Monday, November 21, 2016

Women Eagles Name Starters vs. France

Press Release

Peter Baggetta's Women's Eagles kick off their November Tour, supported by Atavus, against France at Stade de la Méditerranée Tuesday, Nov. 22.

Eight members of the starting XV were on the field for the opening restart of the Women's Rugby Super Series matchup with France this summer, including captain Hope Rogers. The 10th meeting between the teams - and third in France - is scheduled to kick off at 3 p.m. ET on The Rugby Channel.

Jordan Gray was named Most Valuable Player at the recent Women's Premier League Championships for her play at center for the title-winning San Diego Surfers, but is one of four forwards in the starting XV selected to the tournament commentators' Dream Team. The Brigham Young University alumna will see her first action for the national team in the second row partnering New York Rugby Club's Alycia Washington. Kate Zackary was also recognized for her play in Marietta, Ga., and will make her national team debut in the back row alongside Women's Rugby World Cup 2014 captain Kate Daley and Chicago North Shore's Christiane Pheil.

Take the jump to read more.

Veteran front-rowers Katy Augustyn, Sarah Chobot, and Rogers round out a physical pack that will look to take advantage of a French team that includes a single debutante in the forwards.

Jenny Lui led the U.S. attack for the final 20 minutes of the 19-13 defeat to the 2016 Women's 6 Nations Champion in Salt Lake City, and will have Kimber Rozier in the No. 10 jersey helping to give a young set of backs the attacking platform necessary to earn a first win of 2016. Seattle Saracens' Kelsi Stockert has been in Women's Eagles Sevens camps and was an AIG Women's Collegiate All-American Sevens selection over the summer after her play at the 2016 USA Rugby Club 7s National Championships. She will fly down one wing while Tess Feury will make her first start for the Eagles on the opposite wing having made her debut as a 20-year-old against England in Utah.

The veteran leadership of Sylvia Braaten at inside center will provide Baggetta with a calming influence in the back line, while Rio 2016 Olympian Alev Kelter will see her first international 15s action since picking up rugby in 2014 in the midfield. American Rugby Pro Training Center's Jess Wooden is set to make her seventh consecutive start at full back for the Eagles since earning her debut at the 2015 Super Series.

Abby Gustaitis and Olympian Joanne Fa'avesi could earn debuts from the reserves, which also include speedster Naya Tapper and elusive front-rower Sam Pankey.

The Eagles last played in France at the World Cup just two years ago, but have not faced France on its home turf since a similar two-match November series in 2012. The two nations were recently drawn into separate Women's Rugby World Cup 2017 pools less than a year out from the eighth edition of the tournament in Ireland.

Match updates will be provided by USA Rugby's Twitter handle (@USARugby) during The Rugby Channel's broadcast of Tuesday's match, which is scheduled to kick off from Stade de la Méditerranée at 3 p.m. ET.

Forwards: Sarah Chobot, Katy Augustyn, Hope Rogers (C), Alycia Washington, Jordan Gray, Christiane Pheil, Kate Zackary, Kate Daley

Backs: Jen Lui, Kimber Rozier, Kelsi Stockert, Sylvia Braaten, Alev Kelter, Tess Feury, Jessica Wooden

Bench: Sam Pankey, Catie Benson, Tiffany Faaee, Abby Gustaitis, Bitsy Cairns, Nana Fa'avesi, Naya Tapper, Megan Foster

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