USA Women's Eagles power through to 38-17 win over South Africa

Sat, Mar 30, 2024, 3:54 PM
by Taylor Dean
USA Rugby
USA Rugby

The USA Women's Eagles started their 2024 season off with a stunning 38-17 win against South Africa in their warmup match ahead of the Pacific Four Series.

In his first match as head coach, Sione Fukofuka organized a cohesive squad that is shaping up to be a commanding presence heading into the season. Captain Kate Zackary led the squad as they took the time to find their connection and prove themselves unstoppable on attack.

Georgie Perris-Redding was a dominant force on both sides, scoring a hat trick and earning the Player of the Match title. Cassidy Bargell and Amanda Berta both ran off the bench, earning their first cap and becoming Eagles #323 and #324, respectively. Charli Jacoby and Gabby Cantorna also appeared in their 25th test match today.

The squad will celebrate their first win of 2024 before heading back to home soil to prepare for their first 2024 Pacific Four Series matchup against Canada. The North American border battle takes place Sunday, April 28, at DignityHealth Sports Park in Los Angeles. Tickets are available

Comments from Head Coach Sione Fukofuka:
Captain Kate Zackary on their first match of the season:
Match Recap

In their first matchup in nearly 11 years, both teams had a chance to prove themselves. The Eagles would strike first right off kickoff, as Georgie Perris-Redding snatched a loose ball and dove over the try line within seconds.

From there, the USA struggled to find their connection through the majority of the first half, and they found themselves defending their own try line multiple times as South Africa held most of the possession. South Africa were dominant in the scrums, and several conceded penalties in the set piece will have the USA looking at what they can improve heading into next month.

The Eagles conceded quite a few penalties as South Africa controlled possession, but the squad remained patient on defense with good line speed, waiting for their chance to strike. South Africa made several attempts at a rolling maul score, but the Eagles were strong in defense. Finally, a kick by South Africa went to touch, and the Eagles found their next chance to prove lethality on attack beginning with a line out.

Off the set piece, Olivia Ortiz found a gap to skip through the middle of South Africa's defensive line to gain some ground, and phase play brought the ball to Kate Zackary. The USA captain offloaded to Kathryn Treder for the second USA try of the match. The Eagles' confidence grew from there as both teams worked hard to control the ball and keep their opponent out of scoring territory. The Eagles' hard work to keep South Africa paid off, as they shut them out in the first half, heading into the final 40 minutes up 14-0.

South Africa kicked off the second half and worked to take back possession at a USA scrum. But Georgie Perris-Redding was ready to go, picking up the ball at a ruck and running down for another five points.

A USA knock on at the restart gave South Africa control, letting them succeed in their fourth attempt at a rolling maul score for their first points of the match. The Eagles remained composed as they quickly gelled together on attack. Olivia Ortiz's quick decision-making to tap and go off a penalty sent the ball over to McKenzie Hawkins, who chipped the ball through down field, where Emily Henrich kept an eye on the bounce to tap and score.

With the score gap increasing, South Africa were beginning give away small mistakes and let the Eagles hold on to more attack opportunities. While South Africa continued to win back possession in scrums, a strong defensive presence by the USA put on pressure. Another loss of possession put the ball into Perris-Redding's hands, who charged forward to gain ground. It was Hawkins again who found the opportunity to kick over defenders and right into Lotte Clapp's hands on the wing for a big teamwork try.

With the clock ticking down, South Africa needed to play fast. Capitalizing on an overthrown ball at a USA line out, the Springbok Women charged over for their second try. Closing in again on the try zone, a high tackle call gave the USA another chance to slow down the game and go for a line out. A perfect throw put the squad into a rolling maul, and it was Perris-Redding who tapped it down for the final USA try, earning her a hat trick.

South Africa were hungry for the final say of the match, and they stayed patient with a long series of phase play that tired out both sides. But their work paid off, and they scored off a five-meter scrum in the corner to end the match.

The Eagles' ability to find their connection with each other afforded them the win against South Africa, who controlled the ball for most of the first half. The team has a solid foundation they can build from as they prepare for their next matchup on home soil.

USA Womens Eagles Roster | USA v South Africa
Name Club Tournaments
1. Hope Rogers Exeter Chiefs 44
2. Kathryn Treder Loughborough Lightning 17
3. Keia Mae Sagapolu Leicester Tigers 7
4. Erica Jarrell Sale Sharks 6
5. Jenny Kronish Beantown RFC 13
6. Kate Zackary (C) Ealing Trailfinders 36
7. Georgie Perris-Redding Sale Sharks 11
8. Rachel Johnson (VC) Exeter Chiefs 26
9. Olivia Ortiz Exeter Chiefs 17
10. McKenzie Hawkins Colorado Grey Wolves 13
11. Lotte Clapp Saracens 14
12. Gabby Cantorna Exeter Chiefs 25
13. Bulou Mataitoga Loughborough Lightning 14
14. Emily Henrich Unattached 13
15. Tess Feury (VC) Leicester Tigers 23
16. Paige Stathopoulos Beantown RFC 5
17. Catie Benson Sale Sharks 41
18. Charli Jacoby Queensland Reds 25
19. Rachel Ehrecke Colorado Grey Wolves 11
20. Tahlia Brody Leicester Tigers 8
21. Cassidy Bargell Beantown RFC 1
22. Katana Howard Sale Sharks 18
23. Amanda Berta PR7s Experts 1

USA Women's Eagles Traveling Staff

Head Coach | Sione Fukofuka 

Assistant Coach | Ray Barkwill 

Strength & Conditioning | Sylvia Braaten

Strength & Conditioning Intern | Craig West

Operations Director | Sara Al-Aziz

Physio | Susie Gill

Physio | Cerys Preston

Analyst | Caitlin Singletary 

Analysis Intern | Jess Wooden

Performance Assistance | Adam Crossman

Team Doctor | Abbie Hamilton

Athletic Trainer | Emily Lauer

Media Manager | Calder Cahill

Liaison | Simon Wickham

World Rugby Coach | Mo Botha

USA Women’s Eagles 2024 Schedule

USA v South Africa

38-17 (W)

TRIES | G. Perris-Redding (3), K. Treder, E. Henrich, C. Clapp CONV | G. Cantorna (4)

RugbyPass TV

2024 Pacific Four Series

USA v Canada | April 28

DignityHealth Sports Park | Los Angeles, CA

Tickets »

USA v New Zealand | May 10

FMG Stadium | Hamilton, New Zealand

USA v Australia | May 17

AAMI PARK | Melbourne, Australia

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