LANGFORD, CANADA – The fifth leg of the 2016/2017 World Rugby HSBC Women’s Sevens Series produced a solid performance from @USAWomens7s. For the rest of the world, New Zealand made their move to get to the head of the pack and try and lock up the title with one leg to go.
@USAWomens7s solid but not spectacular:
It was a rare moment as my tournament preview was almost correct in my prediction for the Eagles. The USA opened the tournament strongly in a tough first match against a good but inconsistent England side that could go from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde in the same match. The match was intense and incredibly close as the sides traded tries with no side more than a try ahead all match. The USA’s ability to convert all the tries would be the difference as they held onto a slim lead after the final horn to win, 21-19… The second match of the day was an absolute slugfest. It wasn’t one for purists as the stifling defense of New Zealand was equally match by the USA. It would take a bit of luck and individual brilliance for the Black Ferns to score what would be the game-winning try early in the second half as the match finished 7-0… The Eagles were spitting nails from that loss as they headed into their final match of pool play. Unlike the previous two matches, there was lots of free-flowing offensive play by the Eagles as they cruised to a dominant win against The Netherlands, 57-0. The USA had booked its ticket to the cup quarterfinals.
Day Two began with the Eagles suffering a tough loss as they were drawn against Australia in the cup quarterfinals. The Eagles struggled against the Australian defense and could not get out of their own end for chunks of the match. The Aussies were able to turn that pressure into points and secure a 22-10 victory. This sent the Eagles into the 5th place playoffs and they were set for a semi-final match-up with England. After allowing the first try to the English, the USA attack got into gear and became hard to stop as the Eagles offense went on a 3 tries to 1 run to close the match. The Eagles won what should have been a tight match 26-14. The USA was now in the 5th place final against Russia. The match was an instant classic as both sides traded scores and it seemed like the last person to score would be the winner. Unfortunately for the USA as they played in Extra time, they would not be the side that scored first as Russia secured a 26-21 victory.
The Black Ferns are pulling away:
The Kiwis arrived at Langford and were determined to continue their climb back to the top of the 7s ladder. They went undefeated on both days as they edged out the Netherlands, squeaked by the USA and steamrolled England. Following that fine form, they cruised by the Russians and then the French before they had to fight for their lives against the tournament host, Canada for the title. The Canucks crushed all-comers by a minimum of 14 points on Day 1 and in their first game of Day 2, before they had to dig deep to knock off the Aussies and eventually lose to the Kiwis. That was the difference between cup winners and runners up. Third place went to the Aussies as they bounced back to easily knock off France after being edged out by Canada in the semi-final.
The battle for fifth place went to the Russians as we mentioned earlier while Ireland upset some on-lookers with a narrow victory over England for seventh place. Fiji were able to salvage their week by winning the Challenge Trophy over Spain. Currently the are 2 points that separate the USA in sixth place from Fiji in fifth and an additional 4 from Russia in fourth place. It brings a lot more tension to the final leg in France in a few weeks.
Final standings are:
Cup: New Zealand
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, @Matt_McCarthy00, @Junoir Blaber, @JWB_RWU, @Luke Bienstock, @Ronan Nelson, @MichaelHalsey24, @MeetTheMatts, @Brian C Cole and @Declan Yeats.
And as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs.