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The 2015/2016 HSBC World Rugby 7s tournament ended last weekend in London with Scotland the unexpected winner, marking the first time the Scots have ever won on the circuit. The victory capped the last three event surprises with Kenya winning in Singapore (first ever win), Samoa’s comeback win in Paris over Fiji, and, finally, Scotland defeating South Africa at Twickenham.
A few squads – namely, France – opted to keep some of their better players safe and sound for the August Olympics in Rio. One remaining Men’s spot will be decided June 18 and 19 in Monaco when 16-nations compete in the repechage for the last placement. Samoa, Tonga, Canada, Spain, and Russia have the best chances. (See updated article on the draw.)
The USA finished sixth overall equaling their record setting ranking from last year with a minor reduction in points per game of 11.7 versus 12.0. (N.B. nine events were played in 2014/2015 while ten comprised this season’s total.)
The top three positions this season remained unchanged: (1) Fiji, (2) South Africa, and (3) New Zealand. England were the team that suffered the steepest decline, dropping from fourth to eighth with significant average points per contest reduction of 9.2, down from 14.7.
Argentina and Kenya made substantial gains, Los Pumas rising from eighth to fifth, and Kenya going from thirteenth to seventh.
Comparative average points per game data for the two seasons follow:
Team 2014/2015 2015/2016 +/-
- Fiji 18.2 18.1 -.1
- S.Africa 17.1 17.1 -
- NZ 16.9 15.8 -1.1
- Australia 13.3 13.4 + .1
- Argentina 8.9 11.9 +3.0
- USA 12.0 11.7 -.3
- Kenya 5.1 9.8 +4.7
- England 14.7 9.2 -5.5
- Samoa 7.1 8.9 +2.8
- Scotland 9.9 8.7 -1.2
- France 6.8 8.5 +1.7
- Wales 6.4 5.4 -1.0
- Canada 7.4 4.0 -3..4
- Russia 2.8
Portugal were relegated for next season to be replaced by Japan. The circuit will miss the lanky winger Estevez who ran in and over opponents.
Final note, this season registered record attendance for the circuit, another positive sign of the increasing global popularity of rugby sevens.