SYDNEY, AUS – The fourth tournament of the 2016/2017 World Rugby HSBC Men’s Sevens Series lived up to the standard set by the previous 3 tournaments. The @Eagles7s got back on track with an impressive performance while the Blitzbokke of South Africa remained in scintillating form as they swept all before them.
@Eagles7s impressive display:
In our tournament preview, we discussed The Eagles 7s finding their grove and getting back on track. The team had not looked sharp in Wellington and had not fired on all cylinders. That was not the case for the Eagles in Sydney as the Eagles looked much sharper and were a threat in every match. The played the first match of the entire tournament and came out fired up and ready to make a difference against Argentina. They scored early and often and then had to hang in the face of a furious fightback to win 22-19. In case the first match was though to be a fluke, their second match against a Canada side that finishe,d fourth in Wellington proved it for all to see. The USA was dominant from start to finish and had the Canadians reeling in a 31-19 win. In their third and final match of the day, the USA seemed to run out of steam. Against Russia in a cagey affair, the USA did make one fatal mistake. With on minute left to play, stalwart Danny Barrett was given a yellow card. Down a man the USA tried to defend valiantly but in minute into extra time, Russia finally crossed that whitewash to win 17-14. Fortunately for the USA, by winning the first two matches, they had already qualified for the cup playoff round.
Day Two began with the Eagles presented the toughest challenge in 7s rugby this season, stopping the Blitzbokke of South Africa. The Eagles did not shirk the challenge. However, it was a tough mountain to climb and though the Eagles fought hard being down only 7-5 at the half, but they were unable to shock the world, falling 21-10. The Eagles then faced a tough proposition in Wales in the 5th place semi-final. They bounced back to make all the little things click and win convincingly 19-10. To win fifth place, the Eagles had the unavailable task of knocking off Fiji. It was a tough ask and though they fought hard the offense could not puncture they Fiji defense as the Eagles lost 35-12.
Scintillating South Africa:
The Blitzbokke are in a form rarely seen in the history of the circuit. They have made the final in four consecutive legs, the first four of the season. They have now won three of the four and could have the title wrapped up by the midway point unless the chasing pack develop consistency. The Blitzbokke didn’t look in great form in pool play as they barely defeated Kenya and loss to England. In the playoffs they found their form and confidence and defeated England in the final to avenge the pool play and Cape Town final defeat.
England seemed to be in rare form this tournament. They won every game but the final against South Africa. New Zealand also looked to be in fine form as they managed to defeat Fiji in the quarterfinal but came up short against England in the semi-final and defeated upstarts and hosts Australia to win third place. Russia showed that they are still dangerous and a threat as they managed to win the Challenge Trophy final.
Final standings will be:
Cup: South Africa
Third: New Zealand
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And as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs.