Aug. 9, 2017 USA 24-Italy 12 When is Just Winning Not Enough?

Sometimes it is not about winning or losing but about how much you won by. In their first pool match of the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup the USA Eagles defeated Italy 24-12.

In the women’s world cups there are 3 pools of four teams. Four teams go through to the knock-out (semi-final) round. The first team in each pool and the second best team with the biggest point differential.

In Pool B Canada crushed Hong Kong 98-0 and New Zealand convincingly beat Wales 44-12.

England, the reigning champs and recent victor over both Canada and New Zealand, is in our pool. How did we go from world champs in 1991 to a second tier side in 2017?

So many questions swirl in my head.

Will somebody someday tell the story about the coaching transition from Ric Suggitt to Julie McCoy to Richie Walker all in a year before the Olympics? Are there many stories about rapid coaching changes in USA Rugby?

Peter Steinberg has been USA Women’s 15s coach through it all. At the last women’s 15s World Cup in Paris several players chose not to play for fear of injury before the Olympics. (Hats off to Hurana Manuel of New Zealand who chose to play, got injured, came back, and played in the Olympic final.) A little over a year ago in an interview with at the Clermont 7s Steinberg said, ” If Richie (USA 7s Coach Walker) continues, he is a great believer in people need to play rugby. You take someone like Richelle Stephens. She is a great player, but Richelle will make ten tackles here this weekend … total. There are only five tournaments. Someone like her, who is 19/20 or Lilly, they just need to play more rugby.”

Why are neither Richelle or Lilly Durbin on the team?

How do we come out of an Olympic cycle with players and coaches regularly at the Olympic training facility and not have one cross-over 4th place hurdler or pentathlete or sprinter or pole vaulter on the squad? Lev Kelter & Kris Thomas are cross-overs from Ric Suggitt (RIP) days.
Where are the new Kelters and Thomases?

In 4 years will we be struggling to beat Japan, who lost to France 72-14? Or will we struggle against them in Belfast in a couple weeks?

On a more personal note: I will increasingly know even less about what I write than in the past. For various reasons travel has become more difficult and my rugby viewing is restricted to mostly The Rugby Channel. The Rugby Channel isn’t carrying the World Cup. What ‘sup with that? I followed the USA v Italy on Twitter.

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