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Perry Baker

In yesterday’s Part I examination of the past three-years of the HSBC World Rugby Men’s and Women’s Sevens Series, the key word for the top sides was consistency. A more specific probing indicates that this consistency translated into making frequently the semi-final round of four, thereby being able to score more points from higher tournament placements.

USA Men’s Results

An analysis of the thirty matches over the three-year period indicates that the Eagles Sevens made the final four semis only 11 occasions, or 37-percent of tournaments. The data also reveal that the USA participated in nine matches for third place, losing six of them, and missing the greater points for a bronze medal finish.

More dramatically, when the USA lost in the quarter-finals and then played for fifth/sixth place, it went 1-8 in a poor showing.

Data follow (30 matches)

Placement position in left column:

  1. 1
  2. 1
  3. 3
  4. 6
  5. 1
  6. 8
  7. 3
  8. 3
  9. 1
  10. 2
  11. 0
  12. 0
  13. 1

Overall, when the Eagles played for third or fifth, they were 4-14, winning only 22-percent of these crucial games. Only by improving on this statistic can the USA climb out of sixth place in the standings.

USA Women’s Results

The USA Women experienced a different point-generating problem in a 12-team field. With three-pools sending eight teams into the quarters, the Eagles managed five top results in the past 16-event totals, or 31-percent. They were 1-2 when playing for the bronze.

However, the Women’s Series invariably presents the scenario of Australia and New Zealand going 3-0, and either Canada or France also winning all three games. This result reserved the first three placements in the quarter-finals for the three unbeaten teams Then, the USA usually ended 2-1, also Canada or France with a 2-1 finish. The set up for the next round looked like this:

  1. Australia/New Zealand versus Eighth Place team
  2. New Zealand/Australia versus Seventh Place team
  3. Canada/France versus Sixth Place team
  4. France/Canada versus USA (Fifth)

Even if the Eagles finished pool play in fourth place at 2-1 with a higher point differential, they probably met Canada or France in the first game of the quarter-finals. Both opponents have finished consistently higher than the Eagles in the past three-years. When the USA failed to advance into the semis, they were 2-3 in the fifth-place match.

Data follow (16 matches)

Placement position in left column:

  1. 0
  2. 2
  3. 1
  4. 2
  5. 2
  6. 3
  7. 2
  8. 1
  9. 1
  10. 2

The USA Women must find a winning strategy against Canada or France to advance into the semi-final rounds.