Much to the hometown’s pleasure, the USA v Canada match highlighted the first round of the Houston 7s, the second stop on the IRB Women’s Seven World Series. After running out to a 12-0 lead, the USA returned fire and finished with a 12-all tie.
From the opening kickoff, Canada played patiently deep in their end and finally got the break they were looking for when Magali Harvey pushed off of Vix Folayan and motored to the USA 22 meter. Folayan pulled down the speedster from behind, but Canada was quick to support and continued to work the width and spread the Eagles’ defense.
After a few phases, USA captain Vanesha McGee found herself with too much room to cover and Brittany Waters dotted down from 10 meters out, 5-0 to Canada.
From the subsequent kickoff, Nathalie Marchino and Lauren Doyle teamed up on the sideline to get into Canada’s end, and then another dash down the sideline from Folayan got the USA in scoring position. But Canada’s defense was solid, and even though the USA has arguably faster finishers, they couldn’t find room out wide. Canada, however, spread the USA’s defense well, and Harvey found the space she needed for the score. Mandy Marchak made an excellent conversion for the 12-0 lead.
There were only a few seconds left in the half, but the referee allowed the kickoff. Good thing because it produced a fantastic score for the USA. Deep in their end, Christy Ringgenberg cleaned up the ball dribbling out of contact and found Kelly Griffin just in time. Griffin tore into the belly of the field, and just as Waters looked to smother her, cut back inside to by enough time for Nathalie Marchino to catch up. Marchino took care of the rest and centered the try, which Ringgenberg converted, 12-7.
Despite the momentum for the USA, it was Canada that looked to rally early in the second half. Harvey nearly scored again when Ashley Steacy broke weak off a scrum and the USA defense didn’t adjust quick enough. Ringgenberg chased her down and squashed that opportunity, but it was a wake-up call that Canada was not yet deflated.
Marchino got creative in the middle of the field, grubbing through the line and racing Harvey to the pickup. The Canadian erred on the gather, which allowed Marchino to scoop it up and hit Griffin running on. She sped away to dot beneath the posts. Unfortunately, Ringgenberg missed the conversion and the score stood at 12-12.
There were still three-and-a-half minutes left, and both sides had opportunities to score – Canada missed a few clearing kicks to touch, the USA grubbed through a penalty from 15 meters out – but no additional points made it onto the scoreboard.
The USA has South Africa next, while Canada takes on Argentina
Tries: Marchino, Griffin
Tries: Waters, Harvey