The USA women’s rugby U20 side take on their Canadian counterparts this weekend as the curtain raiser to the Atlantic Cup game between the nation’s two senior sides. The USA U20s side beat Canada 38-20 when that last played. Coach Bryn Chivers (pictuerd in a huddle left) answers our questions.
How have your squad prepared for this tournament?
We were not able to get this squad together so preparation has been difficult. A combination of the geographic challenges we have in the USA and the scarcity of resources means that is it rare that we get to assemble the squad prior to an event.
The last game for the USA U20s side ended in a heavy defeat by England at the Nations Cup last summer (USA lost 110-0) how have you worked to recover from this?
I get asked this a lot and the reality is that we are not allowing the loss to England in the final of the U20 Nations Cup to overshadow the great performances we had against Wales and Canada earlier in the tournament. The focus isn't to solve the problems we had against England as it is to build on the success we had in the last game against Canada. The players know they went into the tournament expected to finish fourth and came away finishing second. They know they performed well.
What are you expecting from Canada?
They have a lot of returning players and I'm sure they will be stronger than the team we saw in England. We are certainly fielding a stronger, faster team and I expect the same from Canada.
What are your squad's strengths?
Experience. We have a core of players that we first selected as fifteen and sixteen year olds back in 2007/2008. We didn't look for instant success and these players were given the opportunity to develop their skills on tours to England and Wales in 2007, South Africa in 2008 and England in 2009. We started to see this pay dividends in England last year and I think we have yet to see the best of these players.
We just never have enough time together to truly refine our game. There are some payers in this squad who are brand new and you never know how they will adjust to the pace and intensity of international competition.
Who would you pick out as one to watch?
Candace Barley, Katie Johnson and our Captain, Jozy Gessner make up an incredibly experienced backrow with a combined twenty-six international games. Sadie Anderson will be a threat from fullback and Seymi Salamy is the programs top scorer in all games.
Are some of these players good enough to push for inclusion in the USA's senior squad in time for the World Cup?
I think these players are realistically looking at the 2014 World Cup.
USA U20 squad:
Sadie Anderson (Penn State)
BrieAnna Barto (Summit High School)
Tara Burke (Fallbrook, Calif)
Erica Cardwell (Bend Women)
Lauren Danielsen (Colorado)
Jozy Gessner (Colorado State) [Capt]
Anne Lee (Army)
Hannah Lockwood (Oregon State)
Morgan Rovetti (Univ Nevada-Reno)
Kandis Ruiz (Austin Valkyries)
Seymira Salamy (Penn State)
Candace Barley (Lee University)
Sharron Gianessi (Army)
Katie Hathaway (Norwich)
Katie Humphreys (Kent, Wash)
Katie Johnson (Hopkins, Minn)
Britta Nelson (Univ Northern Iowa)
Maggie Reidy (Univ Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
Brittany Rose (West Chester East)
Rachael Ryan (Wyoming)
Wendy Sherman (Colorado State)
Amee Svatos (Canby, Ore)