Las Vegas, USA – The difficulty in being a pundit is that when you are right, people shrug it off and say, well he does this all day so he probably knows a lot more than the average guy does. When you get it wrong though, you look like an idiot who is overpaid for doing the same job any bloke of the street could do. As if on cue, the pool play and playoffs of the Las Vegas USA 7s have made all pundits look like idiots. The way the pools were projected to finish based on the last tournament in Wellington, NZ proved useless. Here are the actual standings from pool play in Vegas:
After reaching a huge peak last week England fell to a huge valley as they lost every pool game for the first time in 5 years. Fiji bounced back from their Wellington debacle to win every game. Scotland followed up their solid performance last round with another one, including the victory over England to make the Cup quarters. Portugal using a team full of youngsters looked very good and will only get better as those young lads were fearless and almost took down Scotland along with England.
Kenya played horribly and only managed to beat the non-core (Core teams play every leg of series, non-core don’t) Tournament side Uruguay. Canada looked very strong and handily defeat Kenya and Uruguay. South Africa showed their class as they dominated without danger man Cecil Afrika and squad Captain Kyle Brown who were left at home due to injury. Uruguay fought hard and well but looked like what they were, a team struggling against sides that play ever stop of the series.
New Zealand were minus DJ Forbes and Kurt Baker, but the young players from their 7s developmental side looked right at home as they help the All Black 7s side win every pool game. Wales did just enough to beat both France and Argentina in tight contests. Argentina’s only win came against France with a converted kick being the difference. France came down to Earth after a highly successful SA leg and a decent NZ leg of the series.
This group was very tightly contested. Samoa managed to be the only side not to lose in this group. They looked solid to get by Spain and a fortuitous bounce against the US helped them hold on, then they hit their stride against Australia. USA started very sluggish against Australia as they let the Aussies hammer them but came into their own against Samoa and pulled off a minor miracle win against Spain. The victory over Spain was not a surprise, it was leaving it late to get the necessary points for the Cup Playoffs. Australia looked good against the US but could not maintain their composure against Spain and lost all shape against Samoa.
Most the matches in the playoff rounds were not only fantastic but went down to the final minutes including the USA match against Fiji, which came down to a conversion. There was a period of 3 consecutive matches going into extra time as USA-Canada, New Zealand-Fiji and South Africa-Samoa all were not settled in regulation. Even the 3rd place match between Samoa-Fiji required extra time and it was in all honesty worthy of any 7s final ever. Other notable matches were England-Australia, South Africa-Kenya, and Uruguay-Portugal but I recommend you watch the games on-line or check out the highlights. Here are the results from the competition.
New Zealand 21 – 40 South Africa Final Cup
Fiji 31 – 36 Samoa Third Place
Canada 22 – 5 Scotland Final Plate
Argentina 12 – 17 France Final Bowl
Uruguay 0 – 41 Australia Final Shield
Speaking of highlights, here are the highlights from Day 3
That’s it for me for now…Please comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter @RugbyWrapUp, @JunoirBlaber, @Declan Yeats, @Mathew Drew Turner and @Ebstide52, respectively. And as always… Stay low and keep pumping those legs.