SYDNEY, AUS – The 2016-17 World Rugby Men’s Sevens Series heads to Sydney with a 9:30pn, NYC time kickoff, so forgive me for not keeping you current. The #Sydney7s is the fourth of 12 legs on the Men’s circuit. It is early days but teams with hopes of winning this year’s series need to make moves now, if they hope to catch South Africa. Today we’ll look at the @Eagle7s and try and predict how the tournament will play out. With that, here’s my Sydney 7s Men’s Preview & Predictions.
We will take a look at the three main issues that stand out going into this tournament for the Eagles and their head coach Mike Friday.
Player Changes (+/-): The USA made 1.5 changes. Pago Haini a late sub for Brett Thompson in Wellington as Thompson got hurt in the lead up to the match day keeps his place. Arizona State University football tight end and graduate and Super Rugby Brumbies project play back Chris Coyle is called in to be the 13th man on the roster.
Finding their grove: The USA has struggled to the dangerous team they were the last two seasons. Changes in players will have some effect but this team despite the improvement in individual players looks far removed from the team that won the London leg in 2015.
Baker’s Dozen: Perry Baker has proven to be the most important player on this team. He is the stand-in captain for Madison Hughes and with Carlin Isles struggling with injuries, the lone deep threat. He is one of the candidates for the series impact player of the year award. The problem is he needs help! A few of the other 12 guys on the match day roster must step up the performances and take some of the pressure off Baker.
Optimist’s View: The team manages to shock people and make the quarter-finals before losing a close one.
Cynic’s View: The struggle on day one before rebounding and winning the Challenge Trophy bracket.
My View: They will likely make it to the quarters led by a big pool round upset.
Going Forward: The USA has a likelihood f going 2-1, then getting knocked out in the second day.
This is the second tournament of a back to back and the second of the tour so far. Legs will be more tired but it looks like everyone will be chasing the Blitzbokke of South Africa.
Here are my Pool Previews:
South Africa will be on of the two teams that top this group, with the other one being England . It is anyone’s guess as two who wins the pool since the two sides are the only ones to have won legs so far. ho will be pushing them very hard. Kenya will cruise to third while Japan brings up the rear.
Fiji will top this group and set a tone for the tournament. Wales off the back of their Wellington performance will push hard for first place but will end up second. France and Samoa will Battle for third with us picking the Samoans to pull off an upset.
Papua New Guinea
New Zealand should be the pool winners. However, they are likely to face a dangerous Australia in front of home fans and a Scotland side feeling good after a third place finish in Wellington. It is impossible to tell who will win between the three so anything can happen but Australia could be the side to lose out. Papua New Guinea will be cannon fodder.
This group will be another 3 way dog fight for the two cup playoff spots. Between Canada, USA and Argentina, it will be a shootout but we are banking on Canada, who finished fourth in Wellington and the USA making out. Russia will finish last.
Final standings will be:
Second: South Africa
Third: New Zealand
That’s all for now, please feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter@: @RugbyWrapUp, @Junoir Blaber, @MeetTheMatts, @Luke Bienstock, @Ronan Nelson, @Brian C Cole and @Declan Yeats.
And as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs.