CLERMONT, FRANCE – The 2015/2016 HSBC Womens Sevens World Series (WSWS) has come to an end. The final leg in Clermont was entertaining with lots of action. The matches were very close, especially when the series’ powerhouses faced off. It was a tough and challenging tournament. Unfortunately, it was another poor showing for the USA. Their only positive from the tournament is that they finished one place higher than they did in Langford. The USA did worse than that and finished sixth. Let’s review:
USA Women’s Eagles 7s:
@USAWomens7s head coach Richie Walker can consider his honeymoon officially over. Atlanta was great but after the performance in Langford, the fans are getting restless. The Eagles started this tournament with the unfortunate draw of facing England. The English scored two tries while it appeared the USA team was still in the locker room. The USA put up a fight but in the end it was a comfortable win for the English, 26-7. The USA’s next opponent, Spain,was difficult but beatable. USA defeated Spain in Atlanta but lost to them twice in Langford. We knew this was going to be a tough match. It was an incredibly tight match that was decided in the final minute. Ultimately, a conversion in the 13th minute resulted in a try for Spain that would prove the difference as the USA fell, 12-10. The Eagles were now up against it as they had a point differential of -21 with two losses meaning their qualification into the Cup playoffs was in doubt. The USA did have one thing going their way and that was the fact that their next match-up was against Kenya. With all due respect to the Kenyan team, they are no where near the same level as the Eagles. It showed out on the pitch as the USA dominated the match and shut the Kenyans out. 31-0. This was enough to overturn the point difference to get the USA into the Cup playoffs.
Day 2 for the Eagles began just like Day 1. I mean that literally. Their first opponent was England and the USA ended up losing that match. The score was closer this time and the USA once again showed a lot of fight but it appears that right now, there is a gap in class and the USA is clearly not on England’s level as displayed by the 21-12 scoreline. After that game, the USA were now in the Plate semi-finals and up against Fiji. It was another tight affair with defense being the order of the day. Both nations scored two tries but the USA’s ability to convert on their two would be the difference as the USA won 14-12. The win meant that the Eagles would now be in the Plate final against France with a chance to walk away with some hardware. After the defensive display against Fiji, we hoped that the team would build on the win but they weren’t able to. France started out the match like a house on fire, scoring three unconverted tries to the USA’s one converted try. In the second half, the French added a converted try and seemed to be pulling away before a fight back from the USA got them close. Unfortunately they ran out of time and France won, 22-19.
I’ll get into it more in our Olympics preview but the performance this series by the @USAWomens7s has me spitting angry. It is just such a fall from where they were a season ago. It really doesn’t fill any fans with a lot of hope going into Rio.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we are pleased to announce that, to no one’s great surprise, the 2015/2016 HSBC Womens Sevens World Series’ Champions are Australia. Having led from pole to pole and won the first three tournaments, it was all but assured as long as they made the Cup quater-finals in Clermont. However, the Australian’s weren’t the cup winners of this tournament.
In Clermont, pool play went according to script with the three pools topped by powerhouses New Zealand, Australia and England and the other powerhouse Canada coming in second as they were in New Zealand’s pool. These same four teams would be in the Cup quarterfinals. Canada found their form as they dominated England then comfortably defeated the Australians to win the Cup. New Zealand would be able to salvage their campaign by winning the third place match-up against England in dominating fashion.
As mentioned earlier, France won the shield. France’s win was important because they were in front of their home fans. They narrowly lost to Fiji and played well all weekend except for when they faced the Aussies and Kiwis and were shown up, as expected. Russia was another side that essentially beat who they were supposed to beat and lost to who they were expected to lose to. They lost to New Zealand and Canada in pool play before defeating Japan, Kenya and Ireland consecutively to win the Shield
Final standings were
Third: New Zealand
That does it for this year’s series but expect a review of the season for team USA and a preview of the Rio Olympic 7s in the coming weeks from RWU.
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And as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs.