USA 4-1 at World Cup, 5th Place Overall

No need to state the obvious … but it doesn’t take a math wizard to know that a 4-1 record is pretty damn good and 5th place doesn’t jive …

New Zealand won it all with a 25-17 win over England, while France finishes 3rd after knocking off Canada 17-8. See full results here.

Also, Congrats to Jen Crouse, Phaidra Knight and Ellie Karvoski for being selected to the Women’s World Cup All-Star XV.

Here’s the offical recap of the Eagles blitzing Scotland for the final win via WomenEagles:

USA Women Shut Out Scotland, Finish 4-1 in Women’s Rugby World Cup
9.18.06 – from USARugby.org
EDMONTON, Alberta -The USA Women’s National Team finished 4-1 and secured fifth place at the Women’s Rugby World Cup, today, showing an impressive defensive display and some attacking flare in shutting out Scotland 24-0 at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta.

“I think the U.S. should be extremely proud of how the women did at this World Cup,” USA Rugby’s Chairman of the Board, Bob Latham said. “A 4-1 record is very impressive and they will only continue to improve on their world ranking going forward.”

Thanks to an impressive display from the back row and some hard work in the scrums, the USA produced a platform that led to three tries, while their consistently physical and committed defense held the Scots scoreless, and means Scotland has not scored a try against the USA in more than 240 minutes of rugby.

The Eagles took an early lead about two minutes into the game. From the lineout they won clean ball at midfield and sent it out to the backs. A swift inside pass to Laura Cabrera (Oakland, Calif.) allowed the wing to break the line and link up with California’s fullback Ashley English, who then raced 50 meters only to be hauled down inches short of the line. Quick support from the forwards allowed Claudia Braymer (Clifton Park, N.Y.) to pass out to the backs and center Pam Kosanke (Chicago, Ill.) took the pass and closed the gap to score.

Kosanke converted her own try to make it 7-0, but then Scotland regrouped and inched their way into the USA half. Using center Rimma Petlevannaya to some effect, Scotland tested the USA defense, but the Eagles held firm, with flanker Kristin Zdanczewicz (St. Louis Park, Minn.) and No. 8 Tina Nesburg (San Francisco, Calif.) forcing turnovers.

Scotland did get a scoring opportunity when the USA’s Jamie Burke (Oakland, Calif.) was judged offside, but Scotland’s scrumhalf Paula Chlamers pushed her kick wide.

Attacking afterward, the American forwards kept the Scots on the back foot and forced a penalty 35 meters out. Kosanke lined it up and while she had plenty of distance, her kick just missed.

The USA kept up the pressure, with their physical defense setting the tone and a strong pack pushing the Scottish scrum backwards. A sloppy pass from the Scots allowed the ball to roll into in-goal, and three American backs swarmed in like the swooping Eagles they are. Scotland only touched the ball down for a five-meter scrum and the put-in placed the Eagles forward about three meters before Braymer sent the ball wide.

Flyhalf Kristin Baja (Brooklyn, N.Y.) used Kosanke as a decoy and passed to center Hedwig Aerts, also of Brooklyn, who took the gap and touched down near the posts. Kosanke was good on the conversion to make it 14-0.

The USA spent much of the remainder of the first half in the Scottish territory, but some problems in the lineout hurt their better scoring chances.

Late in the first half the forwards, led by Californian’s Erin Carter and Jen Crouse, pounded their way close to the Scottish line, and eventually referee Clare Daniels penalized Scotland right in front of the posts. Kosanke made the easy kick and the half ended with the USA up 17-0.

The second half began with Scotland desperate to score some points, and they camped out in the USA end for several minutes. The Eagles helped their opponents’ cause by losing several of their lineouts and it was only their characteristically staunch defense that kept the shutout alive.

The Eagles did gain some ground, though, as quick passing movements among the forwards, especially the back row, kept the Scots backpedaling.

A promising run from sub flanker Phaidra Knight (Riverdale, N.Y.) was just corralled, with an offside call, later in the game, handing Kosanke a very manageable opportunity at goal, which she barely missed.

The USA kept up the pressure late and Knight almost scored in the corner off a blocked kick. Knight took the pass and headed for the line and launched herself into in-goal, but was just pushed into touch before she touched down.

With time running down, the Eagles attacked off a scrum six meters out, and some slick passing by the backs, with Laura Cabrera (Oakland, Calif.) making an impressive offload in the tackle, allowed sub wing Ellie Karvoski (Little Rock, Ark.) to race in for her fourth World Cup try. Kosanke’s conversion ended the game 24-0.

The USA ended their World Cup run 4-1, having lost only to finalists England, and having beaten Australia twice, Scotland, and Ireland. They finish the World Cup ranked fifth. The game also was the swan song for all-time Eagle great Patty Jervey, who finished her fifth World Cup and will retire the all-time USA leader in caps, tries, and points.

“I’m very proud of our position. How often do you end up fifth and have a 4-1 record?” said head coach Kathy Flores. “Going forward, one goal for the USA is to have more international matches. We need to have played more than ten games before we come to the World Cup. We competed well, but imagine what we could do if we played more games leading up to here.”

“I think everyone on the U.S. team has handled this experience with tremendous integrity,” said Crouse.” I think everyone came here ready to play. We built up a lot of positive energy coming in here. We had a few ups and downs as you would expect with a very long tour. We came out on a very positive note.”

USA 24
Tries: Aerts, Kosanke, Karvoski
Conversions: Kosanke, 3
Penalty Kick: Kosanke

Also, I didn’t realize it at first, but when I upgraded to Blogger Beta, I lost my whole cool World Cup links area, so I’m attempting to rebuild that as it’s own post soon and to save in the resource links section.

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Filed under 2006 Women's Rugby World Cup, Canada, England, France, New Zealand, Scotland, USA Eagles

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