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We are down to the wire for most regions in the club 7s season. By the end of the day on Saturday, all but two seeds to the men’s national championships will be decided (the Northeast takes an extra week).
But not everyone has the same chance of making it. At RUGBYMag.com we have narrowed down the choices. By our calculations, one team has clinched qualification, and we think 20 other teams are in with an “Excellent Chance” of qualifying also. A further 11 teams have an outside chance, one we call a “Realistic Chance” should someone at the top falter.
With the Titans of Hawaii already in, there are 15 spots for those 31 teams. Here’s how it shakes out.
There are two tournaments left, and so someone like Morris or, on the outside, Boston, could make a late run. But, it is highly unlikely that Old Blue or Middlesex will tank so badly that one of the lower-downs could catch them.
Old Blue has not clinched, but will if they have a good Princeton 7s in a week. Currently they have 76 points in the Northeast Series, 10 points (the difference between 1st and 4th in one tournament) ahead of Middlesex.
Long Island is right behind Middlesex, and they could get the 2nd seed, but Old Blue is well ahead of everyone else.
Excellent Chance to play at nationals: Old Blue, Middlesex, Long
Realistic Chance: Morris
Well six teams qualify for the territorial finals, and those six appear to be Schuylkill River (the series points leader despite not winning a tournament), NOVA, Rocky Gorge, Raleigh, Norfolk and Maryland Exiles.
Despite finishing in the top six, Pittsburgh is likely dropped out because Raleigh (ranked 7th) won a tournament, giving them an automatic bid.
All of the teams participating are in with a shot, and with three different teams - NOVA, Rocky Gorge, and Raleigh - winning tournaments, and Schuylkill River playing well also, it's up in the air.
Excellent Chance: Schuylkill River, NOVA
Realistic Chance: Rocky Gorge, Raleigh, Norfolk, Maryland
We have not had any qualifiers in the South, so it all depends on who is playing.
Excellent Chance: Daytona Beach, New Orleans, Atlanta Old White
The Chicago Lions have won every tournament, but lost points due to a paperwork issue. If they follow form, they should win the Midwest, but it will be close. The Milwaukee Barbarians and 1823 are just a point or two away. If Chicago flubs a semifinal match, that might be enough to see them lose out.
Excellent Chance: Chicago Lions, Milwaukee Barbarians, 1823
Realistic Chance: No one else.
Kansas City and Woodlands Exiles have not clinched a seed, but they are very close. They are tied for the lead in the West with 8 points each.
Only Glendale and Denver can catch them, and they will need to win in Denver, and make sure one of those teams finishes 4th or worse.
Excellent Chance: Kansas City, WE
Realistic Chance: Glendale, Denver
Titans have already qualified.
We know the eight teams set to play in the Pacific Coast playoffs, but judging by form, it's hard to see most of them make it to the final.
Excellent Chance: SFGG, Seattle-OPSB, Olympic Club
Realistic Chance: Sacramento Lions
One more tournament, and it's down to four teams to get one of three seeds to the National Championships.
It's a good thing that this very strong region gets one more seed than everyone else (thanks to Belmont Shore having won the national title in 2012), but there will be a talented team that stays home.
Belmont Shore hosts the last tournament and leads the series. It's hard to imagine that Shore, which has finished 1st, 2nd and 2nd in the other three events, will drop down so far as to allow three teams to pass them. In fact, they would have to finish 7th or worse.
The San Diego Old Aztecs are more vulnerable. If they slip to 5th they could be bypassed.
For OMBAC and Santa Monica, it's much simpler - finish better than the
other and you're in.
Really Excellent Chance: Belmont Shore
Excellent Chance: SD Old Aztecs, Santa Monica, OMBAC