USA Women’s Sevens to compete in Fiji invitational ahead of 2023 World Rugby SVNS

Thu, Sep 21, 2023, 6:55 PM
by Taylor Dean
USA Rugby
USA Rugby

The USA Women’s Sevens are heading to Fiji for a six-game warmup tournament ahead of the Olympic season as Head Coach Emilie Bydwell announced a 14-player traveling roster.

The 2023 FRU Women’s Mini Sevens will take place September 28-29 in Lautoka. The Fiji Rugby Union has yet to confirm streaming. Scores will be posted on USA Rugby social media channels.

The USA will face off with fellow SVNS Series regulars  Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and France in Lautoka, giving the Eagles an opportunity to test their early progress ahead of an important season.

Head Coach Emilie Bydwell highlighted the importance of the Fiji tournament for the team’s development: “For us, this tournament is really well-timed. We are in our seventh week of preseason now, and we’ve had some things we wanted to work on and develop off the back of last season. We’ve been working hard at home, but unless we get the opportunity to play and compete, we’re not able to gauge what that progress looks like. To be able to have the quality of competition in New Zealand, Australia, France, and Fiji, will help us be able to assess ourselves. It’s meaningful to us because we have another big block leading into PanAmerican Games and Dubai, so we’ll have a more informed plan about how we approach those tournaments.”

The 14-player roster includes Ilona Maher and Jaz Gray, who both return to the tournament pitch following injuries sustained during the 2023 Sevens Series. Lauren Doyle and Naya Tapper will co-captain the squad.

Bydwell on roster selection: “We wanted to select a very strong team to go to Fiji. We have the luxury of having 14 players and using them all across the tournament allows us to look at some different combinations and people in positions that they may not have played on the series as much. We also can make sure everyone that goes to this tournament will get meaningful moments in pressure situations, that’s a real priority.”

 USA Women’s Sevens Roster | FRU Women’s Mini Sevens
Name Position
1. Cheta Emba Prop/Hooker
2. Ilona Maher Center
3. Kayla Canett Flyhalf
5. Alev Kelter Center
6. Alena Olsen Scrumhalf
7. Naya Tapper (C) Wing
11. Kristen Thomas Prop/Hooker
12. Kristi Kirshe Prop/Hooker
17. Alex "Spiff" Sedrick Center
21. Ariana Ramsey Scrumhalf/Wing
22. Sammy Sullivan Prop/Wing
23. Lauren Doyle (C) Wing
27. Summer Harris-Jones Prop/Hooker
99. Jaz Gray Wing

USA Women’s Sevens Traveling Staff | FRU Women’s Mini Sevens

Head Coach | Emilie Bydwell

Assistant Coach | Zack Test

Strength & Conditioning | Trey Ford

Athletic Trainer | Nicole Titmas

Team Manager | Liz Strohecker

USA Women’s Sevens Schedule | FRU Women’s Mini Sevens

Wednesday, September 27

v. Aussie Green | 5:50pm ET

v. Aussie Gold | 8:30pm ET

Thursday, September 28

v. France | 12:00am ET (Wednesday night)

v. Fiji | 5:00pm ET

v. New Zealand | 9:30pm ET

Finals begin 11:20pm ET