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After six tournaments of the 2018/2019 HSBC World Rugby sevens circuit, the USA, surprisingly, sit atop the ladder with 113 points, derived from one win, four second place finishes, and a fourth last week in Vancouver.

No one anticipated at the start of the circuit in Dubai, that the Eagles would have accomplished this historic beginning, a skein of top four results unprecedented for the USA in all of the past sevens seasons. Kudos to coach Mike Friday and his staff. Kudos to the team. (Also kudos to Spain for their first ever win against New Zealand.)

After the injury to Perry Baker, there was anxiety that without the top try scorer’s game breaking runs, the USA – even with Carlin Isles – would not remain as competitive against the other sides. But Las Vegas proved this concern was unwarranted as the Eagles went 5- 1, culminating with an easy title win against a resurgent Samoa.

The New Zealand semi-final in Las Vegas was a thing of beauty, a total team effort that overcame a 12-0 deficit to notch a victory in the final twenty-seconds. (And, yes, the Eagles could have drop kicked for three points during the last minute of action.)

In Vancouver, the USA never looked as sharp or cohesive as in the other five prior events, ceding early tries to lowly opponents like Chile and Wales, and trailing England 19-0 at half time, only to pull off a gutsy second half comeback for the win. No such miracles in a disappointing loss to France, which advanced into the final for a rare chance at a gold medal.

It’s a month away to Hong Kong and Singapore, so the team cannot yet book a ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics where the first four finishers (Men and Women) this season will go in without qualifying rounds.

Standings to date:

USA – 113

NZ – 106

Fiji – 101

S. Africa – 89

Eng. – 80

Aust. – 65

Samoa – 59

Argent. – 56

Scot – 47

France – 44

Spain – 42

Cana. – 35

Wales – 18

Kenya – 18

Japan - 14