LAS VEGAS, USA – The third tournament of the 2016/2017 World Rugby HSBC Women’s Sevens Series was another fantastic leg and @USAWomens7s nearly matched their feat from the previous round. For the rest of the world, New Zealand fired off a loud warning shot that they are still around and a threat to win the series.
@USAWomens7s looking good in Vegas:
It was not as embarrassing as in Sydney but once again my tournament preview underestimated the Eagles. The USA opened the tournament poorly. Maybe it was the Vegas sun or the rush of playing in front of home fans, but the USA defense was poor. The attack was not lacking but the defense let the team down, as the Eagles fell to Ireland 24-21… The defense matched the attack in the USA’s second match against Spain. The USA only conceded one try as they cruised to a 22-7 victory… The Eagles had to work extra hard in their final match of pool play. Unlike the previous two, there was no free-flowing offensive play as they fought tooth and nail to win against Fiji, 14-7. The USA had booked its ticket to the cup quarterfinals.
Day Two began with the Eagles avenging their loss to Ireland. Strangely enough, they were drawn against each other for the cup quarterfinals. This time the USA defense held and they saw out a 20-12 victory. The Eagles were now set-up for a semi-final match-up with the powerhouse New Zealand Black Ferns. The Black Ferns were the favorite but the Eagles did not back down with the memory of a victory against the Ferns in Sydney. The Eagles drew first blood but the Black Ferns slowly crawled back into the match and a lead. From there they played great defense to close out the match 12-7. The USA was now in the Bronze final against their longtime rival, Canada, who spoiled the USA party in Sydney. Once again the Canadians proved to be bad neighbors as they roughed up the USA for a 31-7 victory.
The Black Ferns are back:
The Kiwis came to Vegas and they were all business. They went undefeated on both days as they shutout Brazil, steamrolled England and edged out Brazil. Following that fine form, they cruised by the Russians had to fight for their lives against the USA before they could defeat their old foes, The Aussies for the title. The Aussies crushed all-comers except the Kiwis in Vegas. That was the difference between cup winners and runners up. 3rd place went to the Canadians as we mentioned and the it was the Aussies, that denied them a place in the final.
The battle for fifth place went to the Fijian side again. Though they have not made the leap to to a top 4 side, Fiji seem to be showing some much needed consistency. Seventh place went to France who are trying to develop their 7s program to match their 15s program. Spain upset England, who were very poor for the second straight tournament and just may not have the depth they once did that allowed them to compete for a 7s crown the same weekend as the Women’s 6 Nations. The win for Spain meant they got to claim the Challenge Trophy.
Final standings will be
Cup: New Zealand
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And as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs.