U.S. Women Claim Milestone Bronze At Canada Sevens Rugby Tournament

By Paul D. Bowker | May 13, 2018, 8:40 p.m. (ET)
The U.S. women's rugby sevens teams of New Zealand (gold), Australia (silver) and the United States (bronze) celebrate at Canada Sevens on May 13, 2018 in Langford, British Columbia.

 

The USA Women’s Eagles Sevens team earned the bronze medal at the HSBC Canada Sevens on Sunday in Langford, British Columbia, with a dominant 21-5 victory over France.

The Eagles won four of six matches over two days for their second podium finish in four tournaments so far this season after claiming silver in the season-opening tournament in December in Dubai.

This marks the first time the U.S. women medaled twice in one season. The World Series debuted in 2012.

Team USA is now fifth in the series standings and tied with Canada in fourth for overall points.

“I’m really excited. I know our team is really excited,” said Sarah Buonopane, one of the Team USA starters against France.

The win against France was a rematch of a pool-play game in which the U.S. lost 22-19.

The U.S. lost 33-10 to New Zealand’s Black Ferns in the semifinals, putting it in the bronze-medal match against France. New Zealand won the tournament title with a 46-0 win over Australia.

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The real thriller of Sunday was a 28-26 American win over Canada in the quarterfinals. Naya Tapper tied the score with a strong run to cross the try line, then 2016 Olympian Alev Kelter won it with a kick through the posts on the final play of the match.

The U.S. won two of three pool-play matches leading up to the playoff round, defeating Russia 35-14 and Japan 28-7.

The third-place finish follows up a win over Ireland for the Challenge Trophy (ninth place) at the Kitakyushu Sevens in April.

The next tournament is in June in Paris.

Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is sports editor of the Cape Cod Times and a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.