Rogers selected as captain for Eagles' first match in France

BÉZIERS, France – 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.

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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.

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.

“Training and the team dynamics on and off the field has been going really well,” Baggetta said. “Lots of positive energy even though we are working very hard and overcoming things like travel fatigue and poor weather. This is due to the leadership of our captain, Hope Rogers, and the leadership team that supports her. The return of veterans like Sarah Chobot and Kate Daley to the squad has also helped tremendously in creating a positive – but demanding – team culture.”

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.

“We believe that we have selected a team that can not only compete, but win with a mix of both veterans and some existing new additions to the squad,” Baggetta said.

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.

Women’s Eagles | v. France

1. Sarah Chobot

2. Katy Augustyn

3. Hope Rogers (C)

4. Alycia Washington

5. Jordan Gray

6. Christiane Pheil

7. Kate Zackary

8. Kate Daley

9. Jennifer Lui

10. Kimber Rozier

11. Kelsi Stockert

12. Sylvia Braaten

13. Alev Kelter

14. Tess Feury

15. Jessica Wooden

Women’s Eagles | Reserves

16. Samantha Pankey

17. Catherine Benson

18. Tiffany Faaee

19. Abby Gustaitis

20. Elizabeth Cairns

21. Joanne Fa’avesi

22. Naya Tapper

23. Megan Foster

France | v. USA

1. Annëlle Dessayes

2. Agathe Sochat

3. Julie Dubal

4. Lenaig Corson

5. Audrey Forlani

6. Marion Peyronnet

7. Laetitia Grand

8. Romane Menager

9. Pauline Bourdon

10. Audrey Abadie

11. Marine Menager

12. Lucille Godiveau

13. Caroline Ladagnous

14. Elodie Guiglion

15. Laurianne Lissar

France | Reserves

16. Carline Thomas

17. Lise Arricastre

18. Manon Andre

19. Safi N’Diaye

20. Yanna Rivoalen

21. Elodie Poublan

22. Christelle Le Duff

23. Laure Touye

Women’s Eagles | November Tour

v. France – Tuesday, Nov. 22 @ 3 p.m. ET – Stade de la Méditerranée

v. France – Friday, Nov. 25 @ 3 p.m. ET – Altrad Stadium