SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – Going into this weekend’s tournament, the second leg of the 2015/2016 HSBC Womens Sevens World Series (WSWS) we noted in our analysis and preview, the importance of this weekend’s results on the USA program. We stated that “…It will be interesting to see if Dubai was a growing pain or a sign of things to come. ” The USA program sent their message but so to did other nations at the Sao Paulo 7s. Let’s review:
USA Women’s Eagles 7s:
The Eagles and head coach Jules McCoy had a tournament that could be described as a success compared to their last one. They drew the short straw when the schedule makers had them playing their opening match against the near unstoppable force that is the New Zealand Black Fern 7s. The USA, try as they might, were just not ready for the Ferns and the scoreline reflected the gulf in class, as it went 35-5 in New Zealand’s favor. That loss was followed by a hard fought match against Russia that required a huge second half fight back for the Eagles to win, 19-10. The USA got a chance to flex their might and did so as they handily defeated Spain 33-0.
On Day 2, the Eagles found themselves in the Cup playoffs. They drew England and they took the confidence from the first day and managed to cause an upset, winning 22-12. The big upset gave the Eagles confidence but a reminder of how far they still have to to go was coming up. The took on Australia in the Cup semi-final and were shutout 34-0. This loss sent them to the 3rd place match against the dreaded Black Ferns, who were coming in angry after being upset in the Semi-final. The Black Ferns came in fired up and they made life difficult for the Eagles as the Ferns walked away winners, 28-0.
If you follow us on Twitter, and you should, you will notice a vigorous debate between myself, JWB, Liz Entwhistle of Stars Rugby and This Is American Rugby. To be clear to you our readers, here is where we stand on the USA Women’s 7s program and coach McCoy. We admit that she was hired late and didn’t get as much prep time as compared to other programs. We would like to know why the switch was made so late or at all considering the success of the program to date, but that is another story. What we do know is that, this is America and an 11th place finish is unacceptable, The USA should be 5th overall behind England, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, when you consider the budgets of the four nations. And they should constantly be pushing England and Canada for fourth. As former NFL coach Bill Parcells once said, “You are what your record says your are.” And unfortunately that makes the USA is impossible to figure out. They are either an 11th place side that overachieved or a 4th place side that previously had a bad tournament. According to fan and fellow writer John L Birch some sides rested their big guns for Brazil, which also muddies up results. There are three tournaments left before Rio and we hope the team proves that Dubai was a fluke but we reserve judgement until after round 4. Why round 4? Because first time is an accident, second time is a coincidence and 3rd time is a habit. So let’s see 3 rounds of top 5 finishes and then we will make our decision.
When it comes to the Women’s Sevens World Series, there were 4 teams that you can set your watch to, being in the hunt for the title: New Zealand, Australia, Canada and England. As mentioned earlier they are the most well-funded programs in Women’s 7s.
In Sao Paulo, the Kiwis and Aussies were undefeated in pool play and shockingly so too were the French . In the cup playoffs, Canada took down the French and then upset the Kiwis to make the final. In a disappointing final, Australia completely shut down and shut out the Canadians to win the cup.
New Zealand were able to bounce back from the loss to Canada and take out their frustrations on the USA to win the Bronze. France were able to lick their wounds after the loss to Canada to thump Brazil in the Plate semi-finals and then knocked off Fiji to win the Plate.
Russia sent in their second string side and it showed in their results. However, the B side were able to get their act together and pull off enough victories to play and defeat Japan to win the Bowl.
Final standings were
Third: New Zealand
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