All season we’re bringing you our IRB Sevens Series power rankings before and after each tournament. This week we factor in the results from Las Vegas.
1. South Africa (previous ranking: 2): For the second year in a row South Africa has taken home the title in Vegas and for the second tournament in a row this season. They were unstoppable over the weekend and the pitch conditions were perfect for their style. Along with New Zealand they have separated themselves as the best team on the Series.
2. New Zealand (1): The All Blacks have not finished lower than third this season and have lost to South Africa in the final two tournaments in a row. Considering they had a rash of injuries before the tournament they had a strong weekend.
3. Samoa (8): Like South Africa the narrow pitch at Sam Boyd Stadium played in perfectly to Samoa’s style. Their only two losses came to South Africa and Canada.
4. England (6): After coming short in South Africa, England’s Plate win in Las Vegas is a strong result. A few more like this and they’ll pass Fiji as the best of the rest.
5. Australia (7): The Wallabies tournament could have gone another way had they not hit a last minute penalty kick to beat Fiji. They should have done better against Samoa and England in the Plate.
6. Argentina (3): The Pumas had the weakest pools in the competition and they didn’t finish first. Then in knock-out play they lost both of their matches.
7. France (9): France is all over the map this season in terms of results. However, over the last few tournaments they have put some good results together.
8. Fiji (4): Winning the Bowl is not where Fiji want to be. They were unlucky to be in a pool with Australia and New Zealand but in reality they should/could have won both of those matches.
9. Canada (13): Canada had a remarkable tournament. They were missing Ciaran Hearn, Sean Duke, and Nathan Hirayama yet they knocked off several top teams on their way to a third place finish. If they continue to get positive results like this they will be in the top echelon in no time.
10. Wales (10): With a coaching change Wales is going to need some time to adjust. That was readily apparent after a poor weekend. Their own win came over the U.S. and even then they shouldn’t have won.
11. Scotland (12): Another tournament another mediocre result for Scotland. At this point you have to wonder what they can do, if anything, to improve their program.
12. Portugal (11): One tournament after making the Cup quarterfinals Portugal finish tied for last. That is not a good sign.
13. United States (14): The Shield win is nice and going three for three is good but all of those wins came against either Spain or Uruguay. That is not going to cut it for a team with the talent they possess.
14. Spain (15): At this point it’s just waiting for the season to end and the inevitable relegation to happen.