by Paul Osborne
March 31, 2014 (ISN) – Olympic bobsleigh silver medallist Elana Meyers is among three players who will make their debut for the United States women’s Eagles Sevens this week at the Guangzhou Sevens, the fourth leg of the 2013-2014 International Rugby Board (IRB) Women’s Sevens World Series.
Just a month after winning silver at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, Meyers will take to the field at the Guangzhou Uni Town Stadium in a sport she had never played or seen just four weeks ago.
“It’s been crazy,” said Meyers.
“The girls have been awesome, teaching me how to play the game.
“But it’s been a sharp learning curve.”
Joining Meyers for their rugby sevens debut will be Alev Kelter and Shania Turley who have each earned residency contracts at the US Olympic Training Center in the last three months.
“Shaina is a physically and mentally tough competitor,” US Eagles head coach Ric Suggitt said.
“Shaina has a hard work ethic and she will have some specific roles to fulfill in attack and defense during the tournament.
“Elana and Alev have demonstrated enough this past month and now they will be thrown right into the major competition.”
The Eagles faced a big blow in their bid for glory in Guangzhou following the news that Jessica Javelet, top scorer for the US at the Atlanta Sevens and Sao Paulo Sevens in February, will not travel with the team to China due to prior commitments.
The side will be captained by Amelia Villines in just her fourth Series tournament.
The US are in Pool C, alongside China, and will face a tough task in their path to progression with challenges from North American neighbours Canada, Russia and France.
“We need to look after the ball on the field,” Suggitt said.
“We need to execute our decisions and make certain we stay confident no matter what happens.
“A lot can happen in 14 minutes, we now have to make it happen for us.
“There is no doubt what we have to do to be successful in China: go there in the correct frame of mind and be prepared to play six matches with full intensity.”
The two-day Guangzhou Sevens is due to get underway next Saturday (April 6).
Australia and New Zealand currently sit atop the World Series standings on 56 points, followed closely by Canada and Russia.
The US had a disappointing tournament in Brazil in April and currently sit down in seventh.