Lindsay Mayo wins Season 2 of Team USA's Next Olympic Hopeful for rugby sevens

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO. – This weekend on the networks of NBC, America watched as 90 athletes trained in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with the goal of getting one giant step closer to pursuing their Olympic dreams through Season 2 of “Milk Life presents, Scouting Camp: The Next Olympic Hopeful.”

The talent-identification program is aimed at finding athletes with a background in any sport whose skills could transfer to various Olympic sports. The sports for Season 2 are bobsled, boxing, canoe/kayak, cycling, rowing, rugby, skeleton and weightlifting. One winner was selected for each sport, and the winners will attend camps with their sport in hopes of making the national team.

This year’s winners are comprised of five women and three men between the ages of 19-27 from all across the country. Their backgrounds range from high school sports to junior college to college athletics. Many of them didn’t know much about their sports before the camp, while others have been training for this specific moment for nearly their entire lives.

Each of the winners receives financial, medical and training support as they strive to make the national teams. During the five-day combine at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, the athletes competed in a number of tests selected by the sports that they felt most directly applied to competition.

Season 1 saw a fair amount of success, headlined by Josh Williamson, the winner for men’s bobsled. In the last year, Williamson has already won five international medals for Team USA. He has his sites set on the Olympics Winter Games Beijing 2022.

Meet Lindsay Mayo, winner for USA Rugby:

Age: 24

Hometown: Gallatin, Tenn.

Past Sport Experience: Growing up I played a lot of different sports. At some point or another, I played basketball, swam, ran track, did martial arts but played soccer all throughout. As I got older, that was the one I ended up committing to. So, I played all through high school and went to play at the University of Arkansas and played four seasons there. My last season was the 2016 season, so about two years ago.

On being named the Net Olympic Hopeful: It means everything. It’s a huge pat on the back and validation for every single one of us who has worked so hard to get where we are and to see that recognized by the [National Governing Bodies] who have obviously seen a lot and know what they’re talking about and think that we have what it takes to be successful in their sport. It’s absolutely amazing.

On the sport for which she was chosen: I kind of suspected, but I was still surprised. I was hopeful but didn’t think it would actually happen, so when it did, I was still pretty shocked.

On the learning curves coming her way: I think the biggest learning curve will just be getting used to how the game is played and the little nuances of it because those are things you don’t learn until you’ve played it, you’ve been there, you’ve been on the field, you’ve been there with your teammates. So, I think learning all the little things that come along with time and experience.

Women's Eagles Sevens: Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens Preview

CHULA VISTA, CA. – After opening their Olympic qualifying year in second-place, the Women’s Eagles Sevens depart for the second stop of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series at Dubai Sevens, Nov. 29-30.

This Series Last Stop

It was the ultimate tale of second chances last time the Women’s Eagles Sevens took the pitch.

To open the inaugural HSBC USA Women’s Sevens 2018 in Glendale, the Women’s Sevens suffered a devastating 10-12 loss to England with a try on the final whistle, only to narrowly defeat China 24-21 before they fell to New Zealand 12-35. With their hopes of advancing scattered, the USA was redeemed by a 1-point differential that held Spain’s runaway win over Mexico back from the coveted knockout rounds.

With a ticket punched to the Cup Quarterfinals, the United States established a momentous run that clinched a 26-5 victory over Olympic Gold Medalist Australia for their first victory over the Wallabies Sevens since 2015.

Then, in a Semifinal battle almost fallen to France, the Eagles Sevens were reborn with a herculean try on the final play by debutant Alena Olsen. Olsen’s try paved the way for USA to face New Zealand in the Cup Final, where they fell 7-33 to claim the silver.

In their second consecutive silver-medal start to a new season, the U.S. women have again reached a valuable benchmark to set the tone for qualification to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Who to Watch

The Dubai bound squad will see two changes made from Glendale with Ashlee Byrge earning her debut and Joanne Fa’avesi back in the mix.

Byrge will make her first appearance on the Sevens Series circuit after embedding herself in the Women’s Sevens Residency program and working diligently to advance her core rugby skills. The athlete earns her start after competing in several competitions with the developmental Falcons side.

Similarly — and with sevens fans across the globe still feverish from her heroic try last tournament — Alena Olsen will jump back into the fold prepared to build on her achievements in Dubai. Olsen’s try was the first ever of her senior national team career after the athlete spent months growing within the sevens program.

Like Olsen, Ilona Maher became a fast sensation as she crossed the tryline game after game to close out her home stop as the second highest try scorer of USA Sevens. Maher scored in four out of the six matches contested including a hat trick against Olympic Gold medalist Australia.

The Competition

Heading into Dubai Sevens in Pool B, the USA women will face China at 4:06 AM ET, England at 7:02 AM ET and Australia at 9:59 AM ET on Thursday, Nov. 29.

China and England both faced the Women’s Sevens in pool play last tournament, learning first-hand that the U.S. side must never be underestimated given their comeback medal. Australia will be hungry to make-up for the painful loss to USA that ultimately left them with a fifth-place standing.

England currently sits in eighth-place with China back behind at 11th.

Hear it from Head Coach Chris Brown

Assessment of Competition in pool play…
“We have a challenging pool again. Australia are Olympic Champions for valid reasons and are a classy outfit especially with core players returning from injury. England have depth coming out its ears through the backing of their professional league and age group system, and China have a number of players returning and are under the guidance of a very good coach in Chad Shepherd.”

On how to succeed as a unit…
“Ultimately our progress will depend heavily on how we execute as a unit. We saw in Glendale how if our intent is right, we focus on the task at hand, and our defensive system executes, even when we only have 30% of the ball we can still come away with a result. That’s a testament to the collective fight of this group and the buy-in to what has been our major focus to start this season.”

On how debutant Ashlee Byrge put herself forward to earn selection…
“Ashlee’s an individual that’s been fighting for an opportunity for a while. Her consistency of application over the past month alongside her enhancement in game understanding has seen her advance into the Dubai squad. When it comes to consistency of training intent we can always count on Ashlee being one of the examples to follow. This is an important trait when we look at the culture our group is trying to enhance and embed as a new norm.”

To Sum it Up

The USA Women’s Sevens are riding a high from their silver medal in Glendale and must continue their momentum in order to achieve a Top 4 finish when all is said and done at the end of the season. With a new debutant in the mix and several athletes rising to the surface with monumental performances, the U.S. women have a stacked lineup to face China, England and Australia on Day One.

Women’s Eagles Sevens Roster

All players are part of the Women’s Sevens residency program.
1. Joanne Fa’avesi
2. Abby Gustaitis
3. Cheta Emba
4. Ilona Maher
5. Kristen Thomas
6. Ashlee Byrge*
7. Lauren Doyle (Co-Captain)
8. Alena Olsen
9. Alev Kelter
10. Nicole Heavirland (Co-Captain)
11. Naya Tapper
12. Stephanie Rovetti

*First HSBC World Sevens Series appearance.

Women’s Eagles Sevens Staff

General Manager | Emilie Bydwell
Head Coach | Chris Brown
Performance Analyst | Dave Gardner
Athletic Trainer | Nicole Titmas
Team Manager | Liz Strohecker

Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens Schedule

Pool B | Broadcast info will be confirmed closer to date

vs China | Thurs, Nov. 29 – 4:06 AM ET
vs England | Thurs, Nov. 29 – 7:02 AM ET
vs Australia | Thurs, Nov. 29 – 9:59 AM ET


Top 5 Placings for USA 

(following HSBC USA Women’s Sevens 2018)

HSBC World Series Standing 2nd (18 points)
Most Tries by a Player Ilona Maher, 2nd (7 tries)
Most Points Scored by a Team (all time) 4th (3359)
Most Tries Scored by a Team (all time) 4th (550)

View World Series Stats Center

Olympian Ryan Carlyle retires from International Sevens

CHULA VISTA, CA. – Women’s Eagles Sevens’ Ryan Carlyle has officially retired from international sevens, USA Rugby confirmed today.

A two-time Rugby World Cup Sevens athlete (2013, 2018), Carlyle is also a 2016 Rio Olympian who owns 23 appearances with the senior national team including 16 in the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series alone. 

Since making her national team debut in 2011 at the World Rugby (then called IRB) Women’s Sevens Challenge Cup in Hong Kong, Carlyle has helped the Women’s Sevens achieve many feats.

Some of these include a bronze medal finish at Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow, a fourth-place finish at Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018; and most recently, two medal-winning performances at the Dubai 2017 and Langford 2018 sevens tournaments. The two medals marked the first time the USA women have medaled twice in one season.

Competing in the first-ever HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in 2013, Carlyle commends the program’s growth over the years and relishes in her journey with Women’s Eagles Sevens.

“I’m incredibly humbled to have been a part of the conception of this program and amazed at how far it’s come,” said Carlyle. “I want to thank USA Rugby for giving me the opportunity to pursue the greatest dream a young athlete can have–to represent their nation at the highest level. Nothing will come close to giving me the same feeling of pride and honor as wearing the USA jersey did for me the past eight years.”

As Carlyle’s time with international sevens comes to a close, the athlete further expresses her gratitude for all those who paved the way for not only her success, but for the growth of women’s rugby sevens across the nation.

“I want to thank my teammates for positively contributing to the strength of women’s rugby worldwide,” she said. “I am extremely confident that they will not only sustain this effort, but move mountains with it.

“There are so many people at the United States Olympic Committee who I would like to thank and who I am incredibly grateful for. It is because of them I am able to retire happy and healthy. I am going to miss them all.

“The end of my rugby sevens career is just the beginning for me. I look forward to exploring and discovering what’s next.”

With Carlyle now embarking on the next part of her rugby journey, General Manager for Women’s High Performance Emilie Bydwell notes how the athlete’s dedication to the sport has been an inspiration to current and future players worldwide.

“On behalf of USA rugby I want to thank Ryan for her contribution to the Women’s Sevens program over the past eight years,” said Bydwell. “As a member of the program that paved the way into the Olympic and full-time era, Ryan exemplified the meaning of professionalism and set a standard for excellence within the program.

“Her relentless work ethic, attention to detail and competitiveness was admired by the staff and her teammates and will leave a lasting impact for years to come. We wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors.”

USA Rugby appoints Chris Brown as Head Coach of the Women's Eagles Sevens

CHULA VISTA, CA – Following a comprehensive search, USA Rugby has formally appointed Chris Brown as Head Coach of the Women’s Eagles Sevens.

Brown assumed the position of Interim Head Coach in August having previously served as the Assistant Coach for the Men’s Eagles Sevens. Overall, he’s spent more than four years ingrained in the USA Rugby Sevens program with assistant coach, strength & conditioning and coach development roles. He’s also led as Head Coach for Falcons tours at the developmental level.

Through his time, Brown has been a consistent presence at the Elite Athlete Training Center in Chula Vista supporting USA Rugby’s women’s and men’s resident athletes as a skills coach. After a thorough interview and vetting process of over 50 applicants, Brown’s unrivaled intensity brought to the program stood out above all.

Since his start in 2014, the Men’s Eagles Sevens have climbed from their 13th place finish in the 2013-14 World Rugby Sevens Series (then called IRB World Sevens Series) to their sixth-place finish in 2018. Brown was also part of the team’s coaching staff when the program won its first two World Series titles at the 2015 London Sevens and 2018 USA Sevens tournaments.

With a background in strength and conditioning, the new Head Coach has worked with the union to design and deliver high performance training programs which match those of the top performing nations in sevens. His focused approach on mastering core rugby skills and employing physicality have helped many national team players evolve into notable standouts on the World Rugby circuit.

Alongside his work with the national teams, Brown has invested time as a coach educator, providing workshops and seminars to both mentor and develop the nation’s budding domestic sevens coaches. In his new role with the Women’s Eagles Sevens, he’ll continue to work with USA Rugby’s division of high performance — as part of Project SOAR — to build depth in homegrown coaches across the nation.

General Manager of Women’s High Performance Emilie Bydwell said: “Chris has a proven track record of accelerating the development of talent. Throughout his time working with the women, including the last six weeks as Interim Head Coach, Chris has demonstrated the ability to increase skill execution and improve tactical decision making whilst creating an authentic learning environment that maintains competition and performance standards.

“We believe that Chris’s detail oriented coaching style, paired with his humble, aware and reflective leadership qualities, makes him the ideal candidate to support the women in their 2020 medal campaign.”

Head Coach Chris Brown said: “I’m excited to maximize the transfer of what I’ve been taught and exposed to over the past decade. Being mentored by one of the best in the business, Mike Friday, for a number of years, has only enhanced my belief that I can lead this program in a positive direction.

“I’m encouraged from working with Emilie Bydwell and the remainder of the Women’s Sevens staff, that we will be able to transfer a number of the qualities I’ve absorbed with this group very quickly. Specifically on pitch, I’m excited to see how I can enhance the progression of skill execution and situational understanding.”

USA Rugby CEO, Ross Young added, “The relationship Chris has with the Women’s Sevens team and staff in Chula Vista is instrumental in what we are looking to develop for the program. His drive to promote intensity and passion within the player pool is a quality we’re excited to endorse going into a qualification season.”

USA fans can watch as Brown makes his head coaching debut during the upcoming USA Women’s Sevens tournament in Glendale, Oct 20-21. Tickets are available at with the competition streamed LIVE on FloRugby.

Tickets on sale now for HSBC USA Women's Sevens in Glendale

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  • Tickets are now on sale for HSBC USA Women’s Sevens in Glendale, taking place Oct 20-21 2018
  • Fans may select from a combination of ticket packages starting at only $15
  • Tickets may be purchased at

GLENDALE, CO. – Tickets are now on sale for the HSBC USA Women’s Sevens tournament, the new opening round of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series 2019 hosted in Glendale, CO, Oct 20-21.

Taking place at Infinity Park — the world class 4,000 seat stadium located in Colorado’s infamous RugbyTown — fans may select from a variety of ticket packages as they watch 11 core Women’s Sevens Series teams and one invitational team compete for the USA Women’s Sevens title, with the core teams also beginning their journey toward qualification for Tokyo 2020.

Ticket packages start at only $15 for adults with options that include entry to “The Real Octoberfest” beer festival starting at only $40. Admission for kids 12 and under is only $5 with VIP packages also available at

[su_attention url=”” text=”GET USA WOMEN’S SEVENS TICKETS”]

As the new opening round, the Glendale stop will be followed by rounds in Dubai, Sydney, Japan, Langford and Paris; increasing the total number of stops in the Women’s Series to six for the 2019 season. The Series will also serve as the primary route for qualification to the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. 

After the record-breaking success of the recent Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 hosted at AT&T Park, fans across the United States are experiencing the exciting, action-packed nature of rugby sevens. With the event hosted at Infinity Park’s rugby epicenter — also home to the Glendale Raptors of Major League Rugby and the Glendale Merlins of the Women’s Premier League — the event will bring together both new and existing audiences for two-days of thrilling international competition.

A full schedule and broadcast information for the two-day tournament will be confirmed in due course. Tickets are available now at

Richie Walker resigns as Women's Sevens Head Coach

CHULA VISTA, CA – USA Rugby and Richie Walker today announced Walker’s resignation as Head Coach of the Women’s Eagle Sevens. Walker moves on from the position after holding it since 2016. Men’s Sevens Assistant Coach, Chris Brown, will step in as interim Head Coach effective immediately.

USA Rugby General Manager of Women’s High Performance, Emilie Bydwell, noted, “Myself and USA Rugby would like to thank Richie for playing a significant part in the development of the Women’s program these last several years. Richie’s energy, passion and personality have left a long lasting legacy on the Women’s National Team programs. We wish him and his family the very best of luck in the next phase of rugby career.”

Walker added, “I would like to thank USA Rugby for all they have done for me. A tough decision and I wish the next Head Coach all the best with the program.”

Men’s Sevens Assistant Coach, Chris Brown, will assume the role as Interim Head Coach with camp resuming in early September. Brown has been working in Chula Vista with both the Men’s and Women’s programs, having supported skills coaching and physical performance with the Women’s Sevens over the past season.

USA Rugby will immediately begin a process to identify and confirm the permanent successor and look to have the full time position filled prior to the 2018 Women’s World Rugby Sevens Series opener in Glendale, CO.

Canada Women's Sevens Cup slips away from Eagles in Quarterfinal

VICTORIA, British Columbia – France proved the hungrier team in the Canada Women’s Sevens Cup Quarterfinal Sunday, shutting out the Women’s Eagles Sevens, 17-10.

The Eagles struggled to break midfield across the 14 minutes at Westhills Stadium and failed to capitalize on the opportunity to break into the top four in the 2014-15 World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series standings. Ric Suggitt’s squad will play Australia in the Plate Semifinal at 4:06 p.m. ET.

France kicked off the match with a booming restart to pin the Eagles deep in their own half. France’s defense smothered the Eagles, keeping the U.S. from getting quick ball in the breakdown. France then drew a penalty and immediately scored through Christelle Le Duff to take a 5-0 lead.

Another deep kick doomed the Eagles, who were undone by penalties, errors, and the France defense. Turnovers on defense were short-lived, as well, and the entire first half was spent inside the Eagles’ half. Following a turnover in the final minute of the half, the Eagles gave up the ball and were caught out of position. Fanny Horta and Camille Grassineau both waited on the wing for a pass, and Horta did not need to use her teammate to score.

Suggitt calmed his charges at halftime, knowing a 10-0 deficit could be overcome quickly as long as the game plan was followed. France kept up the intensity, however, and did not allow the Eagles to threaten the try line in the final seven minutes.

The Eagles did well to keep France off of the scoreboard in the second half to give themselves a chance at a comeback, but more penalties and turnovers on offense stalled any attack. Jennifer Troncy padded the score to 17-0 in the final minute of the half to give her side the Cup Quarterfinal victory.

The U.S. will have to wait another tournament to break into the top four, as France’s win means Les Blues will distance themselves from the Eagles in the Series standings. The Eagles can gain a maximum 12 points from Canada Women’s Sevens should they win the Plate. The Plate Semifinal matchup between the U.S. and Australia will be broadcast on World Rugby’s website at 4:06 p.m. ET.

Women’s Eagles Sevens | v. France
1. Kathryn Johnson
2. Kelly Griffin
3. Megan Bonny
4. Alev Kelter
5. Akalaini Baravilala
6. Lauren Doyle
7. Victoria Folayan
8. Joanne Fa’avesi
9. Irene Gardner
10. Melissa Fowler
11. Kate Zackary
12. Kristen Thomas

France | v. USA
1. Laurianne Lissar
2. Chloe Pelle
3. Marjorie Mayans
4. Pauline Biscarat
5. Christelle Le Duff
6. Fanny Horta
7. Caroline Ladagnous
8. Camille Grassineau
9. Jennifer Troncy
10. Elodie Guiglion
11. Shannon Izar
12. Lina Guerin

Women’s Eagles Sevens | 0
Tries: N/A
Conversions: N/A

France | 17
Tries: Le Duff, Horta, Troncy
Conversions: Biscarat

Women’s Eagles Sevens | Canada Women’s Sevens
v. South Africa – W 40-5
v. Russia – W 17-14
v. Canada – L 19-15
Cup Quarterfinal v France – L 17-0
Plate Semifinal v Australia – Sunday, April 19 – 4:06 p.m. ET

Eagles beat Australia for Canada Women's Sevens Plate Final berth

VICTORIA, British Columbia – Lauren Doyle and Victoria Folayan combined for five tries in the Women’s Eagles Sevens’ 29-10 Plate Semifinal victory against Australia at Canada Women’s Sevens Sunday.

The win sets up a rematch with tournament host Canada in the Plate Final at Westhills Stadium, which will be streamed live on World Rugby’s website at 7:28 p.m. ET.

Following a disappointing loss in which they were unable to find France’s half let alone the try zone, the Eagles played a positive, quick game to storm out to an early lead. Australia held possession from the kickoff, but strong work in the tackle by Megan Bonny forced the ball to dribble into Australia’s half. The Aussies kicked possession away, though a mishandled pass handed the Eagles’ opponent possession again.

Alev Kelter turned the ball over in the breakdown in the second minute and Folayan charged down the field through a gap. Doyle put herself in the right position to accept a no-look offload and dotted down for a 5-0 lead.

Australia took a penalty in the fourth minute and it took just a few seconds for Folayan to reach the try line for a 10-0 lead. Ellie Green’s attempted response for Australia, a long run towards the corner of the try zone, was stopped by Bonny and Kelter, who put the ball back in the Eagles’ hands.

Doyle took the seventh-minute quick tap just outside her own try line and Folayan broke free along the wing to bring the Eagles into Australia’s half. The U.S. held the ball through phases and it eventually fell to Doyle for a 15-0 lead at the half.

Australia’s Sunday also got off to a shaky start with a Cup Quarterfinal loss to Russia, but the Eagles showed more determination to advance to the Plate Final. In the first minute of the second half, Kathryn Johnson corralled the restart for the U.S. Folayan received the ball on the wing, shrugged off Green with a step inside, and stayed out of Charlotte Caslick’s tackle for her second try of the match and a 22-0 lead.

The Eagles kept Australia dormant in the following minutes, and Bonny nearly got on the scoreboard herself with an individual run towards the try line. She was stopped five meters short, but her teammates rushed to support. Irene Gardner ran at the posts and offloaded to Folayan in the tackle for the Eagle’s hat trick and 29-0 lead.

Green managed to pull one back for Australia with a run down the touch line, beating Bui Baravilala and Folayan in the process, while Caslick took advantage of a wide defense following the horn to bring the final score to 29-10.

The Eagles will once again face Canada at the neighbor’s home tournament after an enthralling, 19-15, pool match Saturday. The Plate Final at Westhills Stadium kicks off at 7:28 p.m. ET.

Women’s Eagles Sevens | v. Australia
1. Kathryn Johnson
2. Kelly Griffin
3. Megan Bonny
4. Alev Kelter
5. Akalaini Baravilala
6. Lauren Doyle
7. Victoria Folayan
8. Joanne Fa’avesi
9. Irene Gardner
10. Melissa Fowler
11. Kate Zackary
12. Kristen Thomas

Australia | v. USA
1. Shannon Parry
2. Sharni Williams
3. Tiana Penitani
4. Gemma Etheridge
5. Emma Tonegato
6. Nikki Etheridge
7. Charlotte Caslick
8. Chloe Dalton
9. Amy Turner
10. Alicia Quirk
11. Nicole Beck
12. Ellia Green

Women’s Eagles Sevens | 29
Tries: Doyle (2), Folayan (3)
Conversions: Kelter, Baravilala

Australia | 10
Tries: Green, Caslick
Conversions: N/A

Women’s Eagles Sevens | Canada Women’s Sevens
v. South Africa – W 40-5
v. Russia – W 17-14
v. Canada – L 19-15
Cup Quarterfinal v France – L 17-0
Plate Semifinal v Australia – W 29-10
Plate Final v Canada – Sunday, April 19 – 7:28 p.m. ET

Folayan scores two as Eagles beat South Africa at Canada Women's Sevens

VICTORIA, British Columbia – Five try scorers lifted the Women’s Eagles Sevens to their first victory at Canada Women’s Sevens Saturday, a 40-5 defeat of South Africa.

Leading scorer Victoria Folayan scored twice in the first half and Bui Baravilala and Alev Kelter combined to convert five of the Eagles’ six tries in the match at Westhills Stadium. Ric Suggitt’s squad also beat South Africa by a wide margin – 36-5 – last month at Atlanta 7s, the third round of the 2014-15 World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series.

Phumeza Gadu was responsible for South Africa’s lone highlight of the match with a second-minute try that followed Folayan’s opening score. Lauren Doyle ensured the lead would hold from the ensuing restart with a pacey run down the left-hand touch line to dot down for her 19th career try.

Folayan nearly replicated the same play when the match restarted. Doyle drew the attention of two defenders with a step and a quick offload set Folayan away for her second try and a 21-5 lead at the half.

South Africa managed to hold onto the ball through a few phases to kick off the second half, but the Eagles got it back and extended the lead to 28-5 through Kelter.

Kelly Griffin took the ball into attacking territory in the 12th minute by finding a gap in South Africa’s defense with a change of direction. The Eagles supported their captain in force and the ball came out to Baravilala, who fended off one attempted tackle to score.

Joanne Fa’avesi came off the bench in the second half and got herself on the score sheet with a try in the corner to end the match. The 40-5 win gives the Eagles a positive-35 point differential, good for first in Pool C with Canada’s defeat of Russia netting the host a positive-11 point differential.

The Eagles will continue their Canada Women’s Sevens campaign Saturday against Russia at 6:58 p.m. ET. A live stream from Westhills Stadium can be found on World Rugby’s website, and match updates will be provided on Twitter by @USARugby.

Women’s Eagles Sevens | v. South Africa
1. Kathryn Johnson
2. Kelly Griffin
3. Megan Bonny
4. Alev Kelter
5. Akalaini Baravilala
6. Lauren Doyle
7. Victoria Folayan
8. Joanne Fa’avesi
9. Irene Gardner
10. Melissa Fowler
11. Kate Zackary
12. Kristen Thomas

South Africa | v. USA
1. Sinazo Nobele
2. Rachelle Geldenhuys
3. Sunelle Barnard
4. Fundiswa Plaatjie
5. Zenay Jordaan
6. Veroeshka Grain
7. Phumeza Gadu
8. Kirsten Conrad
9. Lorinda Brown
10. Mathrin Simmers
11. Jackie Kriel
12. Marithay Pienaar

Women’s Eagles Sevens | 40
Tries: Folayan (2), Doyle, Kelter, Baravilala, Fa’avesi
Conversions: Kelter (4), Baravilala

South Africa | 5
Tries: Gadu
Conversions: N/A

Women’s Eagles Sevens | Canada Women’s Sevens
v. South Africa – W 40-5
v. Russia – Saturday, April 18 – 6:28 p.m. ET
v. Canada – Saturday, April 18 – 9:50 p.m. ET

Fowler, Gardner return to Eagles for Canada Women's Sevens

CHULA VISTA, Calif. – Ric Suggitt’s Women’s Eagles Sevens will hope to build on a second-place finish at Atlanta 7s, the third round of the 2014-15 World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, with a strong performance at Canada Women’s Sevens in Langford, British Columbia, April 18 and 19.

Melissa Fowler regains her place in the squad after not being selected for the Eagles’ home tournament earlier this month, while Irene Gardner will make her first appearance with the Eagles since the 2013-14 Series’ Atlanta 7s.

Gardner was a member of the bronze medal-winning Eagles team from the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow, as well as the 2013 USA Rugby Emirates Airline Club 7s National Champions Berkeley All Blues. She was also named most valuable player at the latter tournament.

“[Irene’s] been with us at the last three camps and she’s a very intelligent rugby player,” Suggitt said. “She has a great work rate on the field and has a better attitude off the field than probably anyone I’ve coached.

“We’ve got a good one-two punch, moving Irene into the hooker spot to work in tandem with [Kelly Griffin]. And we know that Irene can always back herself as half back.”

Fowler earned her first cap with the Eagles at Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens in December and scored her first career try against China in the team’s record-breaking win. Suggitt’s squad defeated Russia in the seventh-place playoff for eight points in the Series standings. Fowler also played sparingly in the Eagles’ São Paulo Sevens campaign in February, where a sixth-place finish earned 10 points.

“Having Irene back in the fold gives us more experience on the field,” Suggitt said. “We’ve still got a very young team. We still have a team that’s new to rugby, so having someone like Irene with Grif adds a lot more confidence to our players who are really excelling and learning the game of sevens.”

Bui Baravilala and Kate Zackary each made their season debuts in Atlanta and will return to the squad for the tournament north of the border. Leading points-scorer Victoria Folayan also recovered from a minor injury sustained in the Peach State.

At Westhills Stadium, the Eagles will not face New Zealand in pool play for the first time this season. Pool losses to the reigning Series champion and current table topper have also been followed by losses in the São Paulo Sevens Cup Quarterfinal and Atlanta 7s Cup Final.

Host Canada, ranked second in the standings with three third-place performances this season, will await the Eagles in Pool C. In their sole meeting of the current campaign, the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens Cup Quarterfinal, Canada shut out the U.S., 36-0.

Both Russia and South Africa, pool mates of the U.S. in Atlanta, were also drawn in Pool C. The Eagles will meet Russia for the fifth time this season, having won all four of their previous matchups, while South Africa conceded a Folayan hat trick in a six-try, 36-5, win for the Eagles in Atlanta.

“We have tough teams,” Suggitt said of the Canada Women’s Sevens draw. “It’s going to be a battle in all three games. The girls have done a really good job breaking down the game filim and going through it every morning here before we go out to practice. We hope to be on top of our game and put it together even better than the last tournament, which is always our goal.

“We know we’re in a tough pool, but they also know they’re in a tough pool. We’re not chopped liver; we’re battling for a top-two spot and we’re battling for a top-four spot. That’s where we want to be.”

The Cup Final appearance at Fifth Third Bank Stadium at Kennesaw State University pushed the Eagles to fifth place in the Series standings, two points from fourth, an Olympic-qualifying position.

Watch the fourth leg of the 2014-15 World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series live on World Rugby’s website and follow @USARugby on Twitter for U.S. match updates from Canada Women’s Sevens.

Women’s Eagles Sevens | Canada Women’s Sevens
1. Kathryn Johnson
2. Kelly Griffin
3. Megan Bonny
4. Alev Kelter
5. Akalaini Baravilala
6. Lauren Doyle
7. Victoria Folayan
8. Joanne Fa’avesi
9. Irene Gardner
10. Melissa Fowler
11. Kate Zackary
12. Kristen Thomas

Women’s Eagles Sevens | Coaching Staff
Ric Suggitt – Head Coach
Richie Walker – Assistant Coach
JoAnne Kos – Manager
Nicole Titmas – ATC
Dr. Lisa Bartoli – Team Doctor

Women’s Eagles Sevens | Canada Women’s Sevens
v. South Africa – Saturday, April 18 – 3:28 p.m. ET
v. Russia – Saturday, April 18 – 6:28 p.m. ET
v. Canada – Saturday, April 18 – 9:50 p.m. ET