The Women’s Eagles will play Canada in their 2023 Pacific Four Series opener next month, confirmed this morning by World Rugby. This year, the Series will take place over three windows and kicks-off with a classic opening round fixture between Canada and USA in Madrid, Spain. The USA’s traveling squad will meet in Madrid to also play Spain in a lead up match prior to the Canada game, as the women’s 15s 2023 season takes off. Broadcast information will be shared when confirmed.
The World Rugby Pacific Four Series 2023 schedule optimizes and complements the existing women’s domestic and international competition calendars for 2023. The cross-regional, international competition also acts as one of the principal annual qualification routes for the top two tiers of WXV with the top three placed teams qualifying for WXV 1 and the fourth-placed team securing a place in WXV 2. The host locations for WXV will be announced next month.
World Rugby Head of Women’s Competitions Alison Hughes said: “The Pacific Four Series continues to provide more consistent, annual international playing opportunities for Australia, USA, Canada and New Zealand.
“We have worked closely and collaboratively with competing nations and host unions to optimize the existing women’s international and domestic calendar for this year’s Pacific Four Series. With a significant number of USA and Canada players based in Europe, playing round one of the Pacific Four Series 2023 in April takes advantage of the extended break these players would have faced while the domestic competitions in England and France pause for the Women’s Six Nations. We are delighted to be bringing the Pacific Four Series to new territories, including Spain in Madrid and hosting the final two rounds in Canada.”
Interim Head Coach Rich Ashfield has also announced the Women’s Eagles traveling roster of 30 for the first leg of the 2023 Pacific Four Series. Spain will play host to the first stop, where the USA will play a test match against the host country on March 25 and then meet Canada for the Series opener on April 1st. The Spain match will be the first reassembly for the Eagles since the Rugby World Cup, played in New Zealand last fall.
Australia and New Zealand will play in the second round of the series in June, hosted by New Zealand. The four teams will then reunite in Canada for the final stop in early July (dates to be announced). Host locations will be announced next month. This is the third time the Women’s Eagles will play in the Pacific Four Series, first hosting in 2021. The squad finished 1-2 in the series last June, which included a 16-14 win over Australia.
This will be the first time the squad will come together under Interim Head Coach Rich Ashfield, who stepped in after Rob Cain announced his departure.
“We’ve identified a promising pool of players from various different pathways so this is an exciting time to kick off a new cycle as we look to build toward 2025. These upcoming fixtures will be a great opportunity to get some talented age grade players exposure to what it is like to play with the senior side. I’m also looking forward to seeing a couple of sevens players involved in 15s again, as well as some solid WPL players that we plan on bringing into the mix. In addition to delivering some great rugby, my goal is to build a strong foundation and depth of players leading up to 2025.”
The Eagles’ test match against Spain will be the first time the two teams meet on the pitch since a USA win at the Rugby World Cup 2017. The Pacific Four Series will also provide some exciting fixtures for the Eagles as they continue to compete and develop against some of the best teams in the world. Poetically first playing against rival Canada, a third straight rematch after last being knocked out of the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals. In July, games against Australia and New Zealand, the Black Ferns coming off a Rugby World Cup championship last November, will continue to test the USA at the highest level. These matches will be crucial for the USA to structure improvements from the Rugby World Cup, especially under a new head coach.
The Women’s Eagles traveling roster includes athletes who played in New Zealand last fall. Kate Zackary will reunite the squad as captain, and Hope Rogers returns to the USA squad as the second-most capped player of the Women’s Eagles. Autumn Czaplicki and Summer Harris Jones, who are in residency with the USA Women’s Sevens team in Chula Vista, also join the 15s squad.
|Keiamae "Mae" Sagapolu*
|Central Wash. Univ.
|Life West Gladiatrix
|San Diego Surfers
|Kate Zackary (C)
*Indicates uncapped player
|Railway Union Ireland
Assistant Coach | Katie Dowty
Assistant Coach | Jamie Burke
Strength & Conditioning | Sylvia Braaten
Team Manager | Tim Westwood
Head Athletic Trainer | Katherine Henry
Team Doctor | Chau Bui
Athletic Trainer | Anna Unnasch
Video Analyst | Callum Howells
Broadcast information TBA
v. Spain | Kickoff TBA (Warm up match)
Location: Madrid, Spain
v. Canada | Kickoff TBA
Location: Madrid, Spain
v. New Zealand