SYDNEY, AUS – The second tournament of the 2017/2018 Women’s Sevens World Series was filled with dominant performances and a few upsets. In Dubai, the @USAWomens7s, they sent the message that on their day they can beat anyone, unfortunately in Sydney, the message this round is they can lose to anybody at any time… For the rest of the world, Australia are determined to regain their standing as the best in world.
The Eagles 7s had a very bad tournament in Sydney. This was their worst performance since the first leg of last season, Dubai 2016. Their performance in pool play was a textbook example of inconsistent performances in that they beat who they should beat, and lost to a team that is consistently better than them and a team they are slightly better than on paper. In their opening pool match loss to the England, the USA frustratingly dug themselves a two try hole. The USA fought back from there but could never claim the lead and lost 28-24. The next match was against Japan, a side they are demonstrably better than, the USA responded with a dominant 38-0 performance. The final game of Day One, saw the US play the Black Ferns of New Zealand, a side that is better than the USA, but the USA has no need to fear as they beat them last round, in Dubai. However, in a disappointing performance the USA went down with a wimpier 31-0. If not for the shocking upset of England by Japan, the USA would not have made the cup playoffs.
The Cup playoffs began with a lot of optimism as the Eagles took on Russia. The weakness of the Eagles defense showed up once again despite a back and forth first half, it was the Eagles that were down two tries to none. The Russians scored the first try of the second half before the USA finally began mounting a comeback but it would fall short as the USA would lose 19-14. So now the most attainable goal was for the USA was to try and win 5th place and walk away with a modicum of momentum. That was not to be, as once again the Eagles dug themselves a hole in the first half, then had to mount a furious fight back. The Eagles spotted Spain, a 2 try lead before coming back to tie the game 19-19 with only a few minutes to go. However, they were unable to push on and gave up a late try to lose 24-19. The final game of the weekend for the Eagles saw them with a chance to at least win a second game and claim 7th place but that was not to be. The Ireland woman’s team has gone from strength to strength and once again the USA dug themselves a whole and by the time the comeback started it was too close to the end of the game as the clock struck all zeros, the Irish won 19-10.
If Australia‘s performance in Dubai didn’t put people on notice this weekend’s performance in front of their fellow Aussies rang out like a shot in the night. The Aussies became only the second team ever in Men’s and Women’s 7s series history to win a tournament without ever surrendering a point. I don’t think there is much to add after a stat like that. I said this after round one, but I stand corrected, round 2 was as impressive a 6-game run as the series will ever see.
New Zealand had an impressive run themselves but had no answer for when they ran into the buzzsaw that was Australia. Canada had a good two days but they were shut down hard by New Zealand in the Semifinals before bouncing back and defeating Russia in the 3rd place/Bronze match… Continuing their rebuilding campaign, the ladies of England managed to secure the Challenge Trophy.
Final standings will be
Second: New Zealand
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And as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs.