Sunday, September 5, 2010

Eagles finish Cup in fifth place

9.5.10 - from USA
GUILDFORD, UK - The Eagles hit their stride in the final match and played well when it really mattered. This was the Eagles' most tightly contested match of the World Cup with the USA and Canada switching the lead frequently throughout the match.
The Canadians struck early, having scored a penalty, a try, and a conversion within the first ten minutes of the match. Down by ten points early, the USA needed to wake up. And fast. Thanks to the boot of the American flyhalf, Christy Ringgenberg, the USA was brought back into the match. The pivot slotted two penalties for her side and brought the USA within four points. Canadian center, Sarah Ulmer, was carded in the 25th minute and would spend ten minutes in the bin, giving the Americans a one player advantage which they would capitalize on. Ashley English gave the USA the lead as she scored in the 30th minute, a missed conversion brought the scores to 11-10. The Canadians would answer back with a try of their own as the Canadian second-rower Megan Gibbs went over in the 35th minute. The conversion was good, and the scores at halftime were USA 11, Canada 17.
The second half would be a different story. The USA came out of halftime with an impetus that was slow to come in the first half. Inside center, Lynelle Kugler went over in the second minute of the half and a conversion from Ringgenberg brought the scores to 18-17 and a nail-biting finish to the match. Speedster Vanesha McGee added another try to the American tally only five minutes after Kugler's try. Ringgenberg's conversion wouldn't hit the mark. With a score of 23-17, the Americans maintained a lead, allowing only another penalty for the Canadians in the 66th minute. Canada was within three points for rest of the match, but the American lines held off the Canadians and would finish with a final score of 23-20.
"We are really proud of how the team came together for our last World Cup match. Today we played smart rugby, maintained possession, and came out with a win," said captain Ashley English.
Head coach Kathy Flores was pleased with the win, and also gracious to the Canadians, a team she has come to know extremely well both as a player and as a coach.
"Ultimately, I'm happy we maintained our fifth place standing. I know the players have grown with each International experience. We knew the match would be tight, and as much as we are rivals, we greatly appreciate having Canada as a consistent opponent," said head coach, Kathy Flores.
The Eagles finished the Women's Rugby World Cup with a 3-2 record, with the two losses coming in pool play. The losses to England and Ireland shut out American hopes for a semi-final berth, but the USA reacted to the two consecutive losses well. In their second match against Ireland, the USA came away with a 37 point victory, showing what the Eagles could do. In a tightly contested fifth place playoff, they showed that they had the skill and the character to overcome adversity and put in an enormous effort in a rivalry on the World stage.

  1. FARRAH DOUGLAS - AT LARGE (Replaced by Vivolo, 68')
  2. LISA BUTTS - BERKELEY ALL-BLUES (Replaced by Wallace, 54')
  7. BECKETT ROYCE - ORSU (Replaced by Knight, 45')
  11. NATHALIE MARCHINO - BERKELEY ALL-BLUES (Replaced by Folayan, 64')
  16. MAURIN WALLACE - BEANTOWN (Replaced Lisa Butts, 54')
  17. LARA VIVOLO - NEW YORK (Replaced Douglas, 68')
  19. PHAIDRA KNIGHT - NEW YORK (Replaced Royce, 45')
  22. VICTORIA FOLAYAN - BERKELEY ALL-BLUES (Replaced Marchino, 64')
Tries: English (30'), Kugler (42'), McGee (47') Conversions: Ringgenberg (43')
Penalties: Ringgenberg (16', 20')

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

USA Exact Revenge on Ireland

9.1.10 - from USA
GUILDFORD, UK - The Women's National Team came out on top of their rematch with Ireland in the Women's Rugby World Cup. With a final score of 40-3, the Eagles righted mistakes made in their previous pool play meeting. As a result, the Eagles will face Canada on September 5 in the 5th place playoff match. The Eagles came out aggressively from the start with backs and forwards linking up on attack. Ireland had moments of effectiveness in slowing down the ball, but the Eagles were overall able to control the pace of the match. Victoria Folayan scored on a phenomenal run beating two Irish defenders with pure speed and fending off a third before crossing the line. This early backline attack put the Eagles up 5-0. At the midway point, the USA was awarded a scrum within five meters. Ireland collapsed the resulting maul under pressure awarding a penalty try to the Americans. Christy Ringgenberg added the extra points, and the score was 14-0. Ireland stayed in the match with a well struck penalty kick by Niamh Briggs, which would be Ireland's only points of the match. Just before the break, the USA would launch a devastating attack involving Ringgenberg linking with center Amy Daniels to add five more to the point total. The score at the half way mark was 21-3 in favor of the Eagles.
In the second half, the Americans managed to prevent Ireland from scoring despite a string of penalties and quality ball retention by their opponents. The Eagles struggled to remain disciplined in contact, but were able to absorb the Irish momentum. After winning possession, the USA made use of their potent backline as Folayan burst through two Irish defenders to offload to Daniels in support for the try. After a series of scrums, Claudia Braymer spread the ball wide to set up Folayan who used blistering pace to score in the corner. Ringgenberg's kick sailed wide and the score sat at 33-3. Replacement Vanesha McGee contributed in the final minutes by striding through a tackle to score the last try of the match. Ringgenberg tacked-on another conversion to complete the scoring at 40 - 3.
"After a tough performance against England, we were able to bounce back and take advantage of having a second chance at Ireland. We are happy with the result and look forward to playing Canada for 5th place," said head coach, Kathy Flores.
"We are really pleased with the tries scored and improvements in ball retention. Some work needs to be done on cleaning up around the breakdown and finding the balance between aggression and discipline to be ready for our next match against Canada. We are excited for our next challenge," said captain, Ashley English.
The USA now faces familiar foe Canada, who were able to secure their top six finish by defeating Scotland. The North American contest for 5th place will take place on Sunday in Guildford at Surrey Sports Park.
Match Details
USA 40, Ireland 3
USA 10
Tries: Folayan (2), Penalty Try Awarded, Daniels (2), McGee
Conversions: Ringgenberg (5)
Ireland 3
Penalties: Briggs (1)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

USA announces side for Ireland rematch

8.31.10 - from USA
GUILDFORD, UK - The U.S. Women's National Team has been presented with an opportunity for redemption in a rematch against the Irish at Surrey Sports Park. Momentum gained from their last pool play match will bring them one step closer to a 5th place finish in the Women's Rugby World Cup. Results of this test will dictate their next opponent, depending on the outcome of the Canada versus Scotland, and will also impact the final tournament rankings.
The U.S. met Ireland in the second round of pool play and came away with a disappointing 22-12 loss. Commitment to the task and self-reflection resulted in a much stronger performance against England as the Eagles managed to score the only points against the tournament leaders in their nationally broadcast Pool B closing match with a final score of 37-10. The Irish drew Kazakhstan as their final pool play opponent and defeated them with little trouble by posting a 37-3 result.
"We are excited to have a second chance against Ireland. We have reviewed film, recognized our mistakes, and are looking forward to capitalizing on the corrections we were able to make against England," said head coach Kathy Flores.
The front row will relish another opportunity to test the Irish scrum with Farrah Douglas returning at loosehead prop and Mari Wallace back at hooker. Lara Vivolo will join them with fresh legs at tighthead prop.
Blair Groefsema and Sharon Blaney will team up once more to provide resolute strength in the second row. Blindside flanker, Kristin Zdanczewicz, will launch from the back row with assistance from openside, Beckett Royce, and Mel Denham at number eight.
Scrumhalf Kim Magrini will push the tempo alongside Christy Ringgenberg at flyhalf, while Nathalie Marchino and Vix Folayan cover the wings. Emilie Bydwell will handle the inside center position with support from Amy Daniels at outside. Ashley English completes the back triangle at fullback.
"It's not often in rugby that we get the chance to play an international squad again so soon. We are looking forward to the rematch against Ireland. We'll be focusing on cleaning up our penalties around the breakdown, while still playing aggressive, physical defense. On offense, we'll look to maintain possession of the ball in contact, and getting the ball into the try zone," said team captain, English.
USA versus Ireland will take place at 4:30 p.m. GMT on the main pitch at Surrey Sports Park to account for the high volume of supporters from both nations. Match updates will be provided via Twitter (@USAEaglesRugby) and The Official USA Rugby Fan Facebook page at


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Women Eagles in Rematch with Ireland

US Anthem

The Women Eagles before their match against England. Despite putting the only points against England in this tournament, the US fell to 10-37.

Women Eagles in Rematch with Ireland

from USA
GUILDFORD, UK - USA dropped their final Pool B match against England, who will enter the semi finals as the top seed of the Women's Rugby World Cup. The four teams to go through to the semi-finals include New Zealand, France, Australia, and England. The Women Eagles, while disappointed in the result, produced an exciting display of rugby fit for a nationwide broadcast.
England's Danielle Waterman drew first blood in the first five minutes utilizing blistering speed to the outside. Katy McLean added three more points with a well-struck penalty making the score 8-0 in favor of England. The Women Eagles responded midway through the first half with a try by Nathalie Marchino. The wing broke through initially, setting up several successful phases and worked her way back into play to finish the move with a try in the corner.
England countered by scoring with five minutes remaining in the half to extend their lead to 13-5. McLean weighted a grubber kick perfectly for Merchant who touched down for the score. USA then went down a player after Marchino was yellow carded and England took full advantage with another try from Waterman. The fullback evaded several defenders before scoring under the posts and the half would close with England leading 20-5.
The USA began the second half with fierce aggression and commitment in the tackle as the English Roses suffered a few early mishandles. Ten minutes into the second half, English center, Emily Scarratt, righted the situation by breaking two tackles and sprinting to the line to give England a 25-5 lead. At the 60 minute mark, despite another yellow card dealt to the Americans, the Women Eagles scored their second try through a dedicated effort by Kim Magrini. Christy Ringgenberg's boot gave the USA possession around England's 22 meter line to lead into some open play, with Magrini diving in for the try, making the score 25-10.
England's final phases produced well-worked tries by Amber Penrith, who was able to beat the USA defense outside, and Maggie Alphonsi who side-stepped her way into another five points. The final whistle sounded and England had defeated the USA with a score of 37-10.
"I'm pleased with our performance as we proved we were able to bounce back from a disheartening second round match. We were able to score and defend against England, one of the top ranked teams in the tournament, and we forced them to bring their best game to earn the win. We believe we are in a positive position leading into next week," said Eagle head coach, Kathy Flores.
With the final pool play points tallied, the Women Eagles have earned a second chance against Ireland in a battle for placement amongst the fifth to eighth seeds. England will look forward to a semifinal against Australia. The USA will take on Ireland one more time on Wednesday September 1, hopefully with a better result than their previous encounter. The USA lost their second Pool B match against the Irish 22-12 on August 24.
USA 10, England 37
USA 10
Tries: Marchino, Magrini
England 37
Tries: Waterman (2), Scarratt, Merchant, Penrith, Alphonsi
Penalties: McLean
Conversions: McLean 2

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Semi Finals Set for World Cup

IRB WRWC 2010 Logo from
8.28.10 - Hosts England will face Australia in one semi final, with New Zealand taking on France in the other after a dramatic climax to the pool stages of Women's Rugby World Cup 2010 before a sell-out crowd at Surrey Sports Park in Guildford.
England are the top seeds after the pool stages, by virtue of a better point differential than New Zealand, after both finished with a maximum 15 points, two more than France who are the other Pool winner.
Three-time defending champions New Zealand will face France in the first semi final at the Twickenham Stoop on Wednesday 1, September at 18:00 local time, before England take on Australia at 20:15 local time.
New Zealand were the first to confirm their place after beating Wales 41-8 to top Pool A, swiftly followed by France who overcame Canada 23-8 in the Pool C decider with England the final Pool winner to be confirmed after a 37-10 defeat of the USA.
The race to secure the remaining semi final spot, as the best second placed team across the pools, was a complex one with Canada initially holding it before Australia stuck to their task and beat South Africa 62-0, surpassing the 56-point margin they needed at the death to end Canada's hopes.
Ireland were another side in contention for the coveted spot, but despite beating Kazakhstan 37-3 were well short of their required point target, leaving them to battle it out for fifth to eighth places with Canada, USA and Scotland.
South Africa, Wales, Sweden and Kazakhstan will play-off for ninth to 12th places.
For more RWC Women's news go to

Friday, August 27, 2010

U.S. Women's National Team Recovers and Makes Ready for England

England Jersey Ceremony
Coach Alex Williams, Nathalie Marchino, Blair Groefsema, Victoria Folayan, Ashley English and other friends and family members at during tonight's team announcement for tomorrow's England match.
Photo: Bill English © 2010

U.S. Women's National Team Recovers and Makes Ready for England

8.27.10 - from USA
GUILDFORD, UK - USA Rugby's Women's National Team has regrouped from a difficult loss to Ireland to name an official roster for the final round of Women's Rugby World Cup pool play against England. This crucial match will determine the USA's fate in terms of a possible semi-final appearance and will be broadcast on Universal Sports channel at 10 p.m. EST.
England currently holds the lead in Pool B with a convincing 12-try win over Kazakhstan and a more challenging 27-0 contest against Ireland. USA found a similar result against Kazakhstan with an impressive 51-0 offensive display. Their second pool play match offered a different outcome as Ireland was able to capitalize on the USA's mistakes and come away winners with a score of 22-12. The Women Eagles intend to regain their form by improving their ball retention, while maintaining their focus under pressure.
"The energy is high and the players are ready to play to the best of their abilities. We are looking forward to an elevated game of rugby and showcasing what this team can do when faced with a challenge," said head coach, Kathy Flores.
The tight five will look to carry over their strong scrum performance against Ireland against a technically sound English side.- Farrah Douglas will remain at loosehead prop with Lisa Butts getting the nod at hooker. Jamie Burke will once again provide leadership up front at tighthead.
Blaire Groefsema and Sharon Blaney will provide raw power as the locks, while blindside flanker, Phaidra Knight, and openside, Kristin Zdanczewicz, will amp up the intensity in the backrow. Mel Denham solidifies the forward pack at number 8. Kim Magrini, as scrumhalf, will work to distribute clean ball to flyhalf, Christy Ringgenberg. Nathalie Marchino joins Vanesha McGee, who showed great pace against Ireland in a late USA rally, on the wing. Lynelle Kugler will move in one spot to inside center to team up with Amy Daniels at outside. Ashley English completes the roster as team captain and full back. A change to the overall squad due to injury has also been confirmed as Ashley Kmiecik suffered multiple facial fractures during match play against Kazakhstan. Reserve player, Hannah Stolba, has been called up to provide assistance throughout the tournament.

Webcast Details

USA versus England is scheduled to kick off at 6:30 GMT and will be broadcast nation wide at 10 p.m. EST via Universal Sports ( and streamed online at Match updates will also be provided via Twitter (@USAEaglesRugby) and the Official USA Rugby Fan Facebook page.

Matches are Sold Out

from - For the third match day in succession tournament organisers have confirmed that the full house signs will be up at Surrey Sports Park on Saturday, August 28 as the pool phase of Women's Rugby World Cup 2010 reaches a dramatic conclusion.
In the race for semi final places defending champions New Zealand will face Wales (14.00 local time), while Australia take on South Africa (16.15) in Pool A.
Pool B sees hosts England face USA (18.30) with Ireland playing Kazakhstan (16.30) with all but the Asian champions still in with a chance of reaching the final four.
The Pool C decider will see France play Canada (14.15) for the automatic semi final spot, after Scotland play Sweden (12.00) in the opening game of the day. For more RWC Women's news go to
  1. FARRAH DOUGLAS - At Large
  2. LISA BUTTS - Berkeley All-Blues
  3. JAMIE BURKE - Beantown
  4. BLAIRE GROEFSEMA - Berkeley All-Blues
  5. SHARON BLANEY - Beantown
  6. PHAIDRA KNIGHT - New York
  7. KRISTIN ZDANCZEWICZ - Minnesota Valkyries
  8. MELANIE DENHAM - Beantown
  9. KIM MAGRINI - Keystone
  10. CHRISTY RINGGENBERG - Minnesota Valkyries
  11. NATHALIE MARCHINO - Berkeley All-Blues
  12. LYNELLE KUGLER - Twin Cities Amazons
  13. AMY DANIELS - Beantown
  14. VANESHA MCGEE - New York
  15. ASHLEY ENGLISH - Berkeley All-Blues
  16. MAURIN WALLACE - Beantown
  17. LARA VIVOLO - New York
  18. KITTERY WAGNER - Beantown
  19. STACEY BRIDGES - At Large
  20. CLAUDIA BRAYMER - Albany
  21. MELISSA KANUK - Minnesota Valkyries
  22. VICTORIA FOLAYAN - Berkeley All-Blues

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Superman has super human strength, can fly and is invincible. On earth he is one of the strongest people (alien super hero really but, just let me claim him for the human race ok?). His only weakness is Kryptonite. What sets Superman apart from his villain (Lex Luther) is confidence.  Villains are mostly arrogant and a little evil. The big difference between confidence and arrogance is that confident people have the ability to admit weaknesses and work through it. Arrogant people do everything they can to cover up any sign of short comings.  If you want to be truly strong you must admit you have a weakness. Superman knows that Kryptonite is his weakness and thus conquers all villains.

During the three week residency at Bowdoin College in Maine, the WNT players had to harness our Superhero qualities to make it through tough practices day after day. I asked several teammates what their Kryptonite is. Here are their answers:
Check out the video on

Ireland Tops USA Women

Photo: Bill English © 2010

from USA
8.25.10 - GUILDFORD, UK - The United States women couldn't overcome a spirited Irish side in their second match of the Women's Rugby World Cup. With a final score of 12-22, the USA are now in a difficult position as far as pool play is concerned as they approach their match against England on Saturday.
Confidence was high going in to the match against Ireland as the USA was coming off a 51-0 victory over Kazakhstan. However, as head coach Kathy Flores predicted, the Irish defense was tenacious and a number of missed opportunities led to an unfavorable result.
Coach Flores Ireland number eight, Joy Neville, celebrated earning her 50th international cap by scoring early in the match, while Niamh Briggs missed the conversion as the Women Eagles found themselves down by five points. Prop Jamie Burke, amongst a mass of USA forwards, would drive over the try line and Mel Kanuk would tack-on another two points with a successful conversion. The Irish fullback, Briggs, would atone for her missed conversion earlier in the match with ball in-hand as she scored in the 35th minute. Her kick would sail wide as the score held at 7-10 in favor of Ireland going in to the half.
"At the half we stressed the importance of capitalizing on our opportunities. We were struggling to retain possession and the penalty count was becoming a major factor," said head coach, Kathy Flores.
Five minutes in to the second half, Neville would score her second try of the match with Briggs failing to convert. Several changes in possession tempered by a flurry of handling errors went on throughout the match. The Irish scored their final try, courtesy of scrumhalf Tania Rosser, on a quick penalty and Briggs' conversion found the mark. With an Irish victory on the horizon, USA refused to back down as winger Vanesha McGee scored in the 73rd minute. The late offensive burst by the USA would not be enough to overcome the point deficit as Mel Kanuk's conversion missed. The score was 12-22 and would remain unchanged until the final whistle.
"You have to give credit to Ireland for playing a solid, all-around game; now we have to do our best to look forward to the next match," said head coach, Kathy Flores.
"We made a lot of mistakes, especially with our handling, and Ireland was able to take advantage. We had some opportunities to score, but we just couldn't put enough points on the board. Preparation for England has new meaning starting tomorrow," said captain Ashley English.
The Eagles face tournament hosts England on Saturday and will be broadcast at 10 p.m. EST on Universal Sports. For listings in your local area, visit the Universal Sports website, or follow this link:

Final - USA 12, Ireland 22

  1. Farrah Douglas - Keystone
  2. Maurin Wallace - Beantown
  3. Jamie Burke - Beantown (Replaced by Reddick, 50')
  4. Stacey Bridges - Texas A&M
  5. Beckett Royce - ORSU Rugby Club (Replaced by Blaney, 46')
  6. Melanie Denham - Beantown (Replaced by Knight, 64')
  7. Kittery Wagner - Beantown
  8. Blair Groefsema - Berkeley All-Blues
  9. Claudia Braymer - Albany Sirens
  10. Christy Ringgenberg - Minnesota Valkyries
  11. Victoria Folayan - Berkeley All-Blues (Replaced by Marchino, 54')
  12. Melissa Kanuk - Minnesota Valkyries
  13. Lynelle Kugler - Twin Cities Amazons
  14. Vanesha McGee - New York
  15. Ashley English - Berkeley All-Blues
  16. Lisa Butts - Berkeley All-Blues
  17. Naima Reddick - Berkeley All-Blues (Replaced Burke, 50')
  18. Sharon Blaney - Beantown (Replaced Royce, 46')
  19. Phaidra Knight - New York (Replaced Denham, 64')
  20. Kim Magrini - Keystone
  21. Amy Daniels - Beantown
  22. Nathalie Marchino - Berkeley All-Blues (Replaced Folayan, 54')
Tries: Jamie Burke (17' ), Vanesha McGee (73') Conversions: Mel Kanuk (18')
  1. Fiona Coghlan (Captain)
  2. Gillian Bourke
  3. Louise Austin (Replaced by Fanning, 64')
  4. Kate O'Loughlin
  5. Marie Louise Reilly (Replaced by Mahon, 64')
  6. Orla Brennan (Replaced by Ryan, 71')
  7. Claire Molloy
  8. Joy Neville
  9. Tania Rosser (Replaced by Beamish, 74')
  10. Helen Brosnan (Replaced by Houston, 68')
  11. Nora Stapleton
  12. Lynne Cantwell
  13. Jo O'Sullivan
  14. Amy Davis (Replaced by Kelly, 64')
  15. Niamh Briggs
  16. Chris Fanning (Replaced Austin 64')
  17. Laura Guest
  18. Caroline Mahon (Replaced Reilly, 64')
  19. Sinead Ryan (Replaced Brennan, 71')
  20. Louise Beamish (Replaced Rosser, 74')
  21. Shannon Houston (Replaced Brosnan, 68')
  22. Mairead Kelly (Replaced Davis, 64')
Tries: Joy Neville (6'), Niamh Briggs (35'), Joy Neville (45'), Tania Rosser (53') Conversions: Niamh Briggs (54')

Monday, August 23, 2010

WNT Announces Squad to Face Ireland

(Bill English Photo) GUILDFORD, UK - The Women's Rugby World Cup moves forward as the U.S. Women's National Team announce the squad to face Ireland at the Surrey Sports Complex in Guildford, England on Tuesday, August 24 at 4:30 p.m. GMT (11:15 a.m. EST). Head Coach, Kathy Flores, has made changes from their successful day one appearance against Kazakhstan to match up against the dogged Irish defense. “We expect the Irish to be extremely passionate and fight for every ball they can get, so it is important that we counter their aggression,” Flores said.
Irelandwas defeated by England on day one of Women’s Rugby World Cup action with a score of 27-0.  The physical and committed Irish side held strong until the final minutes giving up a late try and bonus point to the tournament hosts.  The U.S., coming off a 51-0 route of Kazakhstan, will be looking to lessen their penalty count, while continuing to deploy an explosive offensive arsenal against their second Pool B opponent.    
 “We are building on the positive aspects of our last match and looking forward to improving our attack, while stepping up our defense against a strong Irish side,” said captain, Ashley English.     
The front row will be led by Farrah Douglas at loosehead prop, Mari Wallace at hooker, and Jamie Burke at tighthead.
Locks Stacey Bridges and Beckett Royce will provide the drive needed to control the Irish scrum with assistance from blindside flanker Mel Denham and openside flanker, Kitt Wagner.  Blair Groefsema will direct the back row at number eight.   
The backline will continue to attack with new leadership from Claudia Braymer at scrumhalf and tournament high-scorer, Christy Ringgenberg, at flyhalf.  Vanesha McGee will switch in to join Victoria Folayan on the wings. The center pairing also changes to include Melissa Kanuk at inside and Lynelle Kugler at outside.  Team captain, Ashley English, will direct the back triangle at fullback.
The USA will face Ireland as the fifth match of the day in the second round of Women’s Rugby World Cup pool play action.  To receive real-time match information follow the official USA Rugby fan updates on Twitter (@USAEaglesRugby) and Facebook.
1.  FARRAH DOUGLAS - Keystove
2.  MAURIN WALLACE - Beantown
3.  JAMIE BURKE - Beantown
6.  MELANIE DENHAM - Beantown
7.  KITTERY WAGNER - Beantown
8. BLAIR GROEFSEMA – Berkeley All-Blues
9. CLAUDIA BRAYMER – Albany Sirens
10. CHRISTY RINGGENBERG – Minnesota Valkyries
11. VICTORIA FOLAYAN – Berkeley All-Blues
12. MELISSA KANUK – Minnesota Valkyries
13. LYNELLE KUGLER – Twin Cities Amazons
14. VANESHA MCGEE – New York
15. ASHLEY ENGLISH – Berkeley All-Blues
16. LISA BUTTS – Berkeley All-Blues
17. NAIMA REDDICK – Berkeley All-Blues
18. SHARON BLANEY - Beantown
20. KIM MAGRINI - Keystone
21. AMY DANIELS - Beantown
22. NATHALIE MARCHINO – Berkeley All-Blues           

IRB Spotlight: Christy Ringgenberg

Ringgenberg looks for more from the USA Women
(iRB.COM)  Sunday August 22, 2010
By Francesca Waite
From Surrey Sports Park

USA kicked off their Women's Rugby World Cup 2010 campaign with a 51-0 defeat of Kazakhstan, but fly half Christy Ringgenberg insists there is still plenty they need to work on before facing Ireland in their second Pool B match on Tuesday.

Ringgenberg scored two tries in a personal haul of 26 points against the Asian champions, but despite the seven-try performance and collection of what could be a vital try-scoring bonus point in the race for the semi finals, the fly half knows there is always room for improvement.

"We did some things we haven't done in the past, we put some numbers on the board and that was a confidence builder for us," explained Ringgenberg, the leading point scorer in the tournament after matchday one.

"Looking back at the tape I think there are some things we have to clean up and we did that at practice today.

"There was some worry [at half time against Kazakhstan]. We needed to attack a lot more than we were doing and we came out pretty flat. The penalty count kind of got up on our heels a little bit so in the second half we were able to get the momentum again and really pull forward.

Ireland a step up

"I realise there is still a lot of hard work to do in the next couple of games. It's going to be very different for me and I'm going to have to switch my thinking into setting up my teammates a little bit more."

The 27-year-old knows that Ireland will be a different prospect to Kazakhstan, particularly after the disappointment of losing 27-0 to hosts England despite playing some good rugby and defending resolutely at Surrey Sports Park.

"Ireland played a very physical game against England and I think they will come out against us again with that same strength and so we've really got to step it up a level to compete with them in the next game," admitted Ringgenberg.

"I think we have to be a lot more physical. Our tackling was a little bit suspect in the Kazakhstan game so I think we need to be a little bit more physically courageous against Ireland.

"They are very good at the breakdown and they handle the breakdown very, very well and I think we have got to be prepared to defensively handle them around the breakdown.

Stars and stripes

"I think if we are going to succeed against them we are going to have to tackle a little bit more through the centres as well as opening up our wings a little bit more, giving them more space."

Ringgenberg, who plays for the Minnesota Valkyries back home, is also hoping to see the Stars and Stripes out in force in the crowd again to counter the green army of Ireland, although perhaps wrapped up a little warmer than the bikinis they donned on day one.

"I was surprised at how many fans came over to support us this time around. I hope some of the fans put warmer clothing on but they looked like they had a lot of fun! Whatever it takes to have fun. American sports fans are hardcore and I'm glad they are hardcore for our team right now.

"It's a huge boost just to know that our country is behind us and that a whole entire club team came over to see us play, that is the commitment that we have, that the rugby community in the States has, so it's really inspiring to see that they came out here."

Link to the IRB.COM article here

IN THE NEWS: Mari Wallace

Rugby Ready

Rugby ReadyTraining for the Women's Rugby World Cup, Friedman School student Maurin Wallace reflects on the challenges and advantages of being the underdog.
Boston [08.18.10] Some days, Maurin Wallace (N'11) feels like she is living the story of David and Goliath. Truth is she wouldn't want it any other way.

As a frontline defensive player for the U.S. Women's National Rugby team, Wallace, a second-year student in the Agriculture, Food and Environment Program at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, says she appreciates the team's underdog status as they head into the World Cup on August 20 in London. The inaugural Women's Rugby World Cup was held in Cardiff in 1991, and since 1994, the tournament has been held every four years, similar to soccer's World Cup.
"We are up against countries where rugby is the national sport, so while my team grew up watching basketball and baseball, theirs grew up emulating famous rugby players," Wallace laughs. "These are also countries that are much smaller geographically than us, so they can get together and train a lot easier than we can here in the U.S.
"I'm excited, though, because I feel like this year we are putting a team out there that is up to par."

A Change in Plans
For most of Wallace's life, the California native was a devout soccer player, spending her entire high school career in the mindset that the sport would play a big role in her undergraduate college selection.
"My senior year of high school I got a back injury that put me out of soccer for many months prior to the walk-on trials at University of California, San Diego, so I didn't make the team," she says. "After that, I just happened to see a flyer for rugby and thought, 'tackling, running around, everything I think I wished soccer was,'-I was immediately hooked."
Since then, Wallace says she has tried to get as much rugby action as possible, playing for San Diego club teams and working her way to the national team through her performance in regional competitions. Eventually, she was among a pool of 25 to 30 players to compete internationally.

Having competed in her first World Cup in 2006, Wallace says she feels this year's team is truly up for the challenge.


Friday, August 20, 2010

USA Women Dominate Kazakhstan in Opener

Matches are being played in Surrey Sports Park, Guildford, England

USA Women Dominate Kazakhstan in Opener

8.20.10 - from USA

GUILDFORD, England - The USA Rugby Women's National Team defeated Kazakhstan by a score of 51- 0 at Surrey Sports Park in Guildford. Christy Ringgenberg tallied 26 points and involved many of her teammates in attack to secure a massive victory in the opener.

The scoring started off the boot of Ringgenberg as she slotted a penalty kick, capitalizing on an early Kazakhstan infraction. With a quick break down the touch line, Nathalie Marchino went over for the first try of the day. Ringgenberg converted and the Eagles found themselves ahead with seven points. Ringgenberg was not only a threat at kicking for points, but with ball in hand, she proved to be extremely evasive. The USA continued the attack after a short lapse in momentum due to frustrating penalties. Ringgenberg added another three points just before the half, making it 13-0.

"We struggled with adjustment around the breakdown at first in terms of penalties, but we were able to solve the issue, making it easier for our backs to run free," said Head Coach, Kathy Flores.

Ringgenberg added, "We feel like one of our strengths is getting the ball to the outside and we have been working to involve the wings more; we are refining our attack with every new opportunity."

Second half scoring started very shortly after the restart with Victoria Folayan breaking the line and Ringgenberg finishing with a try. With a successful conversion, the score was 20-0 as the Eagles began to pull away. Marchino and Amy Daniels stopped the attack of Kazakhstan with chasing tackles and stout defense all around. A try by fullback Ashley Kmiecik and a conversion gave the USA a 27 point lead. Flanker Phaidra Knight drove over the try line for another five points, but the conversion missed, putting the Eagles ahead, 32-0. The USA continued to go forward and Ringgenberg went over for another try thanks to her captain, Jamie Burke, who broke play wide open with a strong forward charge. Burke was replaced by Farrah Douglas as Ringgenberg slotted the conversion.

"So many of our points came out of necessary adjustments. We were able to find the right mix of attack and ball retention when it was needed," said match captain, Burke.

Marchino continued her impressive form as she offloaded to Daniels to bring the tally to 44 points for the USA. Marchino then found her own reward while sprinting over for a try with time winding down. Women Eagles veteran, Ashley English, came on shortly after to build towards the USA's next match against Ireland on Tuesday, August 20, 2010. With one last successful Ringgenberg conversion, the scoring ended with the USA racking up a total of 51 points against Kazakhstan.

Pool B Report from the IRB Women's World Cup.

USA 51, Kazakhstan 0

Trys: Marchino (2), Ringgenberg (2), Kmiecik, Knight, Daniels

Conversions: Ringgenberg (5) Penalties: Ringgenberg (2)

USA: 1. Jamie Burke (Farrah Douglas), 2. Lisa Butts, 3. Naima Reddick, 4. Beckett Royce (Stacey Bridges), 5. Sharon Blaney, 6. Phaidra Knight, 7. Kristin Zdanczewicz (Kittery Wagner), 8. Mel Denham, 9. Kim Magrini, 10. Christy Ringgenberg, 11. Victoria Folayan, 12. Emilie Bydwell, 13. Amy Daniels, 14. Nathalie Marchino, 15. Ashley Kmiecik (Ashley English).

Kazakhstan: 1. Natalya Kamendrovskaya, 2. Tatyana Ashikhmina, 3. Tatyana Pshenichnaya, 4. Svetlana Karatygina, 5. Marianna Balashova, 6. Alfiya Mustafina, 7. Irina Radzivil, 8. Anna Yakovleva, 9. Anastassiya Khamova, 10. Tatyana Tur, 11. Irina Amossova, 12. Amina Baratova, 13. Olga Kumanikina, 14. Svetlana Klyucknikova, 15. Aigerym Daurembayeva.

Day 1 World Cup Scores

England 27 - Ireland 0
France 15 - Sweden 9
New Zealand 55 - South Africa 3
US 51 - Kazakhstan 0
Canada 37 - Scotland 10
Wales 12 - Australia 26

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Calm, Cool and Collected.

Eagle Women Ready for a Statement vs Kazakhstan

by Jackie Finlan
Rugby Magazine
August 19, 2010

Taking a snapshot of the scene - young athletes cycling through a trendy Starbuck's lounge - one might confuse this Thursday evening with a typical night in the States. But let the footage roll and notice that the clientele isn't random. A smattering of Women's Rugby World Cup players in their countries' gear populate the Surrey Sports Park (Guildford, England) coffee house, sipping on pricey juice, reposing with family members (Oh! That's England captain Catherine Spencer hugging in the corner), and allowing a charged calmness settle into their bones as a night's rest precedes tomorrow's Game One.

Twenty-two-year-old Stacy Bridges, vice captain Jamie Burke and three-time WRWC veteran Phaidra Knight joined me in Starbucks after the USA's jersey ceremony. All three are on the roster for tomorrow's game against Kazakhstan, and all three represent different elements on the team. Bridges, the youngest of the bunch, will get her first taste of World Cup rugby tomorrow; Burke, in her second WRWC, diversifies her veteranship with forwards-captain status; and Knight, the leading cap-holder on the squad, isn't swayed by pressure and knows her role as an impact player and example.

All three are surprisingly calm, if not sedate. "When we're together, we balance each other out," Burke explains. "We have high-energy and calmer influences on the team, so between the two, we're able to self regulate."


WNT Releases Roster for World Cup Opener

The Women Eagles take on Kazakhstan this Friday, August 20 at Surrey Sports Park in Guildford. Shown here in June 2010, lining up against Canada. Photo courtesy: Bill English

WNT Releases Roster for World Cup Opener

8.19.10 - from USA

The USA Women's National Team expects a highly physical encounter with Kazakhstan in the first Pool B match of the 2010 Women's Rugby World Cup.

GUILDFORD, England - USA Rugby Women's National Team Head Coach Kathy Flores has officially named her roster for the Women's Rugby World Cup opening match against Kazakhstan.

The match will be played at the world-class Surrey Sports Park in Guildford. Kickoff is at 2:15 p.m. GMT (9:15 a.m. EST) on Friday August 20.

Kazakhstan advanced to the Women's Rugby World Cup after defeating Japan in the Asian qualifying tournament. The U.S., after automatic qualification, has undergone months of preparation including a full immersion residency camp at Bowdoin College in Maine and an early UK arrival to help with time zone difference and weather acclimation.

"We have spent a great amount of effort training and challenging each other and we are greatly looking forward to testing ourselves against World class competition," Flores said.

"Kazakhstan will be physical and unpredictable, so we have worked on our ability to make quick and efficient adjustments. This match will be all about making necessary transitions at ideal moments."

"This will be a hard, physical match and we are looking forward to coming out with pace and setting the bar high for this Women's Rugby World Cup," said USA Captain, Jamie Burke.

Burke is slated to start at loosehead prop with Lisa Butts at hooker and Naima Reddick at tighthead.

Beckett Royce and Sharon Blaney fuel the engine room at lock, while blindside flanker Phaidra Knight and openside Kristin Zdanczewicz look to counter Kazakhstan's physicality with controlled aggression in the contact area and breakdown. Supporting their efforts at number eight with consistent pressure in contact is Melanie Denham.

The backline is anchored by experienced WRWC veterans and a backline with explosive speed and scoring capability.

Kim Magriniwill direct traffic at scrumhalf and her halfback partner will be Christy Ringgenberg who will play at flyhalf. Nathalie Marchino, Victoria Volayan will pair up at on the wings and Ashley Kmiecik will complete the back three at fullback. In the midfield, Emilie Bydwell and Amy Daniels will look to create free-flowing sequences in the centers.

The USA vs. Kazakhstan match follows Canada vs. Scotland on Pitch 2 of the Surrey Sports Complex and prefaces an important Pool B matchup of England vs. Ireland on Pitch 1. For broadcast information on the Women's Rugby World Cup visit

USA Roster vs. Kazakhstan

  1. Jamie Burke (Captain)
  2. Lisa Butts
  3. Naima Reddick
  4. Beckett Royce
  5. Sharon Blaney
  6. Phaidra Knight
  7. Kristin Zdanczewicz
  8. Melanie Denham
  9. Kim Magrini
  10. Christy Ringgenberg
  11. Nathalie Marchino
  12. Emilie Bydwell
  13. Amy Daniels
  14. Victoria Folayan

  15. Ashley Kmiecik
  16. Kittery Wagner
  17. Farrah Douglas
  18. Stacey Bridges
  19. Blair Groefsema
  20. Claudia Braymer
  21. Melissa Kanuk
  22. Ashley English (Captain)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Send your Shout Outs to the WNT in England!

3 more days til game your support by sending your good luck wishes to the Eagles! Click here to send yours now

Monday, August 16, 2010

In the News: Claudia Braymer and Mel Kanuk

Spotlight News
Rob Jonas 08/11/10

Two rugby players with Capital District roots are preparing to take on the world.

Delmar native Melissa Kanuk and Clifton Park resident Claudia Braymer are playing with the United States team at the Women’s Rugby World Cup, which starts Aug. 20 in England.

This is Braymer’s second trip to the Women’s World Cup – the premier international rugby tournament – and Kanuk’s first trip. Kanuk has international experience, though, having played for the U.S. team at the 2008 Nations Cup in England.

“I have a much better idea of what to expect this time,” said Braymer. “I was very nervous my first game last time [in 2006], and as a veteran, I hope to bring a lot of calmness and confidence to the rest of the team [this time].”

“There has definitely been a lot of personal sacrifice to reach this point – not only money-wise, but I also had to move to Minnesota in order to keep playing [rugby] at a high level,” said Kanuk.

Many of the players on this year’s U.S. team play in the league Kanuk is part of – the Womens Premier League. And both Kanuk and Braymer said the impact the 2-year-old league has had is noticeable in terms of the cohesiveness the national team possesses.

“Last time [2006], the team was very talented, but we never came together to play to our full potential,” said Braymer. “I think this team is much farther ahead in terms of team cohesiveness, and thus – I hope – our chances are better. I would love to see us make it to the final.”

“We feel the most unified as we’ve felt the last three years,” said Kanuk. “We’ve improved with every competition.”

That type of preparation is vital to the United States’ chances of advancing out of pool play at the Women’s Rugby World Cup. The U.S. is in a pool with two rugby giants, Ireland and England, as well as Kazakhstan.

“We know that every team has earned the right to be there, and we know we have to play hard against every team,” said Kanuk.

“Every game is going to be difficult,” said Braymer. “Ireland is going to be quick and scrappy, and thus a difficult opponent. England is also a major force that we will have to overcome.”

Just because the U.S. is in a difficult pool doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a chance, though.

“We play a very physical match,” said Kanuk. “We expect to bring that to every match we play, and we expect other teams to try to push us physically.”

As a center/fly half, Kanuk will be in the thick of the fight trying to score points for the U.S. team. But she said that it doesn’t matter who gets into the end zone for a “try” – rugby’s equivalent of a touchdown in American football.

“In all of our team dis-cussions, we don’t set aside for certain people to score,” said Kanuk. “Everyone should be able to score. Our goal is to be an attacking threat from several positions, not just one.”

Braymer, who will be a scrumhalf, said her role on the team will be more noticeable on the sidelines than on the scoreboard.

“I have a lot of positive energy to bring to the team, so my role will likely involve keeping people’s spirits high, especially during challenging times both on and off the field,” said Braymer.

The Women’s Rugby World Cup continues through Sept. 5. After that, Braymer and Kanuk both said they plan to take some time off from playing.

“What I intend to do after the World Cup is to take some time and focus on the things that I put on the backburner – build my [personal training] career and maybe travel a bit,” said Kanuk.

“I love the sport and will continue to be involved with rugby for the forsee-able future,” said Braymer, “but I think after World Cup, I will take a step back from highly competitive play and focus on coaching and [refereeing].”

See the original post here

Tips for Lost Luggage from WNT flyhalf Christy Ringgenberg

Rugby tours are stressful. A World Cup tour is nerve-wracking. As an athlete you take pre-emptive measures to ensure that things go as smoothly as possible during tour and competition. You train hard and eat right. You pack a week ahead of time to give yourself a chance to remember all the little comforts you need. You pack all your favorite things like the t-shirt that fits just right and the strappy sandals that are like walking on personal clouds. You even pack candles to deal with the smelly prop roomates. In an evil twist of fate the airlines lose your bags and have no idea where it might be. I am learning how to deal with this dilema and thought I might share my new aquired wisdom.

What to do if your bag doesn't show up in England and it looks like it might be gone forever.
    1.    Be resourceful!!
    2.    Borrow from your gracious teammates.
    3.    Re-use clothing for as long as possible and try to keep it “fresh”.
    4.    Rinsing your jersey in the sink is only good for a few days.
    5.    Blue airline socks make great washclothes.
    6.    Cheap boy underwear from the groccery store fits way better than the cheap girl underwear.
    7.    Get your wallet stolen three days before leaving the country and bring and emergency credit card that is not accepted abroad. This way teammates have to buy you everything. Thanks for the undies friends!
    8.    Everytime you talk to someone  in the baggage department get their name and keep asking for them. If they get one hundred messages from you they might get up from the computer and actually look in the lost baggage room. I am hoping this will work.

Watch the video now in the video module on the

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Worm Composting 101

Being an elite athlete requires dedication to training, conditioning, and nutrition. Tons
of fruit, vegetables, grains, and eggs line the shelves of our fridges and counter spaces.
Food scraps and remnants are often left as forgotten garbage or perhaps left in our
kitchen sinks to be consumed by the garbage disposal. Twenty-five percent of garbage
is food scraps and other items like paper towels and egg cartons, which can all be
composted. Composting is a great alternative for food disposal and an environmentally
beneficial way to eliminate food waste. One of my favorite ways to compost is through
worm composting.

Worm composting is an easy process that requires:
• Composting worms or “red wigglers.”
• Storage tote or wooden bin.
• Shredded newspaper (bedding).
• Food scraps
• Air/water

How to set up your own Worm Composting Bin:

1. Find or make a bin. Similar size to an eighteen gallon storage container. Size depends
on how many people you have in your house and the amount of food scraps produced.
The more food scraps you produce, the bigger bin you will need. Since red wriggles stay
closer to the surface you will want a bin that maximizes surfaces area rather than depth.
At home I use a wood bin but plastic bins are also good, just make sure to add a few
holes for air flow.


2. Purchase one pound of red wigglers. You may have to order them online because
they are not native to many states (order online here: or http:// One pound of composting worms is perfect for a household of 2-3

3. Place bedding to your bin. Bedding helps cover the food scraps and regulate
moisture. The worms will also eat the bedding to help supplement the food scraps. Black
and white shredded newspaper is a good bedding (color newspaper contains dyes that
could harm the worms).

4. Add food scraps and watch moisture content. Most food scraps are high in water
content but you may need to add a little water to your newspaper bedding. You want your
bin to feel like a damp sponge. Worms breathe through their skin so you don’t want it too

dry or too wet.

Here are examples of food scraps to add to your bin:
• Fruit and veggie scraps
• Coffee and tea grounds
• Paper towels
• Egg cartons and shells

These things should not go in your bin!
• Meat
• Dairy
• Oil
• Salt

5. Harvest the dirt! About every six months you will need to empty the dirt that the
worms create. The best way to separate your worms from the dirt is to create many piles
and wait for the worms to crawl to the bottom (they are sensitive to light). Skim off the
dirt from the top of the piles and place the worms back into your bin with fresh bedding.

The dirt from your bin is very nutrient rich and is a great fertilizer for plants,
garden, or yard. You can also share it with your favorite rugby player!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Knight to appear on MTV's "Made"


BOULDER, Colo. – (Photo courtesy of Bill English) An episode of MTV’s “Made” will air on Tuesday August 17, that will document Phaidra Knight’s mission to turn a teenage girl into a bona fide rugby athlete. Knight is going to play in her third Women’s Rugby World Cup (WRWC) for the Women Eagles this month and has been hailed as one of the best female rugby players on the planet. But this elite athlete and fierce competitor had her work cut out for her when she met Sharon Pendleton, a 15-year-old Wisconsinite who wanted to be “made” into a rugby player.

The show’s premise is this: A person (usually a teenager) has a dream.  The dream could be anything; to become a wrestler, an outstanding debater, a motocross racer, whatever the person wants to be.  MTV then finds a qualified coach to make the dream come true.  Sometimes the dream comes true and sometimes it doesn’t.  Though we aren’t permitted to know how the episode ends, we do know this: MTV hit it out of the park when they chose Phaidra Knight to be Pendleton’s mentor and coach.
Knight has been a standout on the Women Eagles for ten years playing flanker and prop, positions that require an extraordinary amount of physical and mental tenacity.  She graduated magna cum laude from Alabama State University and has a law degree from the University of Wisconsin. She is not only an outstanding athlete, but a person with remarkable character and gumption.  That said, her will was certainly tested by the teenage wannabe rugby player.
Throughout the six-weeks of filming Knight experienced a series of perpetual highs and lows, as dealing with temperamental teens invariably results in an emotional roller coaster for the adult trying to control them.  In addition to the challenge of teenage hormonal impulsivity, Pendleton had never played a sport before.  Pendleton doesn’t exactly have Knight’s kind of physical stature as she’s “about 100 pounds soaking wet,” according to Knight.
Making the teen see herself as an athlete was not easy.  But, with the help of USA Rugby’s sponsors, Emirates Airline and Canterbury of New Zealand, Knight was able to get Pendleton kitted-out to make her look and feel like a rugby player.
Knight said that the experience was a “successful venture…a life-changing experience.”  She is unable to reveal more details about the show until the episode airs on August 17.
After working with Pendleton, Knight found that the rewards of helping a young person become successful far outweighed the drawbacks.  When she returns from the WRWC, Knight will pursue coaching and a career in television broadcasting.  She will have quite a bit of face-time on television this month as the Women Eagles’ match against England on August 28 will be broadcast on Universal Sports at 10 p.m. ET.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Scrum Queens interview with WNT flanker Beckett Royce

Royce Making up for Lost Time 

Ahead of the World Cup which kicks off on August 20th, Sophia Papadopoulos spoke to USA women’s rugby flanker Beckett Royce who will be making her debut World Cup appearance this summer at the age of 39.
(Image – Beckett gets to grips with England’s Kat Merchant)

The USA kicks off their World Cup campaign in a month- how is the mood in the camp?
“Everyone is very excited and focused.  Training sessions have been both hard and incredibly productive.  We’re able to work on many technical aspects that we just haven’t had time for in previous camps.  Our fitness and ambition are apparent as the intensity at trainings has been full throttle.  All in all, team morale is very high.”
Kazakhstan is a key game for you- what are you expecting from them?
“We’re expecting a very physical match.  They have big forwards that like to crash the ball off the fringes.  Kazakhstan has been the reigning Asian champion for over a decade, so they know how to win matches.  They always start strong, often scoring within minutes of the kickoff or half.  We know we’ll be up against a very tough opponent who will be fighting not only for victory but for national pride.”
It’s your first time at the World Cup- are you excited and looking forward to it?
“This is my first World Cup and of course I am thrilled to be going.  I didn’t start playing rugby until I was in my 30′s… 32 to be exact.  The National Team was not even on my radar then. I hadn’t played any sports competitively since high school!  So for me to have the honor of being an Eagle, let alone to achieve the paragon of a World Cup squad, is more than incredible, it really sometimes seems impossible to me.  But here I am, and I am enjoying every hard, exhausting, intense minute of it.  Not a day goes by when I do not realize how lucky I am to be playing with such an incredible group of women.  There is such great talent and camaraderie on this team.  I absolutely love being a part of it.”
You have a pretty tough group stage- how do you rate your chances?
“Honestly I think our chances are quite good.  Our schedule really couldn’t have been better since we play the lowest ranked team first and the highest last.  Not that we can overlook any of our matches… the World Cup is a whole different animal than other tournaments.  Anything can happen.  And we expect to be one of those unexpecteds.  I think psychologically, if nothing else, having England be our last match in the group phase is really to our benefit.  It would be a hard way to start a tournament having to face them first.  What is key for us is to just keep our heads in the game we are playing and problem-solve as we go.  We certainly have the skills and the athletic ability to make this a very successful campaign.”
The squad is getting together three weeks before heading to the UK, in just a few days- are you looking forward to spending some time with the other girls?
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for us and one that past World Cup squads haven’t had.  I think the time we share both on and off the training field in these few weeks will really solidify us as a unit.  We all get along very well and it seems the more time we spend together the more we realize it,  that our interactions aren’t out of a necessary politeness but come from genuine affection and the bond of a shared struggle towards a shared goal.”
Any plans to enjoy your time in the UK? Sightseeing, etc..
“I really have no plans for sightseeing.  We don’t have much time off and the time we do have off I’ll spend resting.  I’ve been to the UK a few times before both with the WNT and on my own so I’ve already done the obligatory tourist activities.   Really my one and only focus will be the World Cup and keeping my body rested and healthy for every game.”
What has been your best moment in rugby so far?
“I guess my best moment was when I found out I made the WC squad.  All the other moments just led up to that one.  I trust though that my best rugby moment is yet to come.”
Do you play any other sports?
“I grew up playing them all.  Soccer, basketball, softball and I rode horses competitively.  Once I left high school though, way back in 1989,  I pretty much stopped all of that and got involved in far less healthy kinds of recreation.  I have on occasion over the years played some very low-key city league soccer, but nothing competitive.”
Tell us something interesting about you?
I’ve lived in 11 different states, 2 countries, 15 different cities/towns over the course of my life. I used to event horses (dressage, cross country, stadium jumping) I majored in Theater at the University of Virginia My name comes from my favorite playwright, Samuel Beckett. My favorite kinds of music are classic jazz and contemporary metal.
What song do you listen to before a game?
“Take your best shot” by Dope

Take me to the original post on Scrum Queens

Thursday, July 29, 2010

UNH PhD Student to Play In Rugby World Cup

July 26, 2010

DURHAM, N. H. - Some college students are involved in multiple extracurricular activities. For Jamie Burke, there’s just one—rugby--and it is all-consuming for two reasons. First, because she’s a member of the U.S. Women’s National Rugby Team headed to her second World Cup. And second, because Burke is in the process of getting a Ph.D. in outdoor education from the University of New Hampshire. The two take all of her time. And then some.
Burke is a prop, also known as a front-rower. She has played in 24 international matches, and is co-captain of the U.S. national team.
She began playing rugby in 1998 during her freshmen year at the University of Virginia. In 2006—the same year she was accepted into the Ph.D. program at UNH--she represented the United States in the World Cup, held in Edmonton, Canada. Training led her to defer for a year because she knew her schedule couldn’t support the demands of both school and sport.

Read the full story

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Let's Fill the Stands with a Sea of RED!

Headed to the World Cup to support the USA? Check out our awesome Fan T-Shirts produced by Bakline. Now available in the WNT Shop at

Monday, July 26, 2010

Being An Eagle: Blair Groefsema

Let USA WNT #8 Blair Groefsema tell you what Being An Eagle means to in the video module on

Friday, July 23, 2010

On My iPod: Nathalie Marchino

Whether we're on tour or simply training at home, music has always been an essential part of my preparation process. There's nothing like a good jamming session (which typically mostly consists of silent air-drumming, air-guitar or lip-synching on the bus). When I first started playing rugby, I would play whatever came up next on my ipod, but then I found that I was going through all sorts of ridiculous mood swings before games, because my ipod would jump from a mellow Morcheeba song, to some heavy bass house music, back to some latin ballade. Less than ideal. So I decided that the best way to do it would be to keep the emotions high by playing a bunch of really loud, high energy songs to pump me up. Another epic fail. I ended up realizing that I felt mostly tired during warms up, probably due to too much head-banging on the ride over to the pitch. So finally, the perfect musical approach. I've created a few lists for different occasions, which allow me to get ready for a specific task, i.e. game, work outs, fitness testing, and a few random ones in case I get tired of the others. Here are condensed versions of a few of the lists I have

Tour Pre-Game Playlist:
1. Clint Mansell:Requiem For A Tower
while this inevitably exposes the inner nerd in me, I love that song cause it always makes me feel like we're headed into enemy territory, sets the stage for the battle, calmly...

2. Daft Punk: Human After All (Human After All)
time to amp it up a bit, but not too much. good build up song

3. Muse: Butterflies & Hurricanes (Absolution)
jump right into some Muse - there simply is no better band to get the energy flowing - just listen to the lyrics - you'll understand

4. Daft Punk: Around the World / Harder Better Faster Stronger (Alive 2007)
now we're getting into the heavy duty songs - this one sets the stage perfectly for the final song...:

5. Muse: Knights of Cydonia (Black Holes & Revelations)
BAM! I'm ready! No one's gonna take me alive! Time has come to make things right!!!! Let's get the trophy back to the US, where it belongs!

Works Outs / Fitness Testing:
There probably isn't anything in life that requires more mental preparation for me than fitness testing. The goal here is to get into a mind-, and ideally body-, numbing groove, where I'm just on auto-pilot and have no time to think about the pain. It's a lot easier for me to run when there is a ball involved and an end goal. Tracks are a challenge. So without further ado, the "make me forget the pain" mix:

1. Killers: Mr. Brightside (Thin White Duke Remix)
This song is perfect!!! It lasts close to 9mins, which is perfect for timed mile runs, cooper tests etc.... it always seems to build up at the perfect time. hopefully you only need to play it once! That's really the entire play list but I'll add one more

2. Muse: Undisclosed desires (Uprising)
Not sure why this song makes sense for work outs but works for me

Odd Ball Songs:
1. Laurent Wolf: No Stress (Wash My World)
2. Orquesta Del Plata: Montserrat
3. Gotan Project: Diferente

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ashley Kmiecik in Washington State Magazine

July 19, 2010
The USA Women’s National Rugby Team chose Ashley Kmiecik (‘05, BA Liberal Arts) to start in the 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup in England this August. Kmiecik will play as a fullback with the USA Women Eagles beginning with a match versus Kazakhstan on August 20.

The 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup features the top 12 teams from around the world. The teams are sorted into three pools and will play pool opponents on three match days through August. The fifth-ranked USA Women’s Team is in Pool B along with second-seeded England, Ireland and Kazakhstan.

Read the full story

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Day in the Life of Mel Denham

Geophysics? Let USA WNT flanker Mel Denham give you a sneak peak into her world off the pitch. Check it out in the video module now on

Friday, July 9, 2010

Bowdoin to Host U.S.A. Women's National Rugby Team, Alumna For Training Camp

The U.S.A. Women's National Rugby Team — fortified with Bowdoin alumna Farrah Douglas '99 — is holding its summer residency camp at Bowdoin for three weeks beginning July 10, 2010.
Members of the team, called the Women Eagles, will be living on campus as they train for the World Cup in England in August.

Douglas, a U.S.A. National Team member for seven years and veteran of many international matches, played for the Bowdoin women's rugby team, then a club sport, all four years of her college career.

Read the Full Story

Thursday, July 8, 2010

US Women's Rugby World Cup Team Selected

7.7.10 - from USA
BOULDER, Colo. - The USA Women's National Rugby Team has officially announced the roster of 26 players and four reserves who are set to assemble in the weeks leading up to the 2010 Women's Rugby World Cup (WRWC) in England.
"It is never an easy task to trim down a squad we have been working with for almost four years," said Women's National Rugby Team Coach Kathy Flores. "With the 2010 World Cup less than two months away, we are working to prepare for every variable possible and select according to the needs of the team, in regards to the commitment and dedication of each individual and their contribution to the squad."
Assembling on July 10, the USA squad will hold a residency camp at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine for three weeks before departing for England.
"The U.S. Women will feel right at home in the college's top-notch residential and athletic facilities," Women's High Performance Manager, Alex Williams said. "Bowdoin is home to one of the few women's varsity rugby programs in the country and it's a great environment for the intense final preparations prior to the World Cup."
The residency camp will include a lot of individual and unit skill work, along with strength and conditioning sessions, video analysis, and creating game plans for its upcoming RWC pool matches. Brought into the camp will be additional skill specialists, sports psychologists, nutritionists and select media personnel who will all work with the players and staff in preparation for the team's biggest event of the quadrennial.
The National Team's time at Bowdoin College won't be all work and no play, however. On July 12, the USA Women's Team will host an Under-19 rugby clinic for new and upcoming Under-19 female players and then on July 25, the Women's National Team will play the Northeast Rugby Union All-Star Women's Team in a final Women's Rugby World Cup warm-up match for the Eagles.
The U.S. will also have one week of preparation and acclimatization once landing in England, prior to the kick-off of the 2010 Women's Rugby World Cup.
The 2010 Women's Rugby World Cup features the top 12 teams from around the world. The teams are sorted into three pools and will play pool opponents on three match days through August. The fifth-ranked USA Women's Team is in Pool B along with second-seeded England, Ireland and Kazakhstan.
The USA will face the 11th-ranked Kazakhstan, first, on Friday, August 20. Four days later, the USA will play the eighth-seed, Ireland side, on August 24 and will finish against England on August 28.
"We don't have the luxury to look past any team at the Women's Rugby World Cup," Flores added. "While we were playing Canada in June, Kazakhstan played close matches with South Africa. Ireland is lining up practice competition in the coming month and I am sure England will be training and lining up practice matches as well. No team is taking anything for granted in this event."
The U.S. Women's Rugby World Cup Team includes:

  1. Sharon Blaney (Beantown)
  2. Stacey Bridges (Texas A&M)
  3. Jamie Burke (Beantown)
  4. Lisa Butts (Berkeley All-Blues)
  5. Melanie Denham (Beantown)
  6. Farrah Douglas (Keystone)
  7. Blair Groefsema (Berkeley All-Blues)
  8. Phaidra Knight (New York)
  9. Jillion Potter (Minnesota Valkyries)
  10. Beckett Royce (Oregon Sports Union)
  11. Lara Vivolo (New York)
  12. Kittery Wagner (Beantown)
  13. Maurin Wallace (Beantown)
  14. Kristin Zdanczewicz (Minnesota Valkyries)
  1. Claudia Braymer (Albany)
  2. Emilie Bydwell (Beantown)
  3. Amy Daniels (Beantown)
  4. Ashley English (Berkeley All-Blues)
  5. Victoria Folayan (Berkeley All-Blues)
  6. Melissa Kanuk (Minnesota Valkyries)
  7. Ashley Kmiecik (Oregon Sports Union)
  8. Lynelle Kugler (Twin Cities Amazons)
  9. Kim Magrini (Keystone)
  10. Nathalie Marchino (Berkeley All-Blues)
  11. Vanesha McGee (New York)
  12. Christy Ringgenberg (Minnesota Valkyries)
  1. Stephanie Bruce (Berkeley All-Blues)
  2. Kate Daley (Keystone)
  3. Naima Reddick (Berkeley All-Blues)
  4. Hannah Stolba (Minnesota Valkyries)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

CrossFit Oakland Athlete Spotlight: Nathalie Marchino

This week's athlete spotlight is Nathalie, who has recently been chosen to represent the United States at the Rugby World Cup in England August 8th! 

Nathalie typically trains at Open Gym during the week and flies pretty low under the radar.  She is amazingly humble for being the real deal.  If you've met her, you won't soon forget.  She is a beautiful, athletic woman with a soft accent (born in Colombia and raised in Switzerland) and stunning smile and is super-tough (duh, she plays international rugby!) and has been recovering from a serious injury as she hits the CFO workouts hard.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Beckett Royce: in Numbers

Take a sneak peek into USA Eagle flanker Beckett Royce's life in numbers.  Now in the video module on

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pump Up: CanAm

Ever wonder how WNT players get ready for a big game? Check out the Pump Up video created by WNT flanker Beckett Royce now in the video module on

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Day in the Life of Eagle #8 Blair Groefsema

Check out what USA WNt #8 Blair Groefsema's students have to say about in the video module on