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The next HSBC sevens tournament is in Wellington, NZ, February 7 and 8, a venue made more dramatic for the host nation, which finished a disappointing 5th, 4th, and runner-up in the first three series events. The All Blacks, surprisingly, have no wins this year, and were beaten convincingly in the last final by South Africa, a team that also defeated them for the championship of the Commonwealth Games of 2014.
American eyes will be riveted on the Eagles, currently ninth in the standings with 26 points. Upon examining the tournament schedule, Japan (15) and France (13) are in the USA’s Pool along with South Africa, the current leaders.
Alex Magelby cautioned Eagles’ fans not to be over confident because of what seems to represent a good draw for the US. He said, “Remember, France beat us 24-15 in Dubai, and, last tournament, the Japanese upset Samoa.”
The Eagles would need wins against France and Japan to advance into the Cup competition, and a chance for the higher points totals that come from the first four placements (i.e.; 22, 19, 17 and 15).
Magelby is impressed with the Springboks play so far, a sevens side that he asserted, “Play with speed and determination. They have the ability to go vertical and they’ve trained hard to play 14-minutes each game, every game.”
The week after Wellington it’s the USA Sevens in Las Vegas, a tournament that shapes up to be the most attended sevens event ever, and also one that will exceed total Las Vegas Invitational (LVI) team participation. The action commences Friday, February 13 for the three-day, NBC televised event.