NEW YORK, NY: There was so much rugby this weekend that we had to separate our 7s coverage from the rest of our rugby coverage. With the HSBC 7s – women & men – plus the USA Rugby Collegiate 7s National Championships, there is much to cover.
Dubai 7s, Womens: With an absolutely dominant display by New Zealand, the Black Ferns were the winners of the first round of the inaugural IRB Women’s Sevens World Series. Congrats, ladies. You earned it.
In an upset, the Russia took down the Canadians, winners of this round last year when it was the Women’s 7s Challenge Cup Series… Finally, in the Bowl bracket, after a rough start in Day 1, the Team USA bounced back to win the bowl, handily defeating France. It was re-match of their earlier match in pool play and it allowed the Eagles to extract some revenge for the Women’s 15s side after their series defeat 2-0. Here are the scores for each bracket’s final. Click here for the standings after the first round.
Final Cup: New Zealand 41 – 0 South Africa
Final Plate: Canada 10 – 14 Russia
Final Bowl: France 12 – 26 United States
Dubai 7s, Mens: Samoa managed to fend off a hungry New Zealand side to win the Cup Final. The Samoans were lead by Paul Perez, who just finished touring Europe with the 15s team and arrived mid-week. Perez scored a try in the first 10 seconds of the final. That set the tone, and though he would eventually be stretchered off late in the match, his impact had already been made. It was a frustrating end to another great tournament for RWU friend DJ Forbes‘ side, but they still top the standings. There is a hungry pack right behind the All Blacks, though. Further, Forbes’ captaincy is being questioned by some back home because his squad hasn’t won in the Finals in the first two legs of the HSBC tour.
England face some questioning as well. Disgruntled fans are demanding a change at the top in light of their slow start this season. But Head Coach Ben Ryan & Co were missing their top point-scorer and RWU contributor, Mathew Drew Turner and the vastly undervalued Chris Cracknell. Our feeling is that Ryan should stay on. The squad plays hard for him and that is evidenced by the way they bounced back to win the Shield after a heart-breaking loss to Portugal in the final match of pool play. Ryan’s troops also knocked off Samoa – the eventual champs.
NOTE: The unexpected and highly unusual driving rains arguably hurt New Zealand and England the most – both have great outside pace and the conditions all but eliminated the speed advantage.
The Iberian Peninsula produced a surprise in this Dubai. But it was Portugal, not Spain that made everyone sit-up and take notice. They made it out pool play with their only loss being coming at the hands of eventual champion Samoa, 24-19. They eventually fell to Canada in the semi-final of the Plate but they brought great fun and excitement to the party and we look for them to continue this form.
RWU correspondent Matt “Polar Bear” Hawkins could not help Team USA. The team went 1-4 and lost the Bowl semi-final to South Africa. This is the second straight tournament the Eagles have gone 1-4. And they’ve suffered some tough losses in the process. American rugby fans need to be patient with Coach Magleby, however, despite the strong performance of Canada, who went further than their southern neighbors again. Some USA fans are wonder why the Canadians are having more success and improving faster. Stay tuned.
01 Dec 2012 – 20:33 Samoa 26 – 15 New Zealand Final Cup
01 Dec 2012 – 20:01 France 12 – 15 Kenya Third Place
01 Dec 2012 – 18:54 Wales 21 – 14 Canada Final Plate
01 Dec 2012 – 18:24 South Africa 10 – 14 Argentina Final Bowl
01 Dec 2012 – 17:54 Spain 5 – 26 England Final Shield
USA College 7s Nationals: We called one of the finalists correctly in both the men’s and women’s finals. Hooray for us! In the women’s bracket, Navy made us look smart being in the final, but it was Norwich University, America’s first private military college that backed up our call that a military institution would win it all. We’ll take more undeserved credit. Anyway, Norwich played great defense throughout, only allowing two tries over both days. One of those was in the Final, which was a good match but Navy may have lost a few calls and a possible yellow card advantage… In the men’s Cup Final, we predicted Life University would be in it. However, we didn’t predict the emergence of Zinzan Elan-Puttick. Elan-Puttick scored a try and made all three conversions. He teamed with Nardus Wessels and Danie Swanepoel form a South African triumvirate that led the Red Wolves to their first ever victory over the Running Eagles. We know Mr. Elan-Puttick’s cousin and can tell you his rise has has even shocked his family… All scores from all the matches can be found here.
Back to the HSBC Tour… Port Elizabeth 7s: The Pool draw for next week’s Port Elizabeth 7s took place over the weekend. The US was drawn in a favorable pool with Zimbabwe, Portugal and Canada. All sides are in the second tier of 7s. Both Portugal and Canada are in fine form, so there will be no gimmes, but the opportunity for a good first day for the USA exists. It will be fun to watch.
South Africa (RSA)
New Zealand (NZL)
United States (USA)
That is it for 7s. Feel free to comment below, look for the rest of our Weekend Wrap-Up, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter @RugbyWrapUp, @JunoirBlaber, @Declan Yeats and @Mathew Drew Turner, respectively.
And as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs.