTERNATIONAL Tournament with the Stars makes it even better.

This summer has so many opportunities for my rugby career and I couldn’t be happier to be apart of the Stars program. I have never been to Canada and I can’t wait to play!

I have learned nothing is just going to appear I front of you, you have to work towards your goals every day to make them achievable. One of my favorites “Pain is weakness leaving the body.” I live by that because I am determined I finally found a sport that I can give my all and absolutely love every second about it!" 

To help support Swift in her rugby goals, including the Stars tour to Calgary, the WCAA camp and her invite today to the Serevi High Performance Residency Camp, please visit her GoFundMe page!

Monday, May 12, 2014

An Update from Kim Semiglia of FIU - Onto the Final Four!

Kim sent this update to me last weekend but some issues with our blogging platform have prevented publication. FIU played in the USA Rugby Division 2 Collegiate Semifinals this weekend and were upset by Mary Washington. They played for 3rd today against University of Indiana Pennsylvania and unfortunately dropped the match 19-17. Here's her update from last weekend:

"Though it was the first round of 16 appearance for FIU Women’s Rugby, we were very confident in all the hard work we have put this season. Our first challenge was to play University of North Georgia, the South Individual Rugby Conference champions, who had an undefeated season. It was a challenging game but we came out victorious beating them 67-17. We went into the half with a close score, but managed to break away with a comfortable lead quickly in the second half.  

Our next challenge was to beat Lee University;  we knew we would have a hard challenge because of the
fact that they beat the team who had eliminated us last year 60-10 in the following round. However, we still went into the match with a lot of confidence and this allowed us to defeat Lee University 36-17 in a come from behind victory.

We went into the half down 12-10. They then scored the first try of the 2nd half around the 60th minute making the score 17-10. We were down until the 67th minute when we finally tried and converted to make it a tie game. Very quickly after, we scored back to back to back tries to pull off the comeback.  It was an amazing experience. Having lost in the round of 64 last year in Georgia, we were so excited when the referee blew the final whistle and we were on top.  The win against Lee secured our spot in the Final 4 in California. We will continue our momentum into the Final 4 representing Florida and feel very confident in the hard work we have put into this team.

The Stars program definitely helped me this spring season in many ways. First, it exposed me to higher level play; it gave me the opportunity to see great rugby players in action. This allowed me to see what I personally could work on to become a greater player. For example, one thing I noticed that was common among all the best players was that they had great speed and a solid pass. Watching this made me realize how important the two are and so it gave me a new zeal to work on the two religiously on my own time. If there's one main thing I took out of the whole stars experience in Vegas, I would say that it definitely was a greater desire to train and become better.

My training since Vegas has definitely gotten better than it was before Vegas and my pass and speed has definitely improved since. Additionally,  I believe as a fly half of a super fast team , it is my duty for the sake of the team to be able to efficiently distribute the ball to all the talent we have. The training that resulted from Vegas has ultimately helped me help my team."