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Gabby Cantorna believes the sky is the limit for USA women’s rugby sevens

A new era for USA women’s rugby is only in its infancy but playmaker Gabby Cantorna believes the sky is the limit in the long-term.

The Women’s Eagles have been competing in the Pacific Four Series under new head coach Sione Fukofuka, who took over the side having previously worked as an assistant coach for Australia.

The USA got the better of Fukofuka’s former side in the Women’s Eagles’ final game of the competition this week, likely wrapping up a place in WXV 1 thanks to a 32-25 victory in Melbourne.

Prior to that, the Women’s Eagles had suffered heavy defeats to Canada and New Zealand, but in this new set-up, the versatile Cantorna believes the margin for progression is huge.

She said: “Overall, the attitude has been really positive.

“We’re trying to keep things in perspective because our time with Sione has been five or six weeks, so considering the amount of time other teams have had together, I think we’re progressing, and we feel like we are getting better and taking steps forward.

“The more time we have together, the more those systems will click.

“In attack, we are trying to make sure everyone has a lot of clarity because we feel like it breeds confidence and that is what we are trying to inspire in ourselves when we are attacking.

“So, we are trying to get into our shapes early and put the ball into the best space to go forward. It’s not really a complex game plan, we are trying to simplify it, so we are all on the same page.

“We’ve looked effective with that and then defensively it’s about controlling your emotion, getting that mental piece right. It’s about aligning all those pieces, so we are on the same page.

“Everyone has their habits that they have from clubs so it’s about uninstalling those and working together so we are not in opposition.”

Cantorna started an opening defeat to Canada at inside centre, before shifting inside to fly-half for the meeting with world champions New Zealand.

She then returned to inside centre for the victory over the Wallaroos, kicking seven points in the victory.

The creation of WXV has helped the USA grow as a team, offering regular games for the side, either in WXV 1 or WXV 2.

And with a wealth of talent coming through the pathways in the States, the Exeter Chiefs player believes the potential for growth is huge, just under a decade out from a World Cup in the country.

She added: “I think the sky is the limit. Once we get things in place, we have a lot of players who play high-level rugby and are very successful in their clubs. It’s about getting those pieces connected.

“We have a lot of really young talented players coming through, so our aspiration is to get back into the top four and back towards the top of the world ranking, especially looking at the next World Cup and also looking towards 2033, I think they are trying to build a solid platform so that we are able to compete for gold in that.”

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