On Saturday, Feb, 15th, 2014, at 2:06 pm EST the USA women’s 7s team will face Canada in their opening match in the 2nd leg of the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series. The Eagles placed 7th in the first leg of the world series in Dubai, but this is not a good indicator of how they will do in Atlanta. Last year they finished 9th in Dubai and stormed back to place 2nd in Houston, losing to England in the final (29-12).
There was a contest being held to pick the winners of the pools for Atlanta. I tried to play but couldn’t get through the Silverlight download to enter … but here are my rather boring predictions of the favorites for the most part.
Pool A: Canada wins the pool and Australia is 2nd. The USA comes third. China is 4th. This picks Canada to upset Australia, the winner in Dubai. Canada should have almost a homefield advantage in Atlanta.
Pool B: New Zealand wins and England is 2nd. Netherlands is third and Ireland 4th. This is a very tough pool. New Zealand won the women’s series in 2012-13 and dominated the 7s World Cup in Moscow in July of last year. Atlanta will see the return of Portia Woodman to New Zealand. Woodman was the top try scorer in last year’s series but missed the Dubai tournie because of injury. She averaged 2 tries per match at the World Cup. England has a strong side and could come back to face NZ in the final. I flipped a coin between Ireland and Netherlands, and both have the potential to upset England.
Pool C: The order of finish will be Russia, Spain, Brazil, and Japan. This is the easiest pool. Brazil is lucky because they will end up having a good chance at being the best 3rd place team if they play Russia and Spain very tight and get a lot of points against Japan.
Now for the more daring picks of who will be facing whom in the knockout rounds …
Match 19 Best 1st v 2nd Best 3rd Russia v USA w = Russia
Match 20 Best 2nd v 2nd Best 2nd Spain v England w = England
Match 21 2nd Best 1st v Best 3rd NZ v Brazil w = NZ
Match 22 3rd Best 1st v 3rd Best 2nd Canada v Australia w – Canada
Match 23 3rd Best 3rd v 3rd Best 4th Netherlands v China w=Netherlands
Match 24 Best 4th v 2nd Best 4th Ireland v Japan w= Ireland
The point differentials in pool matches will determine the order of finish after win/loss records. The picks above are based on potential to run up high score in easy pool matches and a lot of assumptions based on fuzzy reasoning.
It is tough to pick Russia as winner over USA in Atlanta in the Cup Quarterfinal, but the USA will be coming out of one hell of a pool and Russia will be looking forward to their first really hard match.
Now to pack my extra layers for some chilly weather to go along with the sizzling rugby in Atlanta.