SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – The World Rugby Womens 7s World Series (say that three times as fast as you can) kicks off its second stop on the circuit in Sao Paulo this weekend. With that, here’s a look at Team USA:
The USA Women’s Eagles 7s and head coach Ric Suggit are starting to come under pressure from pundits and fans. With the men’s program making huge strides, the struggles of the women’s team are now something people are looking at. Similar to our analysis with the men’s program, we will look at the top 3 issues facing the side as they head to Brazil.
Youth Movement: In Dubai, the team had five players with two 7s series caps or fewer on the squad. Now it gets even younger with the involvement of Kristen Thomas and Dana Meschisi. The two are Women’s College All-Americans but both will be making their tour debuts and joining some players with only one tournament of experience themselves.
Squad Changes (-/+): As we just mentioned, Thomas and Meschisi are in for Jillion Porter (defiantly fighting cancer) and Devin Owsiany. With a squad that is still coming together, more changes normally aren’t a good sign. However, there is a school of thought that asks why keep working with what you know doesn’t work? Only time will tell if “Suggy” is moving the squad in the right direction.
Under-achievement: Out of the 10 WSWS tournaments that the USA has entered, they have only made 1 cup final. This team is still trying to find its identity. This is fine and understandable but while they are trying to find themselves the countries below them are closing the gap and the ones above them are widening it. Time is running out.
Optimist View: The team had some intense scrimmages with Ireland and Canada last week, so they will be ready to go and claim at least 5th.
Cynic View: This team has added some more rugby knowledge to all the athleticism the squad has. Unfortunately, this side is too young and still not ready for prime time.
My View: This will be another tournament where the women finish somewhere between 6th and 8th. The team is just still finding itself despite all the positive talk. But you can help them with your support. Start by following them on Twitter: @USAWomens7s
This is the new second stop on the tour. There has been a huge break since Dubai, so it will be a case of who can knock off the rust fastest. Once again it will be a case where pedigree will be more important than usual.
Here are our pool previews:
New Zealand will take this group with ease… France is not a 7s powerhouse but they will be much more ready for the tournament than the USA… Spain will likely be the last placed team.
Australia will win this group, though they will likely have a challenge from Fiji… Brazil are the hosts but they are in a tough group and still developing as a rugby nation… Brazil is still light years ahead of China in terms of development.
Canada will take this group but only after a tough fight with England for first… Russia will take third and they will be followed by a poor South Africa side.
Final standings will be
Second: New Zealand
All the matches can be seen live on World Rugby TV.
That’s it for now. Feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter@: RugbyWrapUp, Junoir Blaber, DJ Eberle, Nick Hall, James Harrington, Cody Kuxmann, Jaime Loyd, Karen Ritter , Jamie Wall, Jake Frechette and Declan Yeats, respectively.
And as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs.