close
close

annesophiemorel-photographie

Anne Photograp News 2024

American women select a squad to take on the mighty New Zealand
bacul43e

American women select a squad to take on the mighty New Zealand

Hamilton, New Zealand (Rugby release from the USA) -The 2024 Pacific Four Series continues in Hamilton, New Zealand, as the USA Women’s Eagles take on New Zealand. USA vs. New Zealand kicks off Friday, May 10 at 10:05 PM ET, live on Peacock.

Rachel Johnson captains the side this week as Kate Zackary continues to recover from injury. Head Coach Sione Fukofuka made a number of changes this week after the loss to Canada two weeks ago. Hallie Taufoou and Erica Jarrell switch jersey numbers, taking #4 and #5 respectively, while Freda Tafuna is named as starting flanker. Gabby Cantorna is in action at flyhalf, while McKenzie Hawkins is recovering from injury and Eti Haungatau is in the middle. Lotte Clapp comes in on the left wing, after returning to the squad last week.

The Eagles last played New Zealand in Ottawa during the 2023 Pacific Four Series. Despite a 39-17 loss, a 14-5 USA lead in the first half of the match showed their bond and confidence against the second top team in the world. With some corrections in recent weeks and extra training time after the competition in Canada, the United States is ready to take on the challenge in Hamilton.

The 2024 Pacific Four Series is the US’s first stop on the road to 2025 World Cup qualifying. The winner of PAC4 earns a spot in the World Cup, and the top six non-qualified teams from WXV earn qualification. The top three teams from the Pacific Four Series will go to WXV 1 in Ottawa, while the fourth-place team will go to WXV 2 in South Africa.

“Every test match is an opportunity to compete for positions and our preparation in Hamilton has enabled a few players to earn a chance against the Black Ferns,” said Head Coach Sione Fukofuka. “With McKenzie Hawkins injured, Gabby Cantorna takes the position of game driver with the confidence of her experience, with Eti Haungatau coming in at the age of 12 and providing a strong, confident presence in midfield. Eti has worked hard to her game conditioning and brings a level of physicality that we believe will provide real momentum in our first phase Freda Tafuna comes into contention and adds impact to our pack with her strength and skills, while Lotte Clapp comes in after joining. has joined the squad fresh from its Saracens success, adding experience to our back three.

“We have had good preparation for this test with the extra time in Hamilton, including a scrimmage against Chiefs Manawa, which allowed us to tighten our attacking breakdown, tackle technology and positional play in the backfield, areas where we were not doing so. “We are not playing to our standards against Canada. Our play is improving and gaining confidence every week, as the team continues to work hard in pursuit of those gold standards. This week offers an opportunity to express ourselves as a team without outside pressure and expectation, but we continue to insist on playing a fast, physical game that is in the team DNA.”