LAS VEGAS, USA – The 2016-17 World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series kicked off its second leg in Las Vegas. For a long time, USA rugby fans have called for the USA leg of the men’s and women’s world sevens series to be at the same location and weekend like other legs. After years of resistance by World Rugby and USA rugby, it has finally happened. It couldn’t have been a better location than Vegas, baby, Vegas! With that, let’s look at the Eagle 7s and take a stab at predicting each tournament. Here’s my Las Vegas 7s Women’s Preview & Predictions.
Player Changes (+/-): The USA made 4 changes. Former Penn State Nittany Lion and Women’s Rugby World Cup veteran Hope Rogers, fellow PSU alum Kayla Cannett, Sarah Buonopane of the Northeast ODA are legitimately rotated while Cheta Emba injury forces a replacement. In come Samantha Pankey as a late injury replacement for Emba and Bulou Mataitoga joins after having to miss the Sydney leg. Joining those two will be debutants Nicole Snyder of Bloomsburg University and Kelsi Stockert after a succesful stint with the developmental side, the Falcons
Real USA: There is a manhunt for the real USA Women’s 7s team. A poor imitation appeared in Dubai and finish second from the bottom while a reasonable duplicate finished second overall in Dubai. So will the USA Women’s 7s side please stand up.
Momentum: The USA found belief in their abilities and each other, out of nowhere in Sydney. Now can they keep it up. they have the momentum plus rabid fans. Last season the USA leg was their best finish, can they finish top 2 in back to back legs. It is a feat they have yet to achieve.
Optimist’s View: The team uses the fans and momentum and wins it all.
Cynic’s View: They win fifth place. Losing a quarterfinal but then winning the next two games.
My View: They will likely finish sixth. Losing a close one in their final game of the second day.
Going Forward: The USA has a likelihood f going 2-1, then 1-2 on the second day..
This year’s circuit seems to be more unpredictable this season. As such more and more teams look like the can win a leg beyond New Zealand and Australia. We will factor that in as we analyze each nation’s ability to win it all.
Here are my Pool Previews:
Canada will top the group with ease as they are the best team in the group. France will be pushed very hard by Russia for second place. Unfortunately while Argentina will bring up the rear.
USA will top this group and set a tone for the tournament, if they are the same team we saw in Sydney. Ireland have improved as a side and so too is Fiji which means the two teams will battle it out for second. Spain will likely be cannon fodder in this group.
This will the toughest pool to call, ever. Due to under-performing in Sydney, three of the top 4 teams in the world are in one group. Thankfully the Women’s series allows third place teams to go through. Australia are the defending champs so they win top seed and New Zealand is New Zealand so they will have loads of firepower. This leaves England which is a notoriously fickle side. Last and definitely least will be Brazil, po buggers have horrible luck to be ending up in this group.
Final standings will be:
Third: New Zealand
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And as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs.