NEW YORK, NY- “Last Call! Final last call!” We all know that sound late on a Saturday night/early Sunday morning. It is when you realize all good things must come to an end. That same feeling had overcome us as this weekend, we will witness the final leg of the 2014-15 World Rugby Org Women’s Sevens World Series. The last and final leg will be held in Amsterdam, Holland. The Amsterdam 7s will be the most intense leg of this season’s series. Though New Zealand have all but clinched the series, it won’t be until the knockout round of this tournament. The teams standing fourth through six have to fight it out to book their tickets for the 2016 Rio Olympics, since only one of the three will be able to get the automatic bid.
Last week in London at the Marriott London 7s, the Women’s Eagles finished third. The USA fell to their old foe Canada in the Cup semi-final. They are now in the fourth and final Olympic spot with the aforementioned New Zealand, Canada, Australia ahead of them. The USA is tied with France on 62 points and England in sixth. Frantic finish is the best way to describe the action ahead for this weekend.
Looking at the impressive form of the USA since the Atlanta 7s they are getting hot late in the series, which is very good. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s do what we have done for all tournament legs and look at the Top 3 Issues facing the side as they play this weekend.
Squad Changes (-/+): None. For the first time all series, there are no changes for this tournament.
Fatigue: The reason that there are no squad changes is because this is the only leg of the series that follows another leg immediately. On the Mens circuit it is two legs over two weekends, but this is the first time the women will try this out. So dealing with fatigue and fitness will a new thing for all the players in this tournament
Pressure: So the USA now has a grasp on 4th place. Can they hold on and automatically qualify for Rio? That is the pressure the players are under. They are currently in the drivers seat and not chasing anyone but they have to perform every game if they hope to make Rio.
What does this mean going in to the tournament?
Optimist View: The women match the men and win the whole thing.
Cynic View: They do well but no cigars so they win 3rd.
My View: Make the final and lose.
As of print time the USA has had a great first day. They went undefeated in day one and upset tournament heavyweights New Zealand.
Women’s Eagles Sevens | Canada Women’s Sevens
v South Africa – W 26-7
v Fiji – W 36-4
v New Zealand – W 34-5
Amsterdam 7s: This leg is the homestretch. The final leg is next weekend and no one wants to leave it till the last minute to get a much-needed victory. We all know that New Zealand is going to win but watching the race to be the team that has the honor of losing to them in the final will be completely engrossing.
USA New Zealand
So the USA has to make the semi-finals to assure itself of an Olympic birth. It is being chased by 3 very tough teams however, with their form today, the USA might be focused on winning the whole thing.
With all that factored in, here are our predictions for playoffs and title winners:
Cup: New Zealand
All in all it still seems possible, though unlikely, that the USA team will finish in the final four and qualify for the Olympics.
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