SINGAPORE – The world’s only island city-state, Singapore, will host the 8th leg of the 2016/2017 World Rugby HSBC 7s series. Last year was the first the first time the tourney was back in Singapore in over a decade. After a fantastic party atmosphere and with some breathtaking rugby including the shock winning of the tournament by Kenya, what will Sinkers have in store for an encore? Well there will still be a massive concert series planned after each day of the tournament, great attendance and atmosphere at the games so I am sure we won’t be disappointed.
The USA’s showing in the last tournament in Hong Kong was great and over the last 3 legs the USA can legitimately say the are one of the 4 best teams in the competition. That is huge step for the program, but as the motivational saying goes, “Better never stops!” The @Eagles7s have to consistently qualify for the cup and make the cup semi-finals to be regarded as a Top 4 side, though They are currently in 5th place with a chance of finishing in the top 4 for the first time ever but that means there can be no let up.
Let’s look at the 3 key issues going into this tournament:
Team changes (+/-): There have been no changes to the side since Hong Kong. There is a likelihood that 13th man, Malon Al-Jiboori, could be part of the roster the first day, while stalwart Danny “The Beast” Barrett recovers from a knock in Hong Kong.
Perry Baker Needs Help: @SpeedStick11 is having the a great series and he will likely make this year’s series Dream Team. However, with Carlin Isles injured, he is the team’s only home run hitter. This means he is out on the field for almost the whole match, every match. Though no one can match his speed, other guys are gonna need to step up and do more so that Baker’s minutes can be better managed.
Taking that next step: Will the USA be able to knock off South Africa in a semi-final? Don’t count on it. The cruel lessons about what is needed to go from second tier to Top 4 side involves a few heartbreaking losses. Each loss provides a valuable lesson in the growth of a championship side. How many lessons will the USA have to endure? I wish I knew.
Optimist’s View: The Eagles will avoid South Africa until the final and finish second
Cynic’s View: The Eagles will draw South Africa or Fiji in the quarters and end up in 6th.
My View: I actually believe side with the Optimist’s View; under Mike Friday, Team USA will make the final for this leg.
SINGAPORE 7s (#SgRugby7s ):
As things go, it looks like South Africa have the series wrapped up. However, considering they have lost in the final to England and Fiji, they have had to work for every win – particularly during their slugfests with the Eagles. So though it would take a collapse of epic proportions for South Africa to not win the series, Fiji, England and New Zealand, aren’t going to stop chasing. The USA will also be on the hunt for that Top 4 finish, as they sit in 5th with 4th in touching distance.
Here are our pool previews:
Hong Kong 7s
Fiji will lead this group but they will face some pressure from Canada. The Maple Leafs will take second very easily. Russia can be unpredictable but they are still a better bet than Hong Kong to finish third.
South Africa 7s
South Africa will have its hands full trying to win this group. England will fight them for the top spot without a doubt. In addition, there is a French side that will have some of its stars back from the 6 Nations, so you will see a more dangerous side. This could be the hardest group to call. However, I figure that France will likely take third, England second and South Africa will take the group.
Australia has the best chance of winning this group. However, Argentina have made the cup quarter-finals the last two rounds, so they will be dangerous… Kenya won this leg last year, so you never know what they will bring to the table… The unpredictable Samoans will likely be last – unless they bring their title-winning Samoa mentality and cause some upsets.
New Zealand 7s
This is the group of death. Every team in this group has made a Cup semi-finals at some point this series. New Zealand will likely win a narrow one against the USA to win the group… The Eagles will prove they are legit and beat Scotland and Wales… Scotland should win third, as they did win the Challenge Trophy last round in Hong Kong… Wales will likely finish forthy, though in another group they should finish higher.
A live stream will be provided to viewers who want to watch the action on World Rugby’s website.
Finally, here are my predictions for the playoffs and the team that will win promotion to core status:
Cup: South Africa
Fifth: New Zealand
Challenge Trophy: Kenya
That’s all for now, please feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter@: @RugbyWrapUp, @Junoir Blaber, @Matt_McCarthy00, @JWB_RWU, @Luke Bienstock, @Ronan Nelson, @MichaelHalsey24, @MeetTheMatts, @Brian C Cole and @Declan Yeats.
And as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs.