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 Wellington.
1. New Zealand (previous ranking: 2): After dropping down in our rankings after Vegas the All Blacks have bounced right back with a win on their home soil. They looked like a rejuvenated team, especially on day two when they didn’t surrender a single point. A surprise loss to Fiji in their opening match was their only blemish and Fiji’s 12 points were the only scored on them in the tournament. The All Blacks finished with an astonishing +173 point differential.
2. South Africa (1): The Blitzbokke once again made the final proving that along with New Zealand that they are one of the top two teams on the Series. However, it wasn’t a perfect weekend by any means as they also lost to England in pool play.
3. England (4): The English continue to rise in our rankings with good results. Their third place finish in Wellington will give them some much needed points as they have now climbed to third in the standings.
4. Fiji (8): This is the Fiji we are used to seeing. Their win over New Zealand wasn’t a fluke. They are an up and down side so it will be interesting to see how they play in Tokyo.
5. Australia (5): It was their second Plate appearance in a row but this time they won. The Plate is nice but Australia will want to break into a Cup semi-final at some point this season other than in their home tournament in the Gold Coast.
6. Canada (9): Another strong performance from the Canadians. It was a toss-up between them and Argentina for sixth in the rankings this week but Canada’s win over Argentina in pool play put them over the top.
7. Argentina (6): We’ve been impressed by Argentina’s play this season and we should rank them higher. However, while they’ve won games they haven’t exactly been runaway winners.
8. Samoa (3): This wasn’t the same Samoan team we saw in Vegas. They should have done better on day two but instead collapsed against England and Canada.
9. Kenya (6): The Kenyans don’t want to be playing for the Bowl every week but that’s what they’ve done the last two tournaments.
10. France (7): Not nearly good enough from France. They were blown out by both Fiji and New Zealand and barely topped Spain in group play. Then they benefitted from a poor U.S. team in the Bowl quarterfinals before giving up a bad loss of their own.
11. Scotland (11): Back to back Bowl appearances for the Scots is a good sign after it looked like their program was headed downhill the rest of the season.
12. Wales (10): It’s been a steady stream of worsening results for Wales. For the third tournament in a row they have crashed out in the Bowl semi-finals. They are in the midst of a reboot of their program right now and it doesn’t seem to be going well.
13. United States (14): They U.S. only moves up a spot because Portugal were so bad in Wellington. The team has all the talent needed to succeed but they continually come up short.
14. Portugal (12): As was mentioned, a very poor tournament in Wellington.
15. Spain (15): At least they made it to a Shield final again. Still, it’s sobering to think that it would just take an invitational team one tournament of reaching the Bowl final to pass them in the rankings.