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Twickenham - Photo, Ian Muir

The USA Men’s Eagles Sevens finished in fifth place in the just concluded 2016/2917 HSBC World Rugby 7s championship. It represented the highest ranking ever for the team, and congratulations are due to Coach Mike Friday, his staff, and all the players who participated in the ten events.

South Africa were the winners this year, replacing Fiji as the top men’s squad in the world. The Blitzboks developed a well-rounded, unselfish team, where speedster Rosko Specman stood out among a talented side. Kudos to them for a sparkling performance.

A post-season analysis of the Eagles’ rise in the standings reveals that they were left behind because of one more try to make, or one more try to stop.

The key for all sides is to make the Cup final, which the USA succeeded in doing only once, with a disappointing loss to Canada. Further, in the bronze medal competition for third, the Eagles and New Zealand tied with four appearances each. And, the reason the All Blacks finished eight-points in front of the USA this season is due directly to their 3-1 bronze medal outcome versus a 1-3 result for the USA. Data follow:

Team              Points  Cup Finals     3rd Place Matches      Total Top Four of Ten         

South Afr.       192           8 (5-3)                    0                                    8

England           164           4 (2-2)                    3 (2-1)                         7

Fiji                       150           4 (1-3)                    1 (1-0)                         5

NZ                       137            0                             4 (3-1)                         4

USA                   129            1 (0-1)                  4 (1-3)                       5

Aust.`               113            0                             4 (1-3)                         4

Scotland          109            2 (1-1)                   2 (1-1)                         4

Canada              98             1 (1-0)                   2 (1-1)                         3

Clearly, South Africa’s ability to gain the Cup final in eight of the ten events, and winning five times generated the points needed to dominate the tournament from the first few matches, and to clinch the championship early in Paris, the ninth event on the circuit.

Next year, 2017/2018, will see a return to these same ten events, plus the Rugby World Cup Sevens in July in San Francisco.