Abby Gustaitis is brought into the USA squad for the HSBC World Sevens Series Canada Sevens in Langford with coach Chris Brown looking for another strong tournament.
Brown has been impressed by Gustaitis, hoping with her ability to create opportunities will add quality to an already dynamic side.
On board are co-captain Lauren Doyle, Alev Kelter and Naya Tapper – the responsible for 14 of the tournament-high 27 tries the USA scored at the Kitakyushu Sevens in Japan in finishing fourth.
Making up the rest of the 12-player squad are Meya Bizer, IIona Maher, Nicole Heavirland (co-captain), Jordan Matyas, Nana Fa’avesi, Kayla Canett, Kris Thomas and Kristi Kirshie.
Speaking to USA Rugby, Brown said: “Our biggest challenge in Langford will be to continue to remain focused on the task at hand and not get taken away by the distraction of possibilities. Whether it be anything regarding Olympic qualification, what could be achieved that weekend or the fear of losing either of those two things, we take it one step at a time.
“We need to focus on the factors we can control. Trusting the principals of play and taking comfort in ourselves as a unit rather than as individuals will be our theme this weekend.
“We want to control the outcomes a little more, through dropping our unforced error count and if we can do this while continuing to take confidence in what we have been doing, we will be pleased with how the weekend unfolds.”
Going into Langford, New Zealand lead the standings with 72 points with USA third on 64, two points behind hosts Canada. Australia are fourth on 56, with the top four teams at the end of the six-leg series qualifying for the Olympics.
The USA are in Pool C with Spain, Fiji and France.
Main photo credit: Mike Lee – KLC fotos, World Rugby