New York native Tiffany Faaee captains the USA in their opening match of the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup against Italy on Wednesday. The UCD Bowl in Dublin will be the venue as the 7th-ranked Eagles take on the 9th-ranked Azzurre. Head Coach Pete Steinberg has settled on a new-look lineup after months of experimentation. The element of surprise will drive the team in the pool stage.
It’s an inexperienced squad for the Americans, with only four players in the starting lineup part of the 2014 World Cup side. Hooker Katy Augustyn, halfback pair Deven Owsiany and Kimber Rozier, and inside center Sylvia Braaten will look to give the team much-needed experience on the big stage. Props Naima Reddick and Hope Rogers were also on the 2014 side but will settle for backup roles in the opener.
The backline has a distinct sevens flavor to it with all but the starting halfbacks – reserves included – having appeared on the HSBC Sevens Series this season. Try-scoring machine Naya Tapper is included on the right wing but it’s Nicole Heavirland preferred in the midfield with 2016-17 Dream Team select Alev Kelter left on the bench. 32-year-old winger Jessica Javelet is set to make her test debut as a replacement.
Kickoff is set for 4:30pm local time, 11:30am Eastern, 8:30am Pacific. The match will be broadcast live by NBC Sports Gold. A live stream will be available on the official World Rugby site for those outside the USA.
1 Catie Benson, 2 Katy Augustyn, 3 Tiffany Faaee (capt.), 4 Stacey Bridges, 5 Alycia Washington, 6 Sara Parsons, 7 Kate Zackary, 8 Jordan Gray, 9 Deven Owsiany, 10 Kimber Rozier, 11 Kristen Thomas, 12 Sylvia Braaten, 13 Nicole Heavirland, 14 Naya Tapper, 15 Cheta Emba
Replacements: 16 Sam Pankey, 17 Naima Reddick, 18 Hope Rogers, 19 Abby Gustaitis, 20 Kristine Sommer, 21 Kayla Canett, 22 Alev Kelter, 23 Jessica Javelet