Archives for January 2014

Vegas 7s Tournament Themes

Good theme possibilities for an article about the 2014 Vegas 7s tournie would depend on your national perspective. If you are the South African Springboks, who  won the tournament and finally wrestled the lead in the 9 tournament series from New Zealand, a decent theme might be “Springboks end the reign of the Kiwi”. For New Zealand who host the next tournament in the series it could be, “We know how biltong (dried and salted springbok meat) tastes in Wellington’.

With a fantastic  tournament including upsets over Kenya and Wales in their pool matches and France (17-14)  in the cup quarter final and Samoa  {22-19] in the 3rd place match, Canada’s theme is, ‘We are a force to be reckoned with.“ New Zealand beat Canada {26-7} in the cup semi-final.

For the USA the theme is one that resonates after many of these tournaments and was best expressed in an anguished cry from a 9 year-old New Zealand boy. His face was a mess of sweat smeared white and black face paint as he valiantly shouted encouragement to the USA in their bowl quarterfinal match with Wales.  In the waning moments with the Eagles trailing 12-7 he could take it no more and had to switch from encouragement to advice. As the poignant message left the boys lips,  another Eagle lowered his head,  ran  into contact, took the ball to ground,  and the words, “TRY PASSING THE BALL”, floated over the pitch.

 There were a lot of positives for the Eagles. The USA has gotten very good at beating Spain having won all 4 of their matches against them this series. The new players on the team are showing a lot of potential and scoring tries. The USA didn’t lose by more than a converted try to any team: Wales (12-7). France (14-12), and  Argentina (19-12).

The theme for the fans? Well it was Vegas, Baby, …. We can’t tell.

I will say it was a lot of fun. My one recommendation ( and perhaps it’s my New Orleans upbringing) is to prepare the players for the tournament opening parade. Give them some beads to throw.

Viva Las Vegas 7s!!

Eagles Coming to Vegas in 14th Place

The USA is not looking real strong coming into Las Vegas on Jan. 24th for the 3rd leg of the 9 tournament HSBC Rugby 7s World Series. They are currently 14th. Their win/loss record is 4 wins/13 losses. The only team with a higher ranking who they have beaten this series is Portugal – which is currently ranked 11th.

The USA ‘s pool in Vegas is relatively weak (Argentina, France, Spain). Argentina is the highest ranked team in the pool. They are in 6th place. France is in 10th place. The Eagles lost a close match (19-14) against France in the shield semi-final in Dubai in November. They have already beaten Spain (ranked 15th) twice this series.

For an article on the USA players on the squad go to: http://rugbymag.com/usa-sevens-men/10247.html

New Zealand once again leads the series, but only by 2 points over South Africa. Both teams have tough pools http://www.irbsevens.com/destination/edition=4/pools.html , but the Springboks probably have a little edge coming into the tournament.  The Springboks have won the cup twice in Vegas and are bringing a team that is arguably stronger than their side that won the cup in South Africa in December. The  All Blacks, who have never won in Vegas, will be missing star player and current total point leader Tomasi Cama due to injury. South Africa, also, has a slightly easier pool facing Kenya (7th), Wales (9th), and Canada (13th) while New Zealand faces Fiji (3rd), Australia (5th), and Scotland (12th). The other pool includes 4th ranked England and 7th ranked Samoa. Both of these sides should have little trouble getting through to the cup play-off round with the much weaker sides of Portugal and Uruguay making up the rest of the pool.

Not long now  until the wonderful world of world class 7s in Vegas begins. Fears of freezing January temperatures are fading as the weather report is looking great!  http://www.weather.com/weather/tenday/Las+Vegas+NV+USNV0049:1:US

My prediction for the Eagles:

They come out second in their pool. They lose their cup quarterfinal match to South Africa which will throw them into a match with either England, Samoa, New Zealand or Fiji for the plate semi-final. Hard to see them winning against any of those teams, but that will give the Eagles 10 points and their best finish so far this season.