Las Vegas, USA – Due to a schedule conflict Johnathan Wicklow Barberie and the film crew will be at Vegas, yours truly will be stuck at home… but who cares, let’s talk about Vegas 7s. This 7s tournament is the number 1 7s tournament in America right now. It maybe a “hair” behind the NY7s in terms of teams but with the media attention, games televised and IRB series stop, it is number 1. It is the showcase of rugby in the US. Hopefully the Houston Women’s 7s and CRC 7s will also grow to this level. However right now it is only Vegas baby!!
Anyway, without further ado, here are our Las Vegas 7s Preview & Predictions:
IRB Sevens World Series – Las Vegas, USA Feb. 8-10, 2013
The Pools are as follows:
S. Africa (RSA)
New Zealand (NZL)
United States (USA)
Pool A: This pool has a resurgent England, with a healthy RWU writer Matt Drew Turner coming of an incredible come from behind victory against Kenya in Wellington. The return of MDT and Christian Lewis-Pratt have made the side very dangerous once again. Fiji will be fuming after their poor performance in pool play in Wellington, which saw them not qualify for the cup playoffs for the first time in ages. And sure enough, Fiji beat England in the tourney’s first match… Friend of RWU, Pedro Leal, won’t be with Portugal as he will again be on 15s duty. As was proven last week, the lack of a true playmaker hamstrung Portugal and with Scotland looking like a very fiesty proposition, you gotta favor the Scots to be third and Portugal forth.
Pool B: Will see the emboldened Kenyans sweep all that is before them. Believe it or not, every Kenyan Rugby fan in the USa, does their best to make it to Vegas, the Kenyan crowd is there all day, for all 3 day. You combine the crowd support with their near victory in Wellington and they will be hungry to prove the are now one of the elite sides of the series. Canada had a very good 2nd day in Wellington to win the Bowl. If that form was anything to judge by then you have got to believe that they will be raring to go. South Africa tied Canada in pool play last time and only advanced due to a tiebreaker where they promptly lost. They appear to be out of form and battling injury. They are always dangerous but don’t seem as dangerous this time around. Uruguay are making their debut on the Series for this year. It will be a tough ask since their guys will be coming against sides that have played at a higher level. I don’t see them being able to be competitive the whole tournament.
Pool C: New Zealand have opened a huge game gap at the top of standings. They have managed to be the most consistent side making at least the Cup semi-final at each stop so far. They have had to make some changes but the caliber of players brought on will always be top class. Argentina, France, Wales are in 7th, 5th and 9th place, respectively in the standings, which makes this pool the group of death. With one spot in the cup taken up by New Zealand, it will come down to the team that is in better form on that day. Our heart says Wales and Richie Pugh but our mind says, it is best to leave this group alone.
Pool D: Samoa are the reigning champions of Vegas 7s and the powerhouse of this group, expect them to go through with ease. The USA with RWU’s own, Matt “Polar Bear” Hawkins, will try and use the home field advantage for a fast start that will propel them into the Cup playoffs. Australia benefited from being close to home in Wellington, hopefully this distance see them struggle enough for the US to get through. Finally, there is Spain who defeated the US in Wellington. The Spaniards will be serve a hot plate of revenge by the US and will likely lose against the other two sides.
That’s all…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.