Expect a ‘Full house’ in Vegas, the city that celebrates the odds – and how to beat them – for this weekend’s HSBC USA Sevens men’s tournament.
For years, the Las Vegas 7s event was a stand-out leg of the World Series. And even though the women are no longer a factor, it will still enjoy a full house at Sam Boyd Stadium over the three day weekend.
— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) March 1, 2019
In 2019, the odds are higher still. Defending champions, the USA Eagles Sevens team are still flying high – sitting proudly at the peak of the HSBC Sevens Series table; alongside New Zealand. They are the hot ticket, so that draw will mean a large, and colourful crowd is on hand Saturday and Sunday.
‘Full house’ in Vegas for HSBC USA Sevens
Join in the fun, via the World Rugby livestream or cable channels like ESPN, and be a part of the ‘circus’. Not so much Dumbo, but more like Speed Demons, Nitro Circus and Extreme Rugby Entertainment. The likes of Fiji, Samoa (two-time Champions) and Spain should have great local support, with the International flavour arriving from Wales, Australia, Argentina and Canada…….we mention that, as only 1200 miles North is Vancouver [host of the Canada Sevens scheduled for next weekend].
So the spotlight is on leg five of the series. And fans who follow sevens will be wondering ‘will a different team hold the Cup on Sunday?’ That is because only Fiji and New Zealand have claimed tournament wins. It has been a great showing from the two most dominant teams in sevens history, but, isn’t the game supposed to have evolved?
Yes it has, however the two ‘big rollers’ are focused more than ever!
Focused on twin-goals that is. The HSBC title of course. The primary motivation, and halfway towards that goal, the All Blacks Sevens have one foot closer than Fiji [to date]. Yet the second goal is just as fathomable…the 2020 Olympic Games.
Each of the 15 core teams, including the invitational Chilean team, have very real dreams of Olympic glory, so even while the Kiwis and Fijians have started well, that is not to say that any one of the teams can ‘spin the wheel’ and win big in Vegas.
HSBC USA Sevens – Pools
— Jaza Stadi (@jaza_stadi) February 28, 2019
The Day One fixtures will pit each pool team in three tough matches. Like in every event, winners will be grinners, yet, it is just as important for sides to show their conditioning and determination. Some sides start well but fall too early. Others can look great on Day Three – those teams tend to go on to win it big.
Determination is a key ingredient, so as much as lady luck plays its part, so too does hard work. Something which topline coaches like Mike Friday, Sir Gordon Tietjens and veterans, like Damian McGrath of Canada or the respected James Rodwell of England.
Be sure to watch every minute of Day One, as that determines which team can then stand-up to the Big Boys Table on sunday.
Last Word on the #USA7s
The atmosphere will be electric, the final showdown at the Sam Boyd Stadium will be epic not only for the visiting teams but most of all the hosts. Four consecutive finals and nothing to show for, consistency is a plus but victory gets you the respect.
If you dislike fun this is not the event for you 🤷♂️ pic.twitter.com/zWRwpp1SHR
— Collegiate Rugby Championship (@USASevensRugby) January 31, 2019
Expect the unexpected, forget the norms, look forward to upsets with twists and turns. Fiji and New Zealand will be out to size each other again, however the United States could be the thorn for these two Goliath’s of sevens. England and South Africa are surely looking to continue their improvement. Along with Australia, Argentina and Samoa – who may be underdogs, but they will have huge support.
In the eyes of lead Sevens reporter Jovilis Waqa, the Spanish remain the dark horse; with South American team Chile out to test some of their emerging talent. France and Kenya can be lethal if they want to, as will the Scottish and Welsh men. That is the basic formula for success at the HSBC USA Sevens, but here is the Lowdown.
Watch out for the Filimoni Botitu/Aminiasi Tuimaba combination from Fiji. This could be the future combination for the Olympic champs. Also, watch the Kiwis breakdown work and, keep your eyes on the Spanish flair. Confidence is rising in Barcelona, and it could be a Magnífico on the Vegas strip!
Plenty to look forward to – maybe the last show in the Desert city – so a guarantee that they will give us the ‘best dam show’ of the season. Viva Las Vegas.
“Main photo credit”
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