The Las Vegas 7s kicks off today so it’s time to see who’s on form and to make some predictions.
Pool A: South Africa, Kenya, Wales, Canada
The Springboks are the defending champions in Vegas and are the definite favorites in Pool A. They, along with New Zealand, and incrementally separating themselves in another class from the rest of the field. Over the last ten matches they’ve only lost once, including an unbeaten run to capture their home tournament.
Their biggest challenge will come from either Kenya or Wales. The Kenyans have made the Cup quarterfinals in all three tournaments this year. Wales did well in the first two stops but didn’t play well in South Africa. For Canada it’s a tough draw. They have the talent to do well but turnover in the program in addition to fatigue and injuries have hurt results. Playing in their ‘home’ tournament will help.
Pool B: New Zealand, Fiji, Australia, Scotland
Arguably the toughest group. The All Blacks are the favorites as always but it wouldn’t be surprising to see them drop a match to Fiji. The Fijians have already won a tournament this year showing how capable they are. They will be pushed by Australia for a spot in the Cup quarterfinals. The Wallabies have plenty of talent but probably not enough to knock of the All Blacks at the moment. Scotland will face an uphill battle and could go winless.
Pool C: Samoa, Portugal, England, Uruguay
Samoa are the favorites in this pool and will have a large part of the crowd cheering them on. They were poor in Dubai but they were also Cup semi-finalists in South Africa. England will be the biggest challenger and an odd on favorite to make the Cup quarterfinals. That said, they haven’t been the most consistent of sides. If they are not careful Portugal could surprise them. Each team is expected to beat Uruguay handily.
Pool D: Argentina, France, Spain, United States
Pool D is the most wide open of all the pools. Argentina has been the most consistent of the four teams but even they haven’t been in the Cup competition in all three tournaments this year. Still, as it stands they are the favorites to win the pool. France have been all over the map this year. If they play like they did in South Africa they could find themselves in the bottom four at the end of the day. Spain have played good rugby at times this year but overall have struggled and sit at the bottom of the table.
The United States has home field backing, something they have used to their advantage in the past. However, they haven’t been at their best this season with some very poor finishes. Only once have they played in six matches in a given weekend. Zack Test will lead the team that is looking for a big contribution from their role players to succeed.
Our prediction is that South Africa, Kenya, New Zealand, Australia, Samoa, England, the U.S. and Argentina advancing with Samoa taking home the crown.