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Old 07-09-2021, 06:01 PM   #1
GoldenBears
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Olympics Rugby 7s

Olympic rugby is back for its second (modern) iteration.

For those of you who have never watched sevens rugby, please do yourselves a favor and turn in. It's non stop speed and highlights. Matches only last about 15 minutes and come at you one after another.

The games themselves are outrageously fun. It's organized around a series of international tournaments where all the teams will show up to one location, bang out a tournament in 3 or 4 days and move on to the next location. At any given time, 80% of the fans in the stadium are impartial, so they just party, while the 20% whose teams are playing go bonkers. People often wear costumes and join allegiances with whoever seems to have the funnest fans. (In the ones I've attended, Kenya and Ireland have been amazing in this regard)


Both the Men's and Women's tournaments feature 12 teams organized into three pools of four teams. The top two teams from each pool will advance as well as two of the three #3 teams. Ironically, this makes pool difficulty less a function of how good the best team in your pool is, but how weak the fourth team is.

The Men's pools are as follows:

Pool A:
New Zealand +275
Australia +1500
Argentina +4800
South Korea +50000

Pool B
Fiji +300
GB +1200
Canada +10000
Japan +25000

Pool C
South Africa +345
USA +850
Ireland +6600
Kenya +10000


Women's:
Pool A
New Zealand -250
GB +1800
Russia +4000
Kenya +50000

Pool B
France +1400
Canada +1100
Fiji +10000
Brazil +50000

Pool C
Australia +700
USA +1200
China +25000
Japan +15000


My take as a casual fan:
Should be pretty chaotic since the HSBC series got cut short last march due to Covid. As far as I can tell, there have been five or so mini-tournaments in the last month for qualifying and/or warmups.

Men:
New Zealand and Fiji are obviously the favorites, and Fiji swept the Oceania warmup 6-0, beating NZ, Aus and Oceania twice each.

As far as I can tell, South Africa hasn't played in a year?

USA was #2 in 2019, but took a big step back in 2020, but I didn't follow closely enough to know why. I think Perry Baker was hurt for a while, but sounds like he's back now. Between him and Carlin Isles, the US is always the most fun/explosive team to watch. They also seem to have performed quite poorly in the warmups, while Argentina and Ireland seem to be in good form.

Pool C seems pretty rough, as all four of those teams are pretty good. Japan and South Korea are the obvious weak links, which bodes well for Argentina and Canada - even if they go 0-2 against the powers in their group, they can beat Japan/SK by 40 and assure themselves a slot in the final 8.



Women:
NZ women have historically won almost everything, and also swept the Oceania warm up. I think the USA women should have as good a shot at it as anyone.

Australia surprisingly dropped a game to Fiji in the warmup, and USA/Canada/France seem to have traded a few wins back and forth, so it's unclear who the 2nd best team is. Should be pretty open behind the Kiwis.
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Old 07-10-2021, 11:16 AM   #2
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Re: Olympics Rugby 7s

I love 7s! I was at Vegas '19. Great experience. Thanks for the write up.

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Old 07-10-2021, 04:25 PM   #3
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Re: Olympics Rugby 7s

I haven't followed 7s in forever but how the hell are USA shorter odds than GB and Australia? When did they get good?
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Old 07-11-2021, 07:25 AM   #4
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Re: Olympics Rugby 7s

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Originally Posted by abysmal01 View Post
I haven't followed 7s in forever but how the hell are USA shorter odds than GB and Australia? When did they get good?
Probably a function of them playing more sevens than we do
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Old 07-11-2021, 10:13 AM   #5
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Re: Olympics Rugby 7s

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Originally Posted by abysmal01 View Post
I haven't followed 7s in forever but how the hell are USA shorter odds than GB and Australia? When did they get good?
They've been good for quite a few years.
I'm not familiar with their squad at the moment, but they have always liked to have a genuine sprinter in their side who can run in a try from anywhere. Nathan Isles was something special to watch.
The traditional nations spent a lot of time just filling their squads with players who didn't make is at 15s and 7s was just a sideshow.
England had a good run when they chose 7s specialists like Fiji did for so many years.
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Old 07-11-2021, 12:19 PM   #6
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Re: Olympics Rugby 7s

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Originally Posted by abysmal01 View Post
I haven't followed 7s in forever but how the hell are USA shorter odds than GB and Australia? When did they get good?
They were actually #2 in the 2019 sevens series with 1 1st, 4 2nds and 2 3rds in 10 events.

They slipped back down in 2020 though.

US basically has Carlin Isles who is the fastest man in rugby by far, Perry Baker who isn't quite as fast but is thicker, a better defender and more skilled, and Danny Barrett who is a pretty good forward. The guys in between are all athletic and decent, but skill-wise a big step below the elite countries.
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Old 07-13-2021, 12:24 PM   #7
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Re: Olympics Rugby 7s

They posted the schedule here

Looks like there are two blocks very day, 9am-noon local and 4:30 to 7:30 local

As an east coaster, that means the first block is 8pm-11pm the day before for me, and then 3:30am-6:30am day of. So I'll get to see half of it live, including 2 of the 3 USA matches. Not bad. West coasters should be able to see almost all of it if they want.

Wish they just went from 8pm-2am every day, that would have been amazing
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Old 07-13-2021, 03:05 PM   #8
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Re: Olympics Rugby 7s

I think Fiji should be the favourites for the men especially with Radradra joining the team and the Black Ferns should win the women’s gold, that team is stacked
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Old 07-13-2021, 07:33 PM   #9
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Re: Olympics Rugby 7s

If NZ women are so loaded why are they only -330 to gold? Lack of depth? Too reliant on a single star?
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Old 07-13-2021, 09:52 PM   #10
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Re: Olympics Rugby 7s

Vamos Brassssssiiiiiiiilllllllllllllll.
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Old 07-14-2021, 10:13 AM   #11
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Re: Olympics Rugby 7s

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Originally Posted by abysmal01 View Post
I haven't followed 7s in forever but how the hell are USA shorter odds than GB and Australia? When did they get good?
To be good in 7s requires many fewer top players than to be good in rugby. US of course has a few outlier good players.
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Old 07-15-2021, 11:21 AM   #12
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Re: Olympics Rugby 7s

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Originally Posted by loosekanen View Post
If NZ women are so loaded why are they only -330 to gold? Lack of depth? Too reliant on a single star?
lotta variance in 7s in general, and then I think basically not playing for a year jacks up the variance even more. Although you'd think it probably hurts countries where rugby is less popular (Canada, USA, to some extent every country but NZ) where it's harder (especially for women) to consistently find good training matches / opportunities than it would NZ. I am sure the NZ women can go out and play rugby whenever they want locally, whereas a random US woman national team member from like Tampa Bay during lockdown or something and is gonna have a hard time finding 5 people who know what a rugby ball is.

Also, they're more like -230 than -330


And then yeah, athleticism is comparatively much more important than skill relative to 15s, so a team with better but less experienced athletes (i.e. always the USA) can catch up to highly skilled teams much more quickly
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Old 07-23-2021, 11:04 AM   #13
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Re: Olympics Rugby 7s

Russian women to medal at +1400 is printing.

They're about 40/60 with GB

2 of the 3 third place finishers will advance. Very likely China/Japan don't advance, so Russia has to be like > 85% to advance.

If they advance, they will not play NZ in the first round since same pool in pool play so that means they play france/canada/USA/Aus. They'll probably be 70/30 dogs in that one, but if they win they're in the final 4 and so they medal unless they go lose/lose

They would have to be like 87/13 dogs in both those games to break even
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