Dubai, UAE – The IRB, [excuse me], World Rugby HSBC 7s in Dubai, is the first 7s tournament with the new World Rugby moniker. Further, the Dubai 7s is the only 7s tournament that is a stop on both men’s and women’s circuit. Why that’s the case is an argument for another day… What it means here, however, is that our 7s staff will be doing double duty. The following will We will look at both Eagle 7s program as well as their respective 7s World Series and finally we will take a stab at predicting each tournament.
As gentleman, it must be ladies first. We will focus this article solely on the women’s program. Before we go on however, we have a confession to make.
Our 7s coverage is still developing with plenty of room for growth, in particular our women’s coverage. We could have omitted the Women’s Eagle 7s due to not being as informed about the program as we should be. But we’re aiming to move in the right direction, with coverage of both the youth and women’s game from RWU female staffers Scheenagh Harrington and Karen Ritter, an attempt must be made. So, some emails were sent and here are the three main points about the women’s program and its head coach Ric Suggit.
Youth Movement: There will be five players with two 7s series caps or fewer on the squad. That is nearly half the squad being inexperienced, which makes one wonder because sometimes young players can seem unmoved by the magnitude of the stage but other times they can look frightened. With so many, one or two are likely to struggle with the learning curve.
Crossovers: There has been a focus on getting more athletic players, so crossover players from basketball and field hockey have been added. It is all good but has this come at the expense of players that have good rugby brains and are experienced ruggers?
Undercooked: The team trained against the Brazil national team and a fair few played in the Coral Coast 7s. However, with so many new players and a limited budget not that many warm-up tournaments were allowed. The team may not be ready for the big show just yet.
Optimist View: The team hits the ground running with other sides also rusty and they finish top 4.
Cynic View: Likely to finish 8. Too many new players whose lack of familiarity with the game, their teammates or rugby at that level becomes cruelly exposed.
RWU view: Split the difference and they finish 6th. Slow start to be followed by a hot finish.
Going Forward: The ladies have a likelihood of going 0-3 or 1-2 then finishing in a flurry and going 3-0 or 2-1 on the second day.
This is the first tournament of the tour so it is tough to predict due to a lack of form. It must be looked at as a case where pedigree will be more important than usual.
Here are our pool previews:
Pedigree wins and as such New Zealand will top this pool easily. Second should go to the USA but don’t be surprised if it goes to China. Russia will likely to finish fourth.
Australia will easily win this group as they have the track record. From there it will be a 3 way dogfight for second so we will back Spain to finish second then France with South Africa last.
Canada will take this group but only after a tough fight with England for first. This super-tough pool will see Fiji finish third and Brazil bring up the rear.
Final standings will be
Cup: New Zealand
Writer’s Update: With time-zones being what they are, we woke up to find out some of the early results after submitting the article. Here are how things stand right now. World Rugby needs to go back to the drawing board on this new website. The old one would let you pull up all the match results and pool standing easily. This new one took almost 30 minutes of guesswork!!
Pool A: USA beat Russia, lost a heartbreaker to NZ then demolished China to finish second in the group. New Zealand top the group as expected with Russia Third and China fourth.
Pool B: Australia ran away with this group. France won second and we believe Spain finished third and South Africa fourth.
Pool C: England won a tough match against Canada to top the pool. Canada finished second, Fiji third and Brazil last
Here is the cup quarter finals draw:
That’s it for now. Feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter@: RugbyWrapUp,Junoir Blaber, DJ Eberle, Nick Hall, James Harrington, Cody Kuxmann, Jaime Loyd, Karen Ritter , Jamie Wall, Jake Frechette and Declan Yeats, respectively.
And as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs.