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.