Monday, July 12, 2010

IRB Rugby Sevens World Series - USA 2009

Since 2004, the USA has been host to one annual round of the IRB World Sevens. From 2004-2006 the event was staged at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles, California. In 2007 USA Rugby opted to shift the event further south to be held in San Diego, California because of higher temperatures which were reported to provide better conditions for the tournament. The city´s baseball stadium, PETCO Park, was selected as the venue and it hosted the USA round of the IRB World Sevens for the next three years (from 2007-2009). In searching for a place to attract more fans and help spread rugby further in the USA, the venue changed again in 2010 as the Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada was selected to host the event.

In the final event staged in San Diego in 2009 16 teams competed, including 5 from the Americas. It was a huge success for the region of the Americas with four of the five teams exceeding expectations. Canada finished in last place in their pool but went on to defeat both Mexico and Uruguay by 31-07 to win the Shield Final. Uruguay had earlier defeated Kenya 14-12 in the pool match and Japan 26-10 in the Shield semi-final. Mexico lost all of its matches but were in a strong pool alongside Argentina, Fiji and Wales. Hosts, the United States had a very strong tournament. In their first match they lost 15-14 vs South Africa but recovered to defeat Australia 17-12 and Canada 26-0 to qualify for the Cup quarter-finals-finals. The USA then defeated Kenya 14-07 to qualify for the semi final vs Argentina. Argentina won the tournament.

In the 2010 event, the Americas again had 5 teams but Chile and Guyana participated instead of Uruguay and Mexico. Guyana provided a massive suprize in drawing their match 12-12 vs France. Chile also performed well in defeating Japan 19-07 in the Shield quarter final. The big performance from the Americas, however, came from the United States who defeated Canada in pool play before knocking over Guyana, Argentina and France to win the Bowl Final. Following the victory, USA Sevens player, Kevin Swiryn, proposed to his girlfriend.

Without a doubt, the USA Sevens is an outstanding tournament and will only become more and more successful with time. It is another reminder of the need to have Rugby World Cup 2023 hosted in Argentina to represent the Americas.

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