WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – The 2016/2017 HSBC Sevens World Series continues to build momentum. South Africa was the winner of the 3rd leg in Wellington and their second consecutive leg. Unfortunately for USA fans, @Eagles7s put forth their worst performance all season and even more disconcerting is that is performance was worse than the second leg which was worse than the first leg.
USA Finishes 11th:
The Eagles were incredibly disappointing in Wellington. Team USA was poor on Day 1 and to be honest, they were poor on day 2, as they finished with a Challenge Division semi-final loss. They fought to a standstill against France. The USA drew first blood with a try but then France responded with 22 unanswered points. Facing a 14 point deficit, The USA dug deep and manged to score enough points in the final period to draw the match. The final score was 22-22.
Following that draw, the USA was next asked to line-up against Samoa. The Eagles were the favorites going into the match. Samoa were also coming off a thrashing at the hands of New Zealand in their first game. The USA scored first and never looked to back. Samoa didn’t go down without a fight but the USA controlled the game throughout to win comfortably won, 24-12. This meant that the USA needed to win their next match to be headed toward the Cup. The Americans showed a lot of fight in their final pool game and almost made it to the Cup round. They USA fought the hosts New Zealand tooth and nail. The USA were down 17-12 but stood the chance of qualifying for the Cup round via points differentail until a last minute try by New Zealand sent the USA to the Challenge Trophy bracket, 33-12.
Day 2 for the Eagles was as disappointing as day 1. They took on Japan in the Challenge Trophy quarterfinal game and they played with more intensity. That would be important because the Japanese were up for the battle and fought tooth and nail. It wasn’t easy but the USA won, 19-14. The USA got a chance to follow up that tough win with another difficult match up against Kenya. This time the USA would be the side that left heartbroken. After a tight match that went back and forth, the USA made key mistakes towards the end, so the Eagles fell short 19-12, ending their Wellington adventure.
The Beautiful Blitzbokke:
The SA Springbok 7s program known as the Blitzbokke program, has been moving from strength to strength and are looking to build on last season’s second place finish. The won in Dubai and lost in the final in Cape Town. This time they bounced back to win the Cup. The Blitzbokke ran threw all comers as they shutout three challengers. In a repeat of the Dubai final, and there day 1 match-up, Fiji were outmatched in final against South Africa.
Fiji are in second place in the overall standings and they are shockingly falling into second place. They coasted in every match except the Cup semi-final against Scotland. They appeared set to really challenge in the final but couldn’t pull it together. Scotland bounced back from their semi-final loss to Fiji to knock-off the surprising Canadians in the 3rd place match. The Canadians raised loads of eyebrows just to make it that far.
The Challenge Bracket final saw two teams that are always there and there abouts as Kenya faced Australia.In an exciting final, the two sides went back and forth before Kenya finally took the upper hand.
Final standings were
Cup: South Africa
We will be back in a couple of days with preview for the Sydney 7s.
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And as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs.