Sevens RWC- a look at who is in with a chance
With a lot at stake, a lot is thrown at it to succeed. For the different teams at this event, they have all had unique preparations, secret meetings, grueling trainings, prayer sessions, strict diets and truckloads of advice thrown their way to have got this far. Rugby like any sport is about out smarting your opponents, at times this cunningness turns to sheer brutalness and you simply run over them to get the try. At this level though the A grade teams will soak up your brute and leave you on the turf with ease, using the heavier mans weight against himself and a dash of technique sees these guys tackle just about anything. The exception to the rule is a few, like Victor Vito & Ofisa Treviranus, these men sniff the try line and usually head in the straightest direction to get there, at times this is over another man.
Modern day Sevens body make up is quite different to 15s; a lot of these men are a tad smaller in overall size. They are build for quick fire take off & rapid play, not the muscle and grind of 80 minutes kinda guys. In general the Sevens men are shorter, quite a medium to stocky build is the norm, they have a great centre of gravity balance and when hit in the tackle have an ability to re straighten themselves in mid air, this allows an un load pass, set themselves up to protect the ball in the tackle, or bounce out of the tackle & keep on running.
Now this is about to dive into drastic generalization, but it is a quick fire guide to how a few teams play the game & who has a genuine chance at this title in Dubai. In no particular order we will have a look at the Oceania teams aiming for the World Cup.
These guys are quite young and look very smooth and sharp as a unit, they have a lot of pace, not Usain Bolt style, but enough to cause teams trouble. Their build is on the very athletic side, their bodies are very muscular and they for sure know how to run with a ball. They will rely a lot on luck to progress in this tournament, with a few big hits connecting they have the potential to rattle a team and sneak a win. They play NZ in pool play and last year in Adelaide they got so close to tipping DJ and his army. If momentum flows there way Tonga could sneak into the quarters.
Of late they have been a bit sleepy, however like a bear out of hibernation these men more than anyone on these rugby grounds are made for impact. They bulge out of their blue jerseys and the arms & legs of steel make for serious trouble in the tackle department. With Uale Mai directing play, some patience and trust in their ability Samoa will be very very dangerous. They should breeze through pool play and 14 minutes of true Samoan style in the quarters will see them progress.
Australian Womans team;
These amazing ladies are all class. They are made up of a lot of touch rugby exponents that have been lured to the game of tackling too; they have adapted quickly and tackle like demons. They play a brand of control lead tremendously by Chez Soon their experienced captain. Their angles and use of the width of the field show they know how to play at the elite level. They have beaten NZ the current World Champs twice in the last year and are here to lift a trophy.
Well well well this team is strong, under the guidance of the greatest ever coach in Sevens history they play as a pack and have every department in the game covered. Strength oozes through this side and from IRB player of the year-DJ Forbes out they have options galore. Pace, grunt, brains, moves, kickers & strong runners like Victor Vito have this team primed to finals contention. Their best overall key though is Tomasi Cama, he mopes up so much in cover defence, he kicks conversions & with the ball in hand he creates holes.
This team has a blend of old and new, they are current World champions in 15s and Sevens and this sees them command respect. This confidence has been dented by their Tasman rivals Australia, but in dishing NZ 2 defeats the Ozzie girls have also delivered a reality tablet to NZ well and truly letting them know they are in fact beatable. Suasua their coach will be happy this beating was delivered early and not in the World cup, he and his ladies will have hurt in the lose, but have grown and in Dubai they will be tough to beat.
Australians in general are great athletes, they have so many variations of rugby and rugby type sports and they are good at them, but they are spread wide. Guided by an ex league man, they are a team that will follow a game plan with military execution. They tackle well, have some fleet footed players and will be strong, but maybe not quite strong enough. If the plan is solid, they will do well.
Called the flying Fijians they have not been doing much of that of late, their game has been building well and some new talent has been found and tested in Wellington & San Diego- in particular a young man called Peni Rokodiva, with calf muscles the size of a head he is built for speeeeeeed. Incoming giant locally known as "The man mountain" Semisi Naevo and European super star Nalaga mean they are potent. Many people think Fiji is done and dusted, on the pristine fields of Dubai I predict these men to again fly high.