Via USA RUGBY-
The Women’s Eagles dominated South Africa from the get-go in their 61-5 win in the 2013 IRB Women’s Nations Cup Third Place Match at Infinity Park at Glendale Saturday. Canada followed suit with a hard-fought 27-13 win against England in the Final.
Lynelle Kugler scored two tries in the first six minutes and vice captain Christy Ringgenberg applied consistent kicking throughout the match to ensure the Eagles’ third-place finish.
In their loss to England at the University of Northern Colorado Wednesday, the Eagles rued multiple missed opportunities to score within five meters of the try line. In the 10th minute of Saturday’s match, Sarah Walsh made sure they did not struggle in the same situation with a strong push through two Springbok defenders on the line. Ringgenberg kicked her second conversion for a 19-0 lead.
Ringgenberg kicked a penalty from the 22 in the 17th minute to extend the lead to 22-0. Erica Cavanaugh received the ball at the South Africa 10 not long after the restart and broke a tackle before racing to the try zone to make the score 27-0.
Two minutes later, Nathalie Marchino fed captain Shaina Turley for a try, and Cavanaugh added another for a 39-0 lead before 25 minutes had passed.
South Africa scored their first try of the match in the 34th minute after a nice switch from the right side of the field to the left, where the Eagles were outnumbered. The Eagles took a 39-5 lead into halftime.
Ringgenberg began the second-half scoring with a penalty kick in the 44th minute and Phoebe Boone scored her first try in her first Eagles appearance in the 49th minute from a lineout. Meya Bizer kicked the conversion from tough angle and the Eagles had a 49-5 lead.
Within minutes of being substituted into the game, Megan Bonny broke a few tackles along the touch line and raced into the try zone for a 54-5 Eagles lead after 64 minutes. Kristin Zdanczewicz finished the scoring after Jillion Potter gave the Eagles advanced field position in the 76th minute. Bizer converted and the Eagles took home a 61-5 win.
“Obviously, we’re very happy,” Women’s Eagles Head Coach Pete Steinberg said. “South Africa is a good side. We came out of the gates hard and we scored some great tries, but I think we’re most proud of only holding them to one try. They’re probably the most dangerous team here with the ball in their hands.”
The Eagles finished in third at the 2011 Nations Cup, but in a much different fashion. The Eagles lost their first three matches before their win against South Africa in 2011, whereas they finish the 2013 Nations Cup with a 3-1 record.
“I think we leave the Nations Cup with a real belief that we can play with anyone,” Steinberg said. “We feel pretty confident that we played the best rugby here of any of the teams. We just weren’t consistent enough. England punished us [Wednesday] for our lack of consistency.
“The schedule was difficult for us, the recovery was difficult, and I think we leave here with the understanding that, while there’s still work to do, we’re feeling confident we’re a team on the rise.”
Canada defeated England 27-13 in the Nations Cup Final Saturday. England trailed the entire match but kept it close until Canada’s Bianca Farella scored her second try of the match in the 72nd minute to increase the lead from 20-13 to 27-13. England found themselves in penalty trouble throughout the match and paid for it with two Canadian penalty kicks.