USA Women’s Eagles Set for Warm Up Match Against Spain as Head Coach Rich Ashfield Confirms Match Day 23

Thu, Mar 23, 2023, 4:56 PM
by Taylor Dean
Neil Kennedy
Neil Kennedy

The USA Women’s Eagles have arrived in Spain ahead of the 2023 World Rugby Pacific Four Series and are preparing for a warm up match against tournament host and 11th ranked Spain, with sights set on bolstering the team for this third round of the now annual Pacific Four Series tournament. Eight rostered players will have the opportunity to earn Eagle Numbers this Saturday, with a few familiar names rising through the USA Rugby pathways and talent pool to now reach the international stage. 

This will be the first assembly for the USA Women’s Eagles since the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand last fall. Appointed in January, Interim Head Coach Rich Ashfield’s match day 23 features familiar and new names, where the test match against Spain will be a massive opportunity for Ashfield, staff and the new additions to set their feet as they head into the first Pacific Four Series match against Canada on April 1. 

USA v. Spain kicks off Saturday, March 25, at 7:30am. ET. The match will be live streamed for free on

Match Preview

The USA and Spain haven’t met on the Women’s 15s pitch since the Rugby World Cup 2017, and the Eagles have won all three of their matchups since 1998. Spain however are coming off a recent assembly in February and two dominant wins over Sweden and Netherlands, proving their ability to put points on the board. With a team of new and veteran players on the USA match day 23, the focus will be testing communication and cohesion on the pitch in real time, containing that Spanish attack. Team unity is essential with the new squad, and Ashfield is looking to the veteran leaders to help build that early camaraderie and walk away with a win in the 2023 opener. 

Comments from Head Coach Rich Ashfield ahead of USA v. Spain: 

“This is the start of a new World Cup cycle and the aim is to build a strong foundation that can help to carry the program into the Rugby World Cup 2025 in England. We have a great blend of young players and veterans to guide them.

“The camaraderie within the group has been great to see develop in Spain. Young players from the pathway picking the brains of seasoned veterans as well as providing different insights from their experiences. The energy overall has been very positive with everyone wanting to take pride in their actions and represent USA Rugby in the best possible way.”

Kate Zackary returns as the USA Captain, leading this promising young team into Spain. Jett Hayward, who trained in camp during the Rugby World Cup, has been named a reserve with the chance to earn her first international cap. Hooker Kathryn Treder and reserve Maya Learned will have an opportunity to earn their 10th test match appearance. 

Numerous new Eagles are positioned to earn their first USA cap on Saturday, with Mae Sagapolu, Tahlia Brody, and Summer Harris-Jones named to the starting XV and Megan Neyen, Sophia Haley, Kristin Bitter, and Autumn Czaplicki on bench. Harris-Jones and Czaplicki join Ashfield from the USA Women’s Sevens residency program in Chula Vista.

Comments from Kate Zackary ahead of the Spain match:

“It’s great to see all the players again as well as all the new faces and young talent coming up. I’m really impressed with everyone and their confidence. That’s what we need as USA Rugby players, to be confident in our abilities, showcase the talent we do have, and display consistency on the field.” 

USA Women’s Eagles | USA vs Spain




1. Hope Rogers

Exeter Chiefs

2. Kathryn Treder DMP Sharks 9
3. Keiamae "Mae" Sagapolu* Central Wash. Univ. USA Debut
4. Jenny Kronish Harlequins (ENG) 8
5. Evelyn Ashenbrucker San Diego Surfers 7
6. Tahlia Brody* Cheltenham Tigers USA Debut
7. Georgie Perris-Redding Sale Sharks 5
8. Kate Zackary (C) Exeter Chiefs 27
9. Olivia Ortiz DMP Sharks 13
10. McKenzie Hawkins Colorado Greywolves 8
11. Bulou Mataitoga Loughborough Lightning 8
12. Gabby Cantorna Exeter Chiefs 18
13. Eti Haungatau Sale Sharks 8
14. Summer Harris-Jones* USA Sevens USA Debut
15. Meya Bizer DMP Sharks 26
16. Jett Hayward* Life West Gladiatrix USA Debut
17. Maya Learned Gloucester-Hartpury 9
18. Catie Benson Sale Sharks 32
19. Megan Neyen* Beantown RFC USA Debut
20. Sophia Haley* Dartmouth College USA Debut
21. Carly Waters Sale Sharks 16
22. Kristin Bitter* Dartmouth College USA Debut
23. Autumn Czaplicki* USA Sevens USA Debut

*Indicates uncapped player

USA Women's Eagles Traveling Staff

Assistant Coach | Katie Dowty

Assistant Coach | Jamie Burke

Strength & Conditioning | Sylvia Braaten

Head Athletic Trainer | Katherine Henry

Team Doctor | Chau Bui

Athletic Trainer | Anna Unnasch

Video Analyst | Callum Howells

Team Manager | Tim Westwood