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USA Women Name Side to Face France

Friday Aug 21, 2009 in Women National Teams

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Oakville, Ont. - USA Women’s national team head coach Kathy Flores has locked in her 22-woman roster for her team’s final Nations Cup match, against France on Saturday at Fletcher’s Field near Toronto, kickoff 2pm Eastern.

The game will be shown live on the Web via USTREAM (http://www.ustream.tv/channel/live-rugby).

Fresh off their last-second 15-10 victory over Canada on Wednesday, the USA vaulted to second place in the points standings and now stands a solid chance of finishing runners up to defending champions England, who locked up the title with a third bonus point victory earlier in the week.

“Our final match against France will be hotly contested,” said Flores. “The USA can remain in second place with a win even if Canada is to beat England. France can be very contentious at the breakdown and are unafraid to run from anywhere on the field so we will have to remain vigilant if we are to continue to be successful.”

Heading into the 2010 World Cup year, the Eagles’ final Nations Cup outing will serve as an important measuring stick for the months ahead. It is the first time the USA has faced France since the 2002 Women’s Rugby World Cup (WRWC) in Spain, when France upended the USA 21-9.

The tough French side has finished in third place at four of the five previous WRWC events, including in 2006, when the USA finished in fifth behind North American rivals Canada.

In naming her starters for Saturday, Flores harkens back to the lineup that shut out South Africa on August 16.

Leading the pack, Farrah Douglas reclaims her spot at loosehead prop, along with Kittery Wagner at hooker. After putting in some quality minutes off the bench versus Canada, Jamie Burke gets a start at tighthead prop.

The second row mixes youth with experience, featuring former USA U20 player Stacey Bridges at lock, along with Beckett Royce, who makes the move inside from the flanker role she has held throughout the tournament.

After getting her first international start at No. 8 against Canada on Wednesday, Mel Denham moves to blindside flanker and Kristin Zdanczewicz retains her spot on the openside, while Blair Groefsema rounds out the pack at No. 8.

Kim Magrini leads the backs at scrumhalf, along with Stephanie Bruce, who kicked for five of the USA’s 15 points against Canada, at flyhalf. Victoria Folayan and Ashley Kmiecik will see time on the wings, with Mel Kanuk and Lynelle Kugler back in the center.

Christy Ringgenberg, who had 14 points against South Africa earlier in the tournament, returns to the starting fullback role.

Stacy Baker, Lisa Butts, Sharon Blaney and Phaidra Knight could also see time in the pack off the bench. While the USA also gets an added boost from Claudia Braymer, Amy Daniels and Ashley English as replacement backs.

USA Lineup:
1. Farrah Douglas, 2. Kitt Wagner, 3. Jamie Burke, 4. Stacey Bridges, 5. Beckett Royce, 6. Me Denham, 7. Kristin Zdanczewicz, 8. Blair Groesfsema, 9. Kim Magrini, 10. Stephanie Bruce, 11. Ashley Kmiecik, 12. Mel Kanuk, 13. Lynelle Kugler, 14. Victoria Folayan, 15. Christy Ringgenberg

16. Stacy Baker, 17. Lisa Butts, 18. Sharon Blaney, 19. Phaidra Knight, 20. Claudia Braymer, 21. Amy Daniels, 22. Ashley English


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