By: Phaidra Knight
World Rugby Hall of Famer Phaidra Knight has participated in three World Cups throughout her 18-year career. The Georgia-native earned 35 caps with the squad and played in the 2002, 2006, and 2010 World Cups. Of those three tournaments, Knight was named All-World Team honors twice and was named USA Rugby Player of the Decade in 2010.
The United States will host it’s first ever Rugby World Cup July 20-22, 2018. 16 women’s (and 24 men’s) teams from around the world will descend onto AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, to showcase their talent in hopes of capturing the Sevens World Cup.
The knock out nature of this tournament is uncommon to the traditional pool play format which features round robin play. No team, including the top five Australia, New Zealand, France, Canada, or USA is safe. Each country will play four matches, however the winner will have to retain a perfect record throughout to walk away with the World Cup. The margin for error is minimal, the stakes are high, and the excitement barometer is off the charts.
The New Zealand Black Ferns are the reigning World Cup Champions and enter the tournament highly favored after winning their last four tournaments. But rest assured, 2016 Olympic Gold medalist Australia have injected some pace into their squad and have plans of their own to take the crown. On the day, host Team USA could be a blackhorse, having finished third in the 2013 World Cup held in Russia.
NBC Sports will broadcast more than 30 hours of live rugby coverage on NBC, NBCSN, and the Olympic Channel. You can find additional coverage on the NBC Sports app and on NBC Sports Gold.
For more information on the 2018 Rugby World Cup, check out www.rwcsevens.com.
Below is a comprehensive list of the 16 women’s 2018 World Cup teams:
Papua New Guinea