HSBC Sevens 2018/2019

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Post by Rugby Fan on Fri 30 Nov 2018, 12:48 am

The men's tournament kicks off this weekend in Dubai. This one is key for Olympic qualification in Tokyo, as only the top four teams will be guaranteed automatic qualification. Four years ago, that was Fiji, South Africa, New Zealand and England (i.e. GB). Last year, Australia claimed fourth, with England a point behind in fifth. It will be a major surprise if the other three don't finish in the top 4, so the main fight is likely to be for that final place, with Australia, USA, Argentina, Kenya and Canada among the challengers to keep Team GB out.

There was talk after Rio of combining Wales, Scotland and England into Team GB for the overall Sevens series but that didn't really go anywhere.

England are without one of last season's best players, Ruaridh McConnochie, who signed a contract with Bath. Simon Amor has said the squad is slightly smaller this year but is optimistic about quality. He's got two school players who couldn't get academy contracts, which gives you some idea of how things work in the short code. It's crazy that we have no access to promising academy players.

We've lost Tony Roques from the coaching squad, so James Rodwell and Charlie Hayter have stepped into player-coach roles, with responsibility for coaching Women Sevens too, now that the England Mens and Womens programmes have been combined (the Womens Sevens also has a round in Dubai. It has kicked off already, with England going unbeaten on the first day, managing a surprise win over Australia, and a last-gasp victory over USA)

Simon Amor has said this is the most competitive year for Sevens, with qualification at stake. In the season just before the Olympics, teams tend to switch things around, to try different tactics, or look to keep players fresh.

England's pool in Dubai includes Australia, Canada and Japan, so that's a good chance to measure ourselves, and try to get an early advantage in the qualification race. Wales are in a pool with New Zealand, Spain and USA, while Scotland match up against Fiji, France and Kenya.


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Post by Cyril on Fri 30 Nov 2018, 1:02 am

Do Ireland not have a 7s side?

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Post by Rugby Fan on Fri 30 Nov 2018, 5:22 am

Cyril wrote:Do Ireland not have a 7s side?
Yes, but they haven't yet qualified for the HSBC series. They do have a team in the women's series, however, which made the quarter finals yesterday, and is die to face Canada.

Ireland Men can still qualify for the Olymics by winning the European play-off round. You don't have to be in the HSBC series to qualify.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Fri 30 Nov 2018, 12:53 pm

Dan Norton became the first player on the Sevens series to score 300 tries.

https://twitter.com/WorldRugby7s/status/1068469093030862848

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sat 01 Dec 2018, 3:59 pm

An enjoyable round. The top two finishers from last season, South Africa and Fiji, both went out in the quarter finals, which opened things up.

England lost to Australia in the pool stage, largely because we picked up three yelllow cards, which meant playing almost half the match a man down. That put us against South Africa, and we dominated, scoring four unanswered tries.

Sadly, we then went down to New Zealand in a tight match. England had a lot of possession but were kept out in a phenomenal defensive effort, when you thought we were bound to work a winning score.

South Africa ended up meeting Fiji in the 5th/6th play-off which was quite a match. Fiji levelled it in front of the posts with the last play of regular time but one of their new players sliced the conversion horribly. We were deep into extra time when Fiji finally found the winning try.

England faced Australia in the 3rd/4th match. Their livewire, Maurice Longbottom, is finally realising his potential in the short code, which makes them a difficult opponent. However, this time we kept seven men on the pitch throughout the game and clinched 3rd place with a last-play try.

USA met New Zealand in the final. The Kiwis had been pushed hard by England, so probably carried more fatigue into the match. They also had more players unavailable for the starting line-up.

It was New Zealand, though, which led 7-0 at half time. A high tackle yellow card let USA back in with a try but the Americans wasted their pressure. First , they gave up possession and a try, then, they got penalised for having eight players on the field, which allowed New Zealand to control the end of the game. USA took some risks but just gave up another try, to go down 21-5.

Trivia time: the winner of the opening round in Dubai has gone on to win the overall title for the last five seasons.

One noteworthy feature: after the Autumn internationals, officiating in sevens is a rude awakening. There is zero tolerance for high shots, and yellow cards were frequently shown.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sun 02 Dec 2018, 1:23 am



Some highlights from the knock-out stages.

Incidentally, it seems a Scottish player had a Freddie Burns moment.

Scotland Sevens star Jamie Farndale has come up with some big plays over the years, but a massive blunder over the tryline cost his side victory against Fiji in Dubai.

With 15 seconds left on the clock and Scotland only two points behind, Farndale crossed the line to score what would have been the match-winning try against the defending Sevens Series champions.

He stepped past two Fijian defenders to get over the line, but the Scot seemed to want to get closer to the posts - in doing so, he ran over the dead-ball line before he could get the ball down. He then fell flat on his face in the process, adding insult to injury.

The referee ruled out the try and called time on the Pool B encounter to leave Scotland heartbroken, losing 21-19.

Many people felt sorry for the 24-year-old as it happened to be St Andrews Day - Scotland's national day.

Although New Zealand and USA were in the finals, only one of their players made the Dubai Dream Team:

Dan Norton (ENG)
Maurice Longbottom (AUS)
Andrew Knewstubb (NZ)
Tom Mitchell (ENG)
John Porch (AU)
Ethan Waddleton (ENG)
Marcos Moroni (ARG)

Dan Norton is probably there because of his record, although he didn't have a bad tournament. The others are on merit, and reflects the fact that Australia and England were probably the most consistently dangerous teams but both slipped up at one key moment in their respective semi-finals.

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Post by Taylorman on Sun 02 Dec 2018, 8:48 am

Thought Dan Norton should have done better out wide in the final play. Could have flipped the semi. Very strange team. One player from the entire final. Please.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sun 02 Dec 2018, 11:57 am

Taylorman wrote:Thought Dan Norton should have done better out wide in the final play. Could have flipped the semi. Very strange team. One player from the entire final. Please.
Not really. New Zealand, for instance, had a lot of injuries, so few of them had the chance to stand out across the tournament.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Mon 03 Dec 2018, 3:51 pm

England will face Fiji, France and Kenya in Cape Town.

New Zealand have been drawn in the same pool as hosts South Africa, along with Samoa and Zimbabwe

USA have Argentina, Spain and Japan

Australia have Wales, Scotland and Canada

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Post by Rugby Fan on Thu 06 Dec 2018, 1:39 pm

England squad for Cape Town:

Dan Bibby, Tom Bowen, Phil Burgess, Alex Davis, Mike Ellery, Harry Glover, Charlton Kerr, Tom Mitchell (capt), Will Muir, Dan Norton, Ryan Olowofela, Ethan Waddleton.

13th man: James Rodwell

Injured Ollie Lindsay-Hague and Richard de Carpentier, who travelled to Dubai as the squad’s 13th man, will be replaced by Ryan Olowofela and James Rodwell respectively.

De Carpentier played last weekend after Lindsay-Hague had to drop out of the squad. He ended up taking a heavy knock, which required hospital treatment, so that might well be why Rodwell has been included as travelling reserve for this round.

Scotland are going with an unchanged squad.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life on Thu 06 Dec 2018, 6:07 pm

Rugby Fan wrote:England squad for Cape Town:

Dan Bibby, Tom Bowen, Phil Burgess, Alex Davis, Mike Ellery, Harry Glover, Charlton Kerr, Tom Mitchell (capt), Will Muir, Dan Norton, Ryan Olowofela, Ethan Waddleton.

13th man: James Rodwell

Injured Ollie Lindsay-Hague and Richard de Carpentier, who travelled to Dubai as the squad’s 13th man, will be replaced by Ryan Olowofela and James Rodwell respectively.

De Carpentier played last weekend after Lindsay-Hague had to drop out of the squad. He ended up taking a heavy knock, which required hospital treatment, so that might well be why Rodwell has been included as travelling reserve for this round.

Scotland are going with an unchanged squad.
You really love your 7s, don't ya?

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Post by Rugby Fan on Fri 07 Dec 2018, 12:54 am

LeinsterFan4life wrote:You really love your 7s, don't ya?
Guilty as charged.

With rugby on a high in Ireland, I'm curious whether the Sevens circuit will get more press attention if the Irish can qualify as a core team for next season. The qualifying matches take place in Hong Kong next April. An Irish sevens side won the invitational event in Dubai at the weekend, beating a South African academy side in the final.

I know sevens isn't for everyone but I'm surprised more people don't at least keep an eye on it. With the glaring exception of England, it is used as a development stage for a lot of promising international players. Beauden Barrett and Rieko Ioane both featured for the All Black sevens, and I think as many as five Pumas in a recent Argentina Test had come through their sevens programme. Officials go between the two codes more often than players, so you can see some of their quirks more clearly too.

Sevens has one obvious marketing problem. Few people know what roles players have in a sevens team. We all have a rough idea what players do in the fifteen a side code but the out-and-out speedster is the only one people really identify with in sevens. You can't even tell from the number on a player's shirt whether he'll be packing down in a scrum or feeding it. That makes it harder to compare people, or think about what type of players your own team needs to improve.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sat 08 Dec 2018, 8:19 am

The squad lists for Cape Town detail how many rounds players have featured in - HSBC Sevens "caps" as you were. England has the most experience but we have the veteran James Rodwell as the travelling reserve. Just looking at starting squads puts USA out ahead (over 400) with England and South Africa together with around 330. Last week's winners NZ only have just over 100 appearances, and Australia have a similar number.

https://www.world.rugby/sevens-series/news/385609?lang=en

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sat 08 Dec 2018, 9:57 am

Everyone is slipping over in Cape Town, which makes the game a bit of a lottery. It's not raining but the surface must be wet. It's a real hazard in sevens, because player often make sharp changes in direction, as well as needing to accelerate and decelerate throughout the game. Players just keep losing their feet.

Scotland and England managed to get through their opening matches but Wales missed a real chance to upset Australia, and that was mostly down to the conditions. It seemed like every time Wales had the ball, they fell over.

Presumably, it will dry out over the weekend. The only different tactic you can employ when it's slippy, is to kick through, and make the defence turn, which increases the chance they'll fall over.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life on Sat 08 Dec 2018, 11:39 am

Rugby Fan wrote:
LeinsterFan4life wrote:You really love your 7s, don't ya?
Guilty as charged.

With rugby on a high in Ireland, I'm curious whether the Sevens circuit will get more press attention if the Irish can qualify as a core team for next season. The qualifying matches take place in Hong Kong next April. An Irish sevens side won the invitational event in Dubai at the weekend, beating a South African academy side in the final.

I know sevens isn't for everyone but I'm surprised more people don't at least keep an eye on it. With the glaring exception of England, it is used as a development stage for a lot of promising international players. Beauden Barrett and Rieko Ioane both featured for the All Black sevens, and I think as many as five Pumas in a recent Argentina Test had come through their sevens programme. Officials go between the two codes more often than players, so you can see some of their quirks more clearly too.

Sevens has one obvious marketing problem. Few people know what roles players have in a sevens team. We all have a rough idea what players do in the fifteen a side code but the out-and-out speedster is the only one people really identify with in sevens. You can't even tell from the number on a player's shirt whether he'll be packing down in a scrum or feeding it. That makes it harder to compare people, or think about what type of players your own team needs to improve.
Sevens is great and has been a fantastic tool to help spread the game in countries where rugby wasn't in any way popular. Watching Fiji in full flow is one of my favorite things to see and is truly one of the great joys in world rugby, they are the sole reason why I watch it.

Ireland's performances last year on the 7's circuit has caused quite a stir over here and their results including the one you have mentioned above have made headlines in Irish sport news sites such as the 42. I never in a million years would have predicted the results they achieved last year, given the lack of experience on the big stage the players had. I honestly thought they would be struggling against teams in the bottom half of the circuit but they showed they are ready for the big time. Hopefully this is the year they qualify.


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Post by Rugby Fan on Sat 08 Dec 2018, 11:59 am

Scotland beat Wales 28-7 in the pool match. Scotland are probably the better side but Wales showed well against Australia, amidst all the slipping, and will be disappointed to have lost so easily.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sat 08 Dec 2018, 2:34 pm

Samoa just beat New Zealand in their pool match. It's the first time they have managed a win since Sir Gordon Tietjens - the old New Zealand coach - took over two years ago. That counts as a turn-up, even allowing for the relative lack of experience across this kiwi squad.

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Post by westisbest on Sat 08 Dec 2018, 5:36 pm

Rugby Fan wrote:
LeinsterFan4life wrote:You really love your 7s, don't ya?
Guilty as charged.

With rugby on a high in Ireland, I'm curious whether the Sevens circuit will get more press attention if the Irish can qualify as a core team for next season. The qualifying matches take place in Hong Kong next April. An Irish sevens side won the invitational event in Dubai at the weekend, beating a South African academy side in the final.

I know sevens isn't for everyone but I'm surprised more people don't at least keep an eye on it. With the glaring exception of England, it is used as a development stage for a lot of promising international players. Beauden Barrett and Rieko Ioane both featured for the All Black sevens, and I think as many as five Pumas in a recent Argentina Test had come through their sevens programme. Officials go between the two codes more often than players, so you can see some of their quirks more clearly too.

Sevens has one obvious marketing problem. Few people know what roles players have in a sevens team. We all have a rough idea what players do in the fifteen a side code but the out-and-out speedster is the only one people really identify with in sevens. You can't even tell from the number on a player's shirt whether he'll be packing down in a scrum or feeding it. That makes it harder to compare people, or think about what type of players your own team needs to improve.

I love the 7’s to. Great entertainment.
Try and catch it when I can.
Have a soft spot for USA and Canada.

Just watched USA beat Argentina. Gone the day unbeaten.
Decent squad they have.
Isles and Baker have some serious pace.
I know 7’s is different to 15’s, but always wonder how those two would do in the 15 a side game.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sun 09 Dec 2018, 1:25 am

I was worried the slippery surface would spoil the day as a spectacle but there was great action on the first day.

England and Scotland are both through to the quarter-finals, picking up a loss apiece in the pool stages. Both teams went well behind early, to Fiji and Australia respectively, before staging a late fightback. In England's case, we almost stole the game at the death with a succession of quick scores, but just fell short. Scotland let Australia get too far in front to haul them back in.

The big upset was Spain's convincing victory over Argentina which means the Pumas miss out on the quarter-finals.

There was almost another upset when Samoa beat New Zealand. If host team South Africa defeated New Zealand in the final match, then the kiwis would have missed out on the quarter finals. They needed two scores in the last 30 seconds to do it but somehow managed to do it. In the pool, that left South Africa, New Zealand and Samoa on two wins each but Samoa were cruelly consigned to third place on points difference.

Wales started brightly against Australia but couldn't turn it into a win. I'm often impressed by individual talent in Wales but there's little cohesion or consistency right now, and they lost all three pool games. They have to start beating some better ranked teams, or they'll be in danger of getting rinto a bottom of the table scrap. They ought to be too good for that to happen.

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Post by westisbest on Sun 09 Dec 2018, 12:49 pm

Kenya have been disappointing

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sun 09 Dec 2018, 2:44 pm

England and Scotland both lost their quarter final matches. Scotland gave South Africa a fright, and the match wasn't over until the last play. England had a couple of decisions go against them but ultimately, they lost through their own mistakes to the USA.

Scotland surprisingly lost to Spain, whio have been the surprsie package this weekend. England beat Australia, so will face Spain in the 5th/6th play-off.

Fiji have South Africa in the semis, while NZ face USA.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sun 09 Dec 2018, 3:35 pm

Fiji were too stong for South Africa. One commentator called them "cynical", which I think is a bit much, since sevens encourages teams to test the boundaries almost more than 15s.

USA destroyed New Zealand, and it is looking like they will be contenders this year. That will make the fight for Olympic qualifying spots tighter than four years go. USA, England, NZ, South Africa, Fiji and Australia all look capable but, even if they are the only real contenders, two must miss out.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sun 09 Dec 2018, 11:24 pm

South Africa beat New Zealand in the bronze medal match, and Fiji beat USA in the final. That's the first time Fiji have won in Cape Town. England finished in 5th after beating Spain.

After two rounds, the standings are:

USA - 38pts
NZ - 37
Fiji -35
England - 30
---------------------
South Africa - 29
Australia - 25
Scotland - 20
Argentina - 18

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Post by Rugby Fan on Mon 10 Dec 2018, 1:40 pm



A good piece of play by Danny Barrett of the USA against New Zealand

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Post by westisbest on Mon 10 Dec 2018, 9:25 pm

Rugby Fan wrote:

A good piece of play by Danny Barrett of the USA against New Zealand

The guys a beast.
USA got a very good team.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Fri 25 Jan 2019, 2:23 pm

Sevens again this weekend in Hamilton.

England are in a pool with USA, Samoa and Tonga
Scotland have South Africa, France and Kenya
Wales have Fiji, Australia and Argentina

Ollie Lindsay-Hague and Richard de Carpentier are back from injury for England. Scotland have the same squad as last round, except for Alec Coombes, who has recovered, and will travel as 13th man. Wales have named 3 uncapped players - Rio Dyer (Dragons), Tom Rogers (Scarlets) and Reuben Morgan-Williams (Ospreys) - who all played U20 level. Sion Bennett has returned, as Afon Bagshaw has just seen his wife give birth, and will stay home.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sat 26 Jan 2019, 8:28 am

Scotland through to the quarter-finals, where they will face current leaders USA. England stumbled against Samoa, and were second-best against USA, so missed out on the quarter-finals for the first time this season. Wales lost all three pool matches but Australia, Fiji and Argentina made for a tough group.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life on Sat 26 Jan 2019, 11:43 am

Nice to see the change in venue in NZ has paid dividend, looked like a near sell out yesterday, although most of the fans looked to be Fijian. I think NZ were in serious danger of losing this event on the circuit with the pitiful crowds they were getting Wellington.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sun 27 Jan 2019, 5:50 am

USA beat hosts New Zealand in the semi final which continues their good run.

A strong showing by USA this season will make it harder for Team GB to qualify for the Olympic Sevens. For Rio, the top four automatic qualifying spots were claimed by Fiji, South Africa, NZ and England. If USA get one of those, then England (or any other side, for that matter, including Australia, Argentina etc) will have to dislodge one of the others.

If England don't qualify automatically, then I think there's a European qualifying leg, but it's not clear if that would be a Team GB selection, or an England side trying to win a place for Team GB. The European leg will include France, Spain and - I think - Ireland, so that's not walkover.

If we fail through that route, there's a final reparchage but that's going to include at least one big Pacific name - Samoa, or even Australia - so it would also be no sure thing since we have lost to both those sides this season.

England won the Trophy final, which means we get poinst for 9th place. Meanwhile, Scotland lost their quarter final match but secured fifth place in a good match against Samoa, which saw them come back from 19-12 behind to win 19-24.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sun 27 Jan 2019, 9:44 am

Fiji spanked USA in the final, 38-0. Reminiscent of what they did to Team GB in Rio in the final there.

New Zealand beat South Africa to claim third, and those four teams have the top four Olympic qualifying spots right now. England are in fifth, with Australia in sixth. We are only three rounds in, but England and Australia not only have to start getting better results to climb the rankings, they need the other teams to slip up.


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Post by Rugby Fan on Sun 27 Jan 2019, 2:52 pm

To elaborate, qualification for the Olympic Tokyo sevens will be:

Top 4 places in this season's HSBC sevens.
1 Host (Japan)
1 Oceania winner
1 South America (Probably Argentina)
1 Europe
1 North America (if USA qualify automaticaly, it'll be Canada)
1 Asia
1 Africa (if South Africa qualify, probably Kenya)
1 Best of the rest

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Post by Rugby Fan on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 9:16 am

England's pool for the Sydney Sevens includes Fiji, Samoa and Japan. It could have been worse, since our ninth place finish meant we would be drawn with two of top 8 teams from Hamilton. Argentina, for instance, have been drawn with South Africa and Australia, which is a tough group. Then again, we have to beat Samoa again (you'd hope we can defeat Japan), and they were our nemesis in Hamilton.

The bad news for England is that, if we do qualify for the cup quarters, we will probably face either South Africa or hosts Australia. We must get a win over one of those sides, not only to build our own points total, but to put restrict theirs.

Scotland have NZ, Spain and Wales. On current form, they should go through to the quarters as one of the top two sides, but Spain and Wales might fancy an upset victory.

Current standings

Fiji - 57pts
USA - 57
New Zealand - 54
South Africa - 44
England - 38
Australia - 35
Scotland - 33
Samoa  - 27
Argentina - 23
Spain - 22
Canada - 20
France - 14
Kenya - 11
Wales - 6
Japan - 4
Tonga - 3
Zimbabwe - 1


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Post by LondonTiger on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 9:32 am

Thanks for the continued updates. While I may not interact with this thread it is a nice easy place to keep up to date with what is happening.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sat 02 Feb 2019, 12:34 am

Argentina have spoiled the party in Sydney, beating Australia 14-29, If Australia lose to South Africa, then the hosts probably won't qualify for the quarter finals.

Scotland slipped up against Spain, losing 7-10. They'll have to hope other results go their way of they are to make it out of the pool.

England have just beaten Samoa 12-24, who have been a bogey team for us recently. A win over Japan should see us through to the quarters, but that's not a game to take for granted.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sat 02 Feb 2019, 8:20 am

Japan managed a win over Samoa, so their game with England will determine who goes forward to the quarter finals.

England lost to 14-7 Fiji but it was a competitive game. We survived a yellow card without conceding a score, and might have drawn the match if Dan Bibby had been able to hold on to a pass from Dan Norton in the last moment of the game.

Scotland have had a tournament to forget. The loss to Spain was followed by defeat to Wales. New Zealand would always have been a difficult opponent but 42-0 was one-way traffic. Wales had their best opportunity of the series to grab a pool second place but Spain beat them 21-5 to go through instead.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sat 02 Feb 2019, 9:56 am

Fireworks in the South Africa - Australia match, Australia needed to win by five points or more to get second place. They proceeded to go 17-0 up before the Blitzbokke had managed to touch the ball.

South Africa then came back, to lead 21-17. South Africa then got a yellow card and Australia made it 21-24 but gave away a penalty with only seconds left on the clock. At that score, South Africa were already guaranteed to qualify in first place, and Australia would be eliminated from the Cup competition. South Africa could easily have kicked it dead, and ended the match.

However, they didn't want to give Australia a win, and so spent the last play trying to get another score to take back the lead. They knocked the ball on, and Australia collected the loose ball to race away, and score the try which gave them the points difference they needed.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sat 02 Feb 2019, 11:04 am

Mens Quarters:

Fiji vs Australia
NZ vs France
England vs South Africa
USA vs Spain

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sat 02 Feb 2019, 12:11 pm

Incidentally, Ireland made the women's semi-final for the first time ever. They will face hosts Australia.



This was a great try for Fiji men.


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Post by Rugby Fan on Sun 03 Feb 2019, 12:45 pm

England finished third, which was a much better performance given we didn't make the quarter finals in Cape Town. We lost in the semi-finals to USA but did manage wins over South Africa and Fiji.

That leaves us on 55pts and in fifth position overall, behind New Zealand (76pts), USA (76pts), Fiji (72pts) and South Africa (57pts). New Zealand won the Sydney title, witha convincing win over USA. So far, only NZ and Fiji have won titles.

Form can fluctuate across the season but, if trends were to continue this way, you'd put good money on NZ and Fiji claiming two of the automatic Olympic qualifying spots. After that, USA is looking good value, so England will have to keep doing better than South Africa to get a chance to claim the last berth.

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Post by Eejit on Sun 03 Feb 2019, 1:04 pm

And Scotland were complete pants. Again.

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Post by BigGee on Sun 03 Feb 2019, 1:18 pm

Eejit wrote:And Scotland were complete pants. Again.

To be fair, that is the first tournament this season that we have really tanked in, we have made the knockouts of all three of the others. We did not look to be at the races this time around though and i think we took a few injuries, which did not help.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sun 03 Feb 2019, 1:18 pm

Eejit wrote:And Scotland were complete pants. Again.
That was a real surprise, after their strong showing in Cape Town. Haven't seen their matches, so don't know what went wrong this weekend.

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Post by Galted on Sun 03 Feb 2019, 2:43 pm

Hard luck for the US again. Have made the final in all 4 tournaments so far and haven’t won any of them.
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Post by Rugby Fan on Mon 04 Feb 2019, 1:07 am

Galted wrote:Hard luck for the US again. Have made the final in all 4 tournaments so far and haven’t won any of them.
The last two finals have seen them spanked by Fiji and NZ. They just seemed to freeze when in touching distance of a title. Hope they get that out of their system.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Thu 28 Feb 2019, 6:02 am

It's Las Vegas this weekend, so the US will be hoping to finally grab a title this season in front of a home crowd.

To do so, they will probbaly have to play South Africa or England in a quarter final (the other teams in England's group are Chile and Japan, so you'd expect us to get through with the Blitzbokke)

Scotland and Wales are in a group with Fiji and Australia, which will make it hard for either to qualify. If there is a turn-up, then it will be quite a coup.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sat 02 Mar 2019, 12:24 am

Scotland lost to Fiji but this was a great try.


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Post by Rugby Fan on Sat 02 Mar 2019, 4:17 am

Argentina have just beaten the hosts US in the Pool stages, which means they have a good chance to top the group with a win over Kenya.

That becomes significant for England since our quarter final will be against a team from that pool. Although I doubt we'll try and lose, it might be in our interests to finish second in our pool, behind South Africa, to get a match against Argentina rather than USA.


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Post by Rugby Fan on Sat 02 Mar 2019, 6:42 am

I've assumed above that USA will qualify for the quarter final, but France are no pushovers. They beat Kenya quite easily, and only lost to Argentina by two points. While, I still expect USA to win, it's eminently possible for France to turn them over.

South Africa almost went down to a shock defeat to Chile. As it is, they could only draw 5-5. It looked like they scored a winner with the last play, but a Chilean defender tap-tackled the man heading to the line, and he just fumbled it as he stumbled.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sun 03 Mar 2019, 1:10 am

England did lose to South Africa in the pool, so we play Argentina. As USA beat France to finish second in their group, then that's not a bad result, since we avoid the hosts for now. All becomes irrelevant, of course, if we lose to Argentina, which is quite possible.

The other quarter final draws are quite tasty. Not only will South Africa face USA, New Zealand play Fiji, and Australia have Samoa.

Wales have had a poor tournament so far. They lost all three pool games, including the match with Scotland, and just lost to Spain. It's been a bad series all round. With Japan probably picking up more points in Vegas, Wales will slip to 15th place in the table. That's effectively bottom, since the teams below them are regional invitation sides, who only play a couple of rounds each.

Wales have never had a consistent sevens side but have reliably managed around 10th place. Along the way, they usually took some big scalps. Six or seven years ago, Wales even recorded some silver and bronze finishes. There's no real sign of that now, which makes me wonder what the WRU wants from its sevens programme. There's some decent sevens experience in Wales. After all, Welsh coach Gareth Barber is currently in charge of Fiji.

Scotland are 7th in the table but the last two rounds have been poor. Two years ago, Scotland took the title in London, and the same season saw silver and bronze finishes. There's nothing like that form this season. Certainly, the team is vulnerable to injuries in the same way as the XVs side but the fall-off in performances isn't just down to missing players. Core squad members Kyle Steyn, Mungo Mason and Ally Miller stayed with their clubs but five players returned from injury for Vegas, including Glenn Bryce, Harvey Elms, co-captains Jamie Farndale and Robbie Ferguson and Nyle Godsmark.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sun 03 Mar 2019, 3:34 am

...and we lost. A frustrating match, because we went down to 5 men at one point, picking up two yellow cards for deliberate knock-downs. One looked harsh, because the scrum half seemed to pass directly into our player's shoulder. Still we came back from 21-7 down to tie it up at full time. In golden point extra time, however, we lost the toss, which meant Argentina had possession. They kept it for a dozen phases, and scored. Ultimately, poor discipline in regular play meant we were at the mercy of golden point play.

South Africa got spanked by USA, and Samoa beat Australia, so the losing quarter finalists make for some some tasty match-ups. Fiji play South Africa, while Australia play England. In the Cup semis, NZ play USA and Argentina play Samoa.

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