Civil war is about to erupt in Australian rugby, with the Melbourne Rebels to sue Rugby Australia as the embattled Super Rugby franchise fights…
Going into the last tournament, in Los Angeles, the World Rugby Sevens Series title is still on the line.
While South Africa are leading the standings and thus favourites (not to mention they just took Commonwealth Games gold), the top four all have a shot of taking out the title.
Going into LA, South Africa lead with 124 points, next is Australia on 122, with Argentina on 118 and Fiji on 104.
There were nine tournaments but because of COVID and some countries being unable to travel early, the title winner is based on a country’s best seven results over the year.
Without having done all the calculations, Australia just need to aim to win in LA and see how the cards fall. The main card to fall needs to be South Africa. So a bit of luck would be handy.
The Aussies will be disappointed after the Commonwealth Games, missing out on a bronze medal to New Zealand, but they have to get back on the horse.
Whichever way you look at it, the men’s program has performed very well this season, winning the London World Series tournament just prior to the Commonwealth Games.
This tournament is also a great opportunity in the lead-up to the World Cup, which starts on 9 September in Cape Town. This World Cup sits perfectly on the spare weekend between the South Africa and All Blacks Tests – the only issue is that the time zones are not very conducive.
In LA, the core players of the squad are captain Nick Malouf, Maurice Longbottom, Henry Paterson, Josh Turner, Dietrich Roache and Henry Hutchinson, joined by Corey Toole, Stu Dunbar, Matt Gonzalez, Nathan Lawson and Ben Marr.
A couple of surprises have been added to the squad.
Billy Meakes has been seen on Instagram training with the squad . Obviously he is heading back to LA, where he plays with the LA Giltinis in the MLR. He did play in the first two tournaments of the World Series in Dubai.
The second player is James Turner, who had a run with the Waratahs early in the season and was part of the Oceania squad prior to the Commonwealth Games, playing pretty well.
In this day and age ‘cohesion’ is a go-to term, and this team has a fair bit of that magic dust of ‘cohesion’. There have been nine World Series tournaments and the Commonwealth Games. The team of 13 includes four players who have played in every tournament this series and the Comm Games. All up, eight of the players have played seven or more tournaments, with only three having played five or fewer tournaments.
In summary, they have played a lot of rugby together since the start of the World Series back in November.
So good luck and here’s hoping good cohesion brings the Aussies success in LA.
Australian Sevens Los Angeles Pool A Schedule
Sunday August 28
Australia vs Japan, 5:04am (AEST)
Australia vs Argentina, 8:15am (AEST)
Australia vs Spain, 12:03pm (AEST)