July 20-22, 2018 – AT&T Park, San Francisco
OUR attention turns to the west coast of the United States this weekend for the seventh edition of the Rugby World Cup Sevens.
San Francisco’s AT&T Park will host a whopping 84 games – 52 in the men’s tournament, 32 in the women’s – over three action-packed days.
Let’s look at the tournament format and the title betting for the men, with top odds from our friends at 5Dimes.
2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens odds
+100 – Fiji
+200 – South Africa
+600 – New Zealand
+800 – United States
+1800 – England
+2200 – Australia
+3300 – Argentina
+5000 – Kenya
+6600 – Scotland
+8000 – Samoa
+10000 – France, Ireland
+12500 – Canada
+15000 – Wales
+25000 – Japan
+50000 – Chile, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Tonga, Uganda, Uruguay, Zimbabwe
See more odds at 5Dimes
Top teams and best bets
All teams at the Rugby Sevens World Cup are seeded according to their international ranking, with the top eight earning direct passage to the first round of the Championship Cup draw. How will the big boys fare in California?
South Africa – The top seeds could have a tricky test in the round of 16 if Ireland get through as expected, but from there the draw opens up nicely. If things go to script, the Springboks will face either Scotland or Kenya in the quarters and most likely England or the USA in the semis. Back them to reach the final, at least.
Fiji – A friendly draw means the Fijians are very well liked to claim their third Rugby Sevens World Cup title. Neither Japan nor Uruguay should pose any threat in the round of 16, while one of Australia and New Zealand is destined to go out early on that side of the bracket. Expect fireworks if they face the Kiwis in the semis.
New Zealand – Russia or Hong Kong in the first round should be a non-event for the defending champions, but that’s where the free ride comes to a grinding halt. A trans-Tasman tussle with Australia looms in the quarters, with two-time winners Fiji lurking in the final four. Nevertheless, +600 title odds is not bad value.
England – A treacherous path lies before the last of this year’s big four. All signs point to a first-up clash with a menacing and mercurial Samoa side that can hang with the best of them on their day. If they survive that, the Brits will almost certainly run into the hosts in the quarters. Football still ain’t coming home.
United States – Can the USA capitalise on home advantage and make a deep run in San Francisco? A bracket that throws up potential clashes with England and South Africa is not ideal, but the hosts should take inspiration from Russia’s impressive run to the quarters of the FIFA World Cup. A spot in the semis is well worth a bet.
Australia – The Aussies will be eager to prove their worth after a few years away from the elite bracket of international rugby sevens. It won’t be easy, however, as it looks as though they will have to beat France, New Zealand and Fiji to reach the final. Ouch.
Argentina – The draw has not been especially kind to the 2009 RWC Sevens finalists. Should they make it past either Canada or PNG in the round of 16, they will have to beat tournament favourites Fiji and one of Australia and New Zealand to reach the decider. Not gonna happen.
Scotland – As the weakest of the top eight teams, Scotland have the toughest task in the round of 16. In fact, many bookies have Kenya – who should deal with Tonga in the qualifiers – at significantly shorter odds in title betting. If the Scots clear that hurdle, they run straight into South Africa.
RWC Sevens rounds and fixtures
The men’s event at the Rugby World Cup Sevens features 24 teams divided into two groups. The 16 lowest-ranked sides compete in a seeded qualifying round, with the winners going into the Championship Cup main draw and the losers playing off for the minor trophies. The top eight teams face the successful qualifiers in the main draw.
Q1 – Kenya vs. Tonga
Q2 – Canada vs. Papua New Guinea
Q3 – France vs. Jamaica
Q4 – Wales vs. Zimbabwe
Q5 – Samoa vs. Uganda
Q6 – Russia vs. Hong Kong
Q7 – Japan vs. Uruguay
Q8 – Ireland vs. Chile
Round of 16
R1 – South Africa vs. Q8 winner
R2 – Scotland vs. Q1 winner
R3 – England vs. Q5 winner
R4 – United States vs. Q4 winner
R5 – Fiji vs. Q7 winner
R6 – Argentina vs. Q2 winner
R7 – New Zealand vs. Q6 winner
R8 – Australia vs. Q3 winner
QF1 – R1 winner vs. R2 winner
QF2 – R3 winner vs. R4 winner
QF3 – R5 winner vs. R6 winner
QF4 – R7 winner vs. R8 winner
SF1 – QF1 winner vs. QF2 winner
SF2 – QF3 winner vs. QF4 winner
Final – SF1 winner vs. SF2 winner
Bronze Playoff – SF1 loser vs. SF2 loser
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