CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – The 2018/2019 HSBC Men’s Sevens Series rolls on as it heads into its second stop of the 10 stop circuit in Cape Town, South Africa, this weekend. This year’s captains photo is taken in front of the Robben Island Prison (now museum), where global political icon Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 year sentence. A stark reminder about courage and how there are somethings bigger than rugby. It is a tough act to follow but I will try my best to get us back to focusing on Rugby and the action this weekend. Let’s take a look at the @Eagles7s team and take a stab at predicting the tournament.
The USA currently sit second in the world. It maybe shortlived or maybe the sign of the USA really turning the corner and becoming a tier one side in 7s. This fan is cautiously optimistic as there are nine legs left to go, including this one. With that said, lets take a look at the three main issues that stand out into this tournament.
1) Team changes (+/-): There are 0 changes to the USA squad from Dubai. It is rare that in-between legs there are any non-injury enforced changes.
2) Undefeated Day One: The USA is in a group with 2 teams they are clearly better than and one time that they are even footing with and have solid record against. If the USA gets an undefeated day 1, they get a higher seed in the Cup playoffs and will likely avoid New Zealand, South Africa or Fiji until the semi-finals.
3) Win the Game in the First half: The USA would be best served if they can put the game away in the first half against Spain and Japan plus hopefully Argentina. This will allow more rest for the starters and player rotation.
Optimist’s View: They will copy the women and finish 4th after running into New Zealand in the semi-final.
Pessimist’s View: They stumble into the playoffs and salvage the second day by finishing 7th.
My View: I see the USA losing a close cup quarterfinals but then winning their next 2 games and finishing 5th.
Cape Town 7s:
So now we have some previous form to help in the prediction of the pools. However, the performance of Fiji and South Africa in Dubai show that pedigree has to count for something. So mixing in form and pedigree here are my picks for Cape Town.
Here are the Pool Preview
New Zealand and South Africa should finish this group at one and two. I want to say New Zealand one but then again SA in SA is gonna me super hard to beat. The two teams will finish 1st and 2nd and I will go with SA to top the group. I have recent Challenge Trophy winners Samoa topping guest side Zimbabwe to finish third and fourth, respectively.
USA will win this group, because they should win this group. Argentina will push the USA hard but the USA should win the match. Spain and Japan will be in fight for third place but Spain were the better side last year so they are the pick to finish third and Japan will unfortunately for them, bring up the rear.
This is a competitive pool probably the hardest to predict. Based on Dubai, England and Fiji are the pick of the group to go through, with England possibly finishing first. However, Kenya and France have been know for the occasional upset so they may throw a wrench in the plan but usually when the two sides rock the boat, they do it later in the series so that is my bet.
It was easy to pick that the winner of the group will be Australia. Canada could upset Australia but they won’t, however they will beat Scotland and Wales. Wales is in a big down year for talent while Scotland is in more of an upswing so they are more likely to finish third while Wales finish last.
Final standings will be:
Cup: South Africa
Third: New Zealand
Challenge Trophy: Kenya
That’s all for now, please feel free to comment below.
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And as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs.