Throwback Thursday: a year off and a year out

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The positive trip to Scotland in late 2014 – one win, 12-6, from one game – preceded a year of building for the Women’s Eagles. The team did not play international competition throughout 2005, instead finalizing the game plan within the player pool ahead of a busy 2006.

“You’re hoping players don’t get hurt,” Head Coach Kathy Flores said of the time between international fixtures. “Even though you have assemblies, even if you’re taking the top 50 all the time, it’s always a tryout. ‘Who’s performing on the day?’

“We needed more games [in the off year]. You’d much rather expend that energy against another team instead of against your own players. Also, it brings the camaraderie of playing together and being there for one another against someone else instead of being pitted against each other. You don’t want to have to have the rivalry against each other going into a World Cup. You want the feeling of, ‘We’re all in this together. You get more playing time than I do but I’m rooting for you because you’re my teammate.'”

Come World Cup year, the Eagles had set up a four-game preparatory slate that would test them before crossing the border to Canada. First was a UK Tour to Netherdale, Scotland, and Limerick, Ireland, respectively, in late January. Having won two of their first five matches following the ’02 World Cup, the Eagles went above .500 with a 13-6 defeat of Scotland and a 23-5 win against Ireland.

Not five months later, and two months from kickoff of the World Cup, the Can-Am rivalry was renewed. The U.S. hosted two matches in Colorado against the WRWC host, splitting the results; the Eagles took game one.

“Here’s the thing: I like to play Canada all the time because I think they’re super physical,” Flores said. “I love their physicality, they’re fit, and I think they can stretch us. But I don’t think the mindset of the rivalry game being an international is there or where we need it to be.”

Despite a two-point loss to the Canadians in the second matchup, the Eagles were ready to improve on their seventh-place standing from 2002. The likes of the eternal Patty Jervey – in her fifth consecutive World Cup – Jen Crouse, and Meredith Ottens, among other World Cup veterans, were selected alongside younger players like Jamie Burke, Pam Kosanke, and Kristin Zdanczewicz. Ellerslie Rugby Park and St. Albert Rugby Park in Alberta welcomed the U.S. and 11 other teams for pool play, where the Eagles would seek Semifinal qualification playing against familiar foes Australia, England, and Ireland.

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USA Women’s Eagles | Women’s Rugby World Cup 2006

Hedwig Aerts

Kristin Baja

Jamie Burke

Laura Cabrera

Erin Carter

Annie Collier

Kate Cox

Jen Crouse

Carrie DuBray

Ashley English

Heather Hale

Patty Jervey

Ellie Karvoski

Lee Knight

Phaidra Knight

Claudia Knudsen-Braymer

Pam Kosanke

Laura McDonald

Kelly McMahon

Danielle Miller

Pat Neder

Tina Nesburg

Meredith Ottens

Kate Pope

Jen Sinkler

Maurin Wallace

Keenya Warner

Kristin Zdanczewicz

Non-Rostered Reserves

Lisa Butts

Kim Magrini

Coaching Staff

Kathy Flores – Head Coach

Candi Orsini – Assistant Coach

Krista McFarren – Assistant Backs Coach

Dr. Lisa Bartoli – Team Doctor

Tracy Moens – Strength & Conditioning Coach

Katie Peterson – Manager

Sara Shouse – Manager

Anne Barry – Program Manager