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This year’s National Club 7s Championships is more lopsided than many, with Pool A containing four teams that not only could be considered contenders to win their pool, but four teams good enough to win it all.
Chicago Lions were clearly Midwest champions. Utah Warriors were brilliant in their winning of the Pacific Coast. San Francisco Golden Gate defeated defending national champions Old Puget Sound to make nationals, and while they lost to Utah in the Pac Coast final, were without a couple of key players in that game. And Glendale slipped up due in part to a couple of injuries, but throughout this summer have been one of the most dangerous clubs in the country.
It’s a really close pool, but more than that, there’s no whipping boy. All four are good enough to win, whereas it seems other years the toughest pool has a team you know will be 0-3.
It got us to thinking, what about previous Pools of Death? How have teams faired?
Have a look:
2010 Pool of Death
Belmont Shore, Provo Humless, NOVA, Dallas Harlequins.
The Harlequins were expected to be the doormats in this pool and while they were competitive, they ended up 0-3 and then lost in the Bowl Quarterfinals.
The other three teams finished 2-1, with points difference shunting Provo
Humless to the Bowl Round, where they won all three matches and took the
Bowl. NOVA won the Plate, and Belmont Shore lost in the final. Those top
three teams ended up 13-5.
2009 Pool of Death
NOVA, SFGG, Chicago Lions, Glendale
Glendale was not considered strong this year and finished 0-3, losing in the Bowl Quarterfinals. The other three finished 2-1, with NOVA losing out on points difference. NOVA went on to win the Bowl, SFGG won the Plate, and Chicago finished third.
Combined, the top three teams in the pool ended up 13-5.
2008 Pool of Death
NOVA, Mission, Boston, SFGG
This pool ran the normal stratification of 3-0, 2-1, 1-2, 0-3. Mission finished last and lost in the Bowl Quarterfinals. SFGG was 1-2 and went on to win the Bowl. Boston was 201 and ended up losing their next three to finish 8th. NOVA won the pool, and then finished third.
2007 Pool of Death
Denver Barbarians, Chicago Lions, Old Blue, PAC
PAC was 0-3 and Old Blue was 1-2 and both lost in the Bowl Quarterfinals, perhaps showing that this wasn’t such a tough pool. Chicago and Denver tied in their game, and in the knockout rounds Chicago won the title, while Denver finished third.
2006 Pool of Death
Olympic Club, Coralville, Daytona, Maryland
Coralville were Midwest champions but finished 0-3 before making the Bowl Final, where they lost to …. Olympic Club, who were 1-1-1 in Pool Play and then ran the table to take the Bowl. Daytona were 2-0-1 and won the pool, but faded badly and finished 8th. Maryland were 4th.
So what this tells us is the winner of the Pool of Death might be good enough to win the title, but it’s no guarantee. The top finishes in the last five years have been 4th, 1st, 3rd, 3rd, 2nd. But what you can expect is that the third-place team is likely to be the best third-place team in the tournament. That is why you need consolation trophies in this event. In the last five years, the Bowl Winner has come from the toughest pool four times, and the Plate winner twice.