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Tokyo Olympic Sevens

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Post by Rugby Fan Mon 28 Jun 2021, 1:29 pm

First topic message reminder :

The pools for the mens competition were announced today. Twelve teams get whittled down to eight, so the top two teams from each pool will progress, along with the best two third placed teams. The last Olympics didn't go at all to form but I'd expect NZ, Australia and Argentina to progress, since they should all handily beat Korea. After that, Fiji is almost a certainly to qualify but no-one else can be sure.

In Pool B, on form, GB should beat Canada and Japan, to qualify at least in second. A victory over Fiji isn't out of the question but they are favourites to top the group. However, Japan beat NZ in Rio, and Canada can beat top sides too, so both could cause an upset, and put us in third place, or even out. If third, then it would be a lottery if we happened to be better than the third placed finisher in Pool C. USA were in the same boat in Rio, and it cost them a place in the quarter finals.

In Pool C, while Ireland are the fourth seed, they are probably better than Kenya, and have a realistic chance to get to the quarter finals.

Pool A
New Zealand
Australia
Argentina
Korea

Pool B
Fiji
Great Britain
Canada
Japan

Pool C
South Africa
USA
Kenya
Ireland

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Post by Old Man Tue 27 Jul 2021, 10:37 am

I hate red cards

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Post by Rugby Fan Tue 27 Jul 2021, 10:40 am

Argentinian gets a red card for a late and dangerous tackle. He started complaining that the South African was play acting but the guy went off for treatment.

That should be the end of the game. However, the Pumas score net to tie at 7-7 with a minute of the first half to go.

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Post by Rugby Fan Tue 27 Jul 2021, 10:42 am

Oh...and the Pumas score at the end of the half, to take a 14-7 lead and make things interesting. Surely not...

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Post by Rugby Fan Tue 27 Jul 2021, 10:42 am

Annoyingly, I'll miss the second half, as we are sitting down for dinner...

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Post by lostinwales Tue 27 Jul 2021, 10:48 am

Its a good game. SA seem to be all over the place to be honest

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Post by Old Man Tue 27 Jul 2021, 10:50 am

Argentina deserves this

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Post by Collapse2005 Tue 27 Jul 2021, 10:51 am

They are a man down though, they should do.

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Post by Collapse2005 Tue 27 Jul 2021, 10:53 am

Great win

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Post by lostinwales Tue 27 Jul 2021, 10:53 am

Wow. Argentina win but finish with 5 on the pitch following a yellow card and penalty try. They also lost another player to what might be a serious knee injury


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Post by Duty281 Tue 27 Jul 2021, 10:54 am

Blimey, what a win. Lost count of the basic errors from South Africa. Inspirational from Argentina.

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Post by TightHEAD Tue 27 Jul 2021, 10:54 am

Down to 5 and still win. Wow
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Post by lostinwales Tue 27 Jul 2021, 10:58 am

Funny - down to 6 Argentina seemed to know what they wanted to do and SA did not. Great game though

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Post by Old Man Tue 27 Jul 2021, 10:58 am

BlitzBoks were terrible

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Post by Rugby Fan Tue 27 Jul 2021, 11:00 am

That's a hell of a win by Argentina. It was always on the cards they could trouble the Blitzbokke but never in a million years would you expect a sevens team to do that playing a man down for most of the match.

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Post by Rugby Fan Tue 27 Jul 2021, 11:08 am

South Africa were 2nd, and Argentina ranked 9th in the HSBC Sevens series before COVID ended it prematurely. They really turned around their programme in time for the Olympics.

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Post by Rugby Fan Tue 27 Jul 2021, 11:12 am

Fiji leading Australia 7-0. Australia will be disappointed not to end at least 7-5. They are discovering Fiji can defend well when they put their mind to it. It's all still in the balance, though.

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Post by lostinwales Tue 27 Jul 2021, 11:25 am

Fiji are just brutal

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Post by Rugby Fan Tue 27 Jul 2021, 11:31 am

Australia never got into that match, and you can see how much it hurt them at the end.

Semi-finals will be

NZ vs Team GB
Fiji vs Argentina

As far as GB goes, this feels a bit like Rio, where we also had a squeaky quarter final win (Argentina missed a sitter which would have put us out in 2016). Back then, we faced South Africa in the semi-final, and somehow pulled off another win. A victory over New Zealand will be just as big a surprise if we can do it.

It's not that Team GB can't beat NZ, it's just that England hasn't done it much lately, and GB is using much the same gameplan. Along with Fiji, NZ have been like Kryptonite for that strategy.

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Post by lostinwales Tue 27 Jul 2021, 11:37 am

Rugby Fan wrote:Australia never got into that match, and you can see how much it hurt them at the end.

Semi-finals will be

NZ vs Team GB
Fiji vs Argentina

As far as GB goes, this feels a bit like Rio, where we also had a squeaky quarter final win (Argentina missed a sitter which would have put us out in 2016). Back then, we faced South Africa in the semi-final, and somehow pulled off another win. A victory over New Zealand will be just as big a surprise if we can do it.

It's not that Team GB can't beat NZ, it's just that England hasn't done it much lately, and GB is using much the same gameplan. Along with Fiji, NZ have been like Kryptonite for that strategy.

I wonder how much the weather is affecting how we play. When the passes all stick we do look good, but they have not been sticking and we have been paying for all the mistakes. Fiji didn't look good at all vs Japan but since then they look unstoppable.

Anyway, a bronze medal isn't a bad return given the prep GB have had.

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Post by Duty281 Tue 27 Jul 2021, 11:42 am

lostinwales wrote:Fiji are just brutal

Their defence is miles ahead of anyone else, it's very rugby-league style in that regard, and their sheer physicality wrecks the energy of opponents. Great team to watch.

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Post by Rugby Fan Tue 27 Jul 2021, 11:42 am

lostinwales wrote:Anyway, a bronze medal isn't a bad return given the prep GB have had.
No bronze decided yet. The two losing semi-finalists have to play to decide who gets it.

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Post by Rugby Fan Tue 27 Jul 2021, 12:30 pm

Incidentally, worth noting that three of this year's Olympic Sevens semi-finalists have British coaches.

Team GB - Tony Roques (England)
New Zealand - Clark Laidlaw (Scotland)
Fiji - Gareth Baber (Wales)

That's not even including USA coach Mike Friday and Canada coach Henry Paul, who both played sevens for England (though Paul is a Kiwi with an English grandfather).

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Post by Rugby Fan Tue 27 Jul 2021, 1:07 pm

Tony Roques says he isn't sure if Tom Mitchell will be fit for tomorrow's games and is just "praying".

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Post by Rugby Fan Tue 27 Jul 2021, 3:16 pm

One sad aspect of this year's Olympic Sevens is the showing of hosts Japan.

In Rio, Japan beat NZ, nearly sending them out of the tournament, and made the quarterfinals, where they beat France. Those results were amazing, as Japan hadn't really paid attention to sevens. Fiji then knocked them out in the semis.

In some Olympic sports, bronze medals are awarded to both losing semi-finalists. Not so rugby, where Japan had to play South Africa for the medal, and were well beaten. Still, the performances gave hope that Japan on hone territory could pose some problems.

The only game where Japan showed well this year was the opener against Fiji. While the hosts should beat Korea to place eleventh, that's a big comedown from fourth place in Rio. As Japan has been winning early medals elsewhere, their sevens finish will probably pass largely unnoticed by the general public.

As for other Olympics fall-out, this is the second misfire for USA. Most followers of rugby in America think a sevens Olympic win would do wonders for the whole of the sport, so this will be a disappointment. Coach Mike Friday hasn't had a lot of resources to work with, and may wonder whether he should continue. Then again, there aren't many sevens jobs going in a COVID world, so he might bide his time (unless his employers decide otherwise).

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Post by Rugby Fan Wed 28 Jul 2021, 2:21 am

It's the last day of the men's event, and we are an hour away from NZ vs GB

There are only four matches of medal consequence, namely the two semi-finals, the bronze medal play-off, and final. the rest of the day is filled with the other eight teams playing for places. This won't just be the last Olympics, it will be the last representative match of any kind for some players, so coaches won't always field their best starting seven.

So far, Japan beat Korea31-19, which is closer than you'd expect between those teams. Ireland lost 22-0 to Kenya, which ends a disappointing Olympics for them. It was a great feat to go through the final qualifier to get to Tokyo but has ended a little flat.


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Post by Rugby Fan Wed 28 Jul 2021, 3:02 am

Tom Mitchell confirmed injured and not taking part. That's a big loss.

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Post by Rugby Fan Wed 28 Jul 2021, 3:25 am

New Zealand 29-7 GB

GB banked on harrying NZ into making mistakes but they just kept the ball away from us, and took advantage of our mistakes.

If a team keeps the ball, then you need to compete at the breakdown, or make dominant tackles. GB just aren't configured to do that against the best physical teams. NZ played exactly the kind of game which exposes our weaknesses. To get on terms, we needed everything to go our way. A couple of moments of lost possession let NZ get two scores in front in the second half, and that was curtains.

Still a chance of a medal later.

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Post by Rugby Fan Wed 28 Jul 2021, 4:19 am

Fiji 26-14 Argentina

Argentina made it harder for the Fijians than the formbook suggested, even leading 12-14 at halftime. Fiji didn't panic, made some huge tackles, and the Pumas eventually cracked.

From a GB perspective, we'd probably rather face Argentina than Fiji for the bronze. Like us, Argentina have injuries, and their main playmaker is also out of contention. Still, this semi-final showed they will be a tough prospect.

A silver medal in Rio was better than GB might have hoped in 2016. Realistically, a bronze would not be a bad return this year if we can manage it. England were arguably the fourth best team in Sevens last year, with an ageing squad and not a lot of talent coming through.

Roques gambled on a different way of using the England core, with some fast Scots players. Fiji, NZ and South Africa can probably beat this GB squad most of the time, so our progression in the competition depended on when we met one of those teams, and whether we had any luck.

On recent form, and given our strategy of selecting no out-and-out forwards, USA and Argentina might both edge GB in a best of 5 series. Things went our way against USA, and we'll have to hope the injuries and suspensions tip the balance in our favour against the Pumas.

Fiji have looked the best team so far, so will go into the final as favourites. New Zealand, though, were the most consistent team before Covid closed down the World Sevens Series. They certainly have the game to beat Fiji, and make the final a more competitive affair than GB managed in Rio.

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Post by Collapse2005 Wed 28 Jul 2021, 8:15 am

Ireland must have been out partying or just lost interest as they got spanked by Kenya.

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Post by Duty281 Wed 28 Jul 2021, 8:53 am

It was total dominance by NZ, GB barely touched the ball. Can't see Fiji losing to NZ. The bronze medal match should be tight, narrowly favouring Argentina after GB's form in Tokyo.

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Post by Collapse2005 Wed 28 Jul 2021, 9:23 am

Very hard to find the highlights of games anywhere

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Post by Rugby Fan Wed 28 Jul 2021, 9:39 am

At 12-5 to Argentina, you can already see the pattern. We are trying to outplay them, but our mistakes will be punished. It's not over yet.

I get to see the first half, then have to take my daughter to a class. Will have to catch up with the result later.

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Post by Rugby Fan Wed 28 Jul 2021, 9:44 am

We are getting possession through Pumas knock-ons but trying to be too flash too early.

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Post by Collapse2005 Wed 28 Jul 2021, 9:48 am

Not looking good for GB

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Post by Duty281 Wed 28 Jul 2021, 9:50 am

Deserved for Argentina.

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Post by Collapse2005 Wed 28 Jul 2021, 9:55 am

Yeah it was, a bit harsh on the British side who played well too.

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Post by Collapse2005 Wed 28 Jul 2021, 10:07 am

Fiji are soooo impressive

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Post by Duty281 Wed 28 Jul 2021, 10:23 am

Yeah, great team to watch, fully deserving of the gold again. clap

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Post by lostinwales Wed 28 Jul 2021, 10:25 am

Had a meeting so missed most of the Fiji game. Every team they face looks exactly the same by the middle of the 2nd half

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Post by RiscaGame Wed 28 Jul 2021, 2:40 pm

This is some sacrifice by Fiji, to take the gold.

@JLyall93 Twitter wrote: Fiji head coach Gareth Baber says his players have not been able to see their families since Easter Monday due to Covid-19. Some were debutants at this level. Some had not been on a plane before. Captain Jerry Tuwai believes, given backdrop, this gold is "more special" than 2016.

More from Jerry Tuwai, the only survivor from the 2016 squad: "I have three kids. It's a long story, but I nearly jumped camp because I miss them. Our coach bound us together so we could continue our journey to Tokyo."

More on this remarkable tale from Baber: "We were effectively locked up in Suva in a Christian hostel. We were given exemption to train. We built a gym in the garage. When the players go back and quarantine, it will have been 20 weeks since they were last with their families."


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Post by Rugby Fan Wed 28 Jul 2021, 2:47 pm

GB finished at the level England most consistently attain on the Sevens circuuit. England/GB have outperformed at recent knockout events like the World Cup and Olympic & Commonwealth Games. This one got away from us, although we had as good a route to a medal as we might have hoped for.

We had a successful first day against teams with no real power. Against every team with a good power game, we struggled. I don't know why Tony Roques left Richard de Carpentier out of the squad but we missed him. He is the main way England secure possession when taking or receiving kick-offs, which is an area Team GB fell short. If you don't have the power to counter-ruck, or make dominant tackles, then you need to get as much ball as you can from kick-offs.

You could see, when GB had the ball, that everyone felt the pressure to make it count because possession was such a rare resource. This happened in all the matches we lost. Rather than give a pass, players were trying to go through tackles and look for an offload. Ultimately, you have to do something like that to create an overlap but we did it too often in unpromising situations.

We really missed Tom Mitchell's game management. While Dan Bibby can play Mitchell's role, when he does it for England, he's had forwards like Burgess and de Carpentier to work off. Doing it for GB was a totally different challenge, because he just had backs around him, and it showed.

This in turn put pressure on Ollie Lindsay-Hague to come up with some magic. He is a wonderful player, who can turn a match in a moment. You could also see him thinking "it's down to me" every time he got the ball, when patience was a better opion.

If anyone was going to benefit from our fragility, then it's no bad thing the Pumas got the medal. It makes for a good story.

Overall, the mens sevens was a decent tournament. Rio was packed with surprises in every round, and finished with everyone's favourite winner, so it was always going to be hard to top that.

One good thing about Fiji going back to back, is the way it puts Ben Ryan's role into perspective. There is no doubt Ryan laid coaching foundations which were entirely absent before. However, some of the commentary almost cast him in the role of a white saviour coach, leading the natives to glory. Ryan would be the first to dismiss that characterization but there was a lingering sense Fijian players could all go AWOL at the drop of a hat.

Gareth Baber has shown Fijian players don't need to be tricked into responding to professional coaching. They want to win, and know the discipline the sport requires. All the outside commentary thought Semi Radradra would be the main star for Fiji. In the end, he played a bit part, as the cohesion of the regular players proved more important than his stardust. It was a dominant performance by the most skilful team in the competition.


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Post by lostinwales Wed 28 Jul 2021, 2:51 pm

Dan Bibby on the future and how it's looking bleak

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/olympics/57995446

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Post by Old Man Wed 28 Jul 2021, 3:09 pm

Blitzboks were disappointing, should have been more accurate against Argentina, a half time talk with their coach would have been helpful, sadly he was stucj in isolation and couldn’t be there

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Post by Rugby Fan Wed 28 Jul 2021, 4:37 pm

lostinwales wrote:Dan Bibby on the future and how it's looking bleak

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/olympics/57995446

The way the Team GB unions have run sevens is a disgrace.

Dan Bibby is right. Either the unions support the code, as an integral part of supporting the whole sport, or else they should be honest about abandoning it.

A reminder again that five of the twelve teams in Tokyo are coached either by British coaches or, in the case of Henry Paul, a former England player (don't know if he has a passport). Just like Rio, both the gold and silver medal teams had British coaches. Britain is good at this sport.

The WRU has treated the sevens code appallingly. In 2009, Wales won the Sevens World Cup, with a squad including Aled Brew, Rhys Webb and Aled Thomas. A Welsh coach just helped Fiji win Olympic gold. Meanwhile, over the last couple of years, the Welsh Sevens team has teetered on the verge of relegation from the World Series. With the level of support they are provided, there's no way they would get back in if they suffered relegation now.

The RFU is not much better. Over the last few years, the England sevens set-up has been entirely divorced from the England national team set-up, and the Premiership. No Premiership players are released to the sevens circuit anymore, and there's no overlap with England. That is just an absurd misuse of financial, player, and coaching resources.

Consider how daft this is. The Premiership clubs have a Rugby sevens series every year, before the season gets underway. Over the years, there have been a few players who have shown some class, and yet none have been steered towards the Engand sevens programme, even when they are not playing regular first team rugby for their clubs. Now that clubs are cutting squad sizes, and feeling the pinch, it's even less likely.

Clubs literally train their players in a code with vibrant international competitions, and then deny them the chance to compete beyond a pre-season run-about. None of these clubs even approach RFU England sevens coaches for help in preparing.

Eddie Jones recognized the value of sevens when he named Ruaridh McConnochie to his World Cup squad but it needed McConnochie to take the personal risk of changing horses to make that possible. That is not how you use the sevens programme to develop talent and experience.

I give the SRU something of a pass simply because they were trying to do joined-up thinking but felt financially constrained when the provincial teams and national XV side were all misfiring.

Now, we don't know where we stand. The top sevens players would love to continue in the code. The unions, however, have essentially said "If you want money, go and get a professional contract in the XV code. If you can't get one, then you aren't worth that much, so we are justified in not paying you for exceptional performances in a different format".

I'd be the first to recognize international sevens is a one of the least pandemic-friendly sports you could imagine. It may not last the course in its current format. It is, though, a format supported by World Rugby. England, Wales and Scotland all have the maximum three votes on the World Rugby Council, and yet all treat this central plank as a sideshow. They should be ashamed of themselves. A more honest approach would be to argue for the end of rugby sevens at the Olympics and Commonwealth Games, and then see whether a World Sevens series can survive as a standalone professional league.

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Post by Rugby Fan Thu 29 Jul 2021, 10:36 am

Too early to get carried away but GB Women have scored three quick tries against favourites NZ in their pool match.


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Post by Duty281 Thu 29 Jul 2021, 10:37 am

Make that three tries with an exquisite step...what on earth is happening?! Wish I could time travel back a few minutes - GB were about 12/1 to win this one.

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Post by Rugby Fan Thu 29 Jul 2021, 10:39 am

Duty281 wrote:Make that three tries with an exquisite step...what on earth is happening?! Wish I could time travel back a few minutes - GB were about 12/1 to win this one.

And NZ do NZ, to narrow the gap....

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Tokyo Olympic Sevens - Page 2 Empty Re: Tokyo Olympic Sevens

Post by Duty281 Thu 29 Jul 2021, 10:51 am

Great comeback that one. clap

GB should have kicked for the lineout rather than gone for the scrum on the two penalties they got.

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Post by Pal Joey Thu 29 Jul 2021, 10:57 am

At least you didn't place that bet, Duty. Wink

Typical Kiwi comeback. Just a pool game though. GB have a great side too.
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Post by tigertattie Thu 29 Jul 2021, 1:15 pm

GB looked great at times but the decision making was utterly bonkers at times.

To opt for a scrum penatly in 7s is an odd call at the best of times but on your own 22 it's just asking for trouble.

The GB blitz defence was great but every now and then there was a total switch off and NZ jsut slid through the line to score. It wasnt even a gap, simply both GB players elected to let the other make the tackle so no tackle was made
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