Lauren Doyle: USA “definitely a force” ahead of Tokyo 2020

We caught up with the USA women’s sevens star as she continues her preparation for a second appearance at an Olympic Games.

Hearing Lauren Doyle talk about appearing at a second Olympic Games, you are left with the impression she has unfinished business on sport’s grandest stage.

Doyle was part of the USA team that finished fifth as rugby returned to the Olympics at Rio 2016, losing to New Zealand by just five points in the quarter-finals having drawn with eventual gold medallists Australia in the pool stage.

She was the sole survivor from Rio in the USA squad that competed at the recent Madrid Sevens, and has helped the team evolve over the past five years.

And, Doyle believes that qualifying for Tokyo 2020 through the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, rather than relying on regional qualifying, is clear proof of that progress.

Pressed on what Olympic qualification could mean to the game in the USA, she said: “This time around it was a more powerful thing because we qualified for it through the World Series, we were in the top four. 

“And, so, I think that just shows that we have progressed because last time around we missed out on the top four spot. 

“We got fifth overall, and so we had to go play in the [RAN Women’s Sevens 2015] tournament. 

“This time we've really stepped it up and I just think that it says we've been working really hard and we know what we're doing now a lot better than back then. 

“And, I think we're definitely a force and people are nervous about us, when they've got to play us. So, I think that that's pretty cool progress to see, especially being on the team for so long.”

Focusing on team strengths

The USA finished the World Series 2019 on a high, claiming their first ever tournament victory at the final event in Biarritz. 

Doyle scored five tries at Parc des Sports Aguiléra, including one in the final against New Zealand,  and then helped her teammates win the first leg of the abbreviated 2020 campaign, on home soil in Glendale four months later.

According to Doyle, the secret of that success was focusing on the players’ strengths. “We just got really good at what we can do,” she said.

“The things that we have progressed a lot are our defence, our defensive structure and how we have a very aggressive line and just tackle percentages in general. We have a huge emphasis on things like that. 

“And then, offensively, we're going to be down your throat running hard lines at you. We're not going to play passive and pull you around. We're going to run straight at you. 

“And, I think that that plays to our advantage against most teams.”

Doyle turned 30 in February, while in Spain for the Madrid Sevens, and admits she is reminded on a daily basis about her seniority within the squad.

But, being experienced does have its perks and playing at a second Olympics is certainly not something that Doyle is going to take for granted.

“Some people [get to go] once in a lifetime, maybe,” she said. “I get to go twice, you know, so that's pretty cool to think about.”

And, she is determined to make her time in Tokyo count. “One thing that I learnt [in Rio] is, you plan for things but you're never going to expect what's actually going to happen,” Doyle said.

“It was a good experience for us. You know, hopefully this time around those senior players can learn from everything and help guide the younger players and come out on top this time.”

READ MORE: Try-machine Jordan Conroy confident Ireland can qualify for Olympics >>

Last updated: Apr 1, 2021, 5:23:25 PM
sevens-news wr-women-news-sevens sevens wr-news-sevens wr-news-olympics-w Olympics wr-news wr-women-news Tournament News mz-advisory wr-news-olympics-m
Rugby sevens match officials unveiled for Tokyo Olympics with 100 days to go
Squad of 22 match officials announced for the women’s and men’s rugby sevens competitions at the delayed Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
Maggie Alphonsi - ITV Sport
wr-news Women's wr-women-news Feature
Team player Maggie Alphonsi relishing role as a TV rugby pundit
It is often said that rugby is the ultimate team sport and Red Roses legend, Maggie Alphonsi MBE, is finding that applies to her successful broadcasting career every bit as much as when she played.
Sene Naoupu scores try for Ireland
wr-women-news-regions wr-news Women's wr-women-news Tournament News wr-women-news-power
Ireland star Sene Naoupu hoping to help International Rugby Players achieve “game-changer objectives”
Following her appointment as Head of Strategic Projects and Research at IRP, we caught up with the Irish centre.
Jasmine Joyce at World Rugby Sevens Series Qualifier 2018
wr-women-news-sevens Women's sevens-news-olympic wr-news-olympics-w Olympics wr-women-news-regions wr-news wr-women-news Tournament News
Jasmine Joyce focused on making the most of “amazing” Olympic opportunity
With the opening ceremony of Tokyo 2020 set to take place in 100 days, we caught up with the Bristol Bears, Wales and Great Britain star to discuss life as a professional athlete, her hopes for the Games and juggling rugby commitments.
Women'sSix Nations 2021: Italy v England
wr-women-news-regions wr-news wr-women-news
Women’s Six Nations 2021 in numbers: Dow-Jones stock rises
We shine a light on some of the dazzling performances from the second round of the Women’s Six Nations 2021.
Women's Six Nations 2021: Wales v Ireland
wr-news Women's wr-women-news Tournament News wr-news-rankings
Spain benefit from Welsh woes in World Rugby Women’s Rankings
Wales drop to 10th in the World Rugby Women’s Rankings, with Spain replacing them in ninth, after a heavy home defeat to Ireland in the Women’s Six Nations 2021.
Lao Rugby Unstoppables
wr-women-news-regions wr-news Women's Development Women's wr-women-news wr-women-news-power
Lao Rugby Unstoppables hope to “make the environment better” for future generation
We spoke to Lao Rugby Federation CEO Viengsamai Souksavanh, who organised a networking event in Vientiane that brought together 17 Unstoppable females from the country’s rugby community.
Bath Rugby v Wasps - Gallagher Premiership Rugby
wr-women-news-regions wr-women-news-coach wr-news wr-women-news Tournament News wr-news-europe wr-news-matchofficials
Breaking glass ceilings: Sara Cox and Nikki O’Donnell on life as test rugby referees
Ahead of the second weekend of the Women’s Six Nations 2021, we caught up with the English match officials to discuss their careers in the game.
Keep Rugby Clean RWC 2017
wr-news Women's Development Women's wr-women-news Tournament News wr-women-news-power
Educating young people “the best way of changing behaviours” around doping says Deb Robinson
On Play True Day, World Rugby anti-doping advisory committee chair, Deb Robinson discusses the importance of keeping rugby and sport clean.
Women's Rugby Super Series 2019 - USA v France - Photo: David Barpal
wr-news Women's wr-women-news Tournament News RWC2021 Rugby World Cup wr-women-news-power wr-women-news-classic
Rugby World Cup 1991 30th anniversary: Today’s players reflect on women’s rugby pioneers
Three decades on from the inaugural women’s Rugby World Cup, we talk to three current Women’s Six Nations players about what those early tournaments mean to them.