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The USA did not move out of the relegation pool with their performance at the Hong Kong 7s this weekend.
In fact, they dropped down.
Going into the tournament, the USA men were 13th, but only a few points behind the likes of Scotland, Canada, Australia, England and Wales.
With the exception of Scotland, all of those teams finished higher than the USA, thus putting a little daylight between the Eagles and teams in the top 12.
Scotland finished tied for last, and so the USA is just a point behind them now.
However, Portugal made the Cup Quarterfinals, earning 10 points in the standings to the USA's 5, and those two teams are now tied.
This is significant because the top 12 core teams in the standings after the Glasgow 7s are guaranteed core status for 2013-2014. The teams ranked 13th-15th have to go into a special core qualifier with Hong Kong, Zimbabwe, Tonga, Georgia and Russia. That qualifier will be held during the London 7s in May, and the top three get core status for next season.
No one wants to have to qualify in a one-off tournament, and so it will come down to the next two tournaments, this coming weekend in Tokyo and then Glasgow May 4-5 for the teams under threat (Scotland, USA, Portugal, and Spain) to make a move.
Portugal already made their move, in Hong Kong, and their form is better of
late than that of the other three. Scotland has a history of changing their
lineup for their own tournament, bringing in pros who can bolster their
fortunes. That might not get them a tournament win, but it would be enough
to have them finish ahead of USA, Spain and Portugal.
So now, because they faltered against Hong Kong and didn't get a shot at beating England in the Bowl Final, the USA is up against it.