The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series rarely stops and after playing for the crowds at the USA leg in Los Angeles last weekend it is time for the teams to head north for their second consecutive weekend of games. This is the Canadian leg of the tour and it will be interesting to see who improves their performance from one week ago given the minimal turnaround time between venues and matches.
Here is a breakdown of the event by the odds of the teams winning their pool and at the potential overall winners.
South Africa moved within four points of New Zealand at the top of the HSBC Sevens World Series standings following their awesome and brave win over Fiji in the final in LA. This is a team that always performs well on these two legs of the tour and they are the favored team to win Pool A in Vancouver. They are priced at 0.30 ahead of a still disappointing England team at 4.50 with BetXChange.
Pool B is another with a heavy hitter in Fiji (0.20) and then a couple of teams that could cause an upset but who have been unable to put everything together this year in France (6.00) and host nation Canada (7.50). While the hometown crowd might be enough to see the Canadians rear up and knock off the French in this short format version of the game, it is hard to see the pool going to anyone other than Fiji as they look to make amends for their final defeat last time out.
Pool C is – by betting odds alone – seemingly the most locked-down of all the pools in Vancouver. New Zealand is monster favorites to put their Los Angeles woes behind them and advance in first-place as they attempt to grow their series lead. They can be had at the remarkably short odds of 0.12. Part of this is because the other teams in their pool just aren’t very good, with plucky Ireland (8.75) and the always entertaining – but often lacking in discipline – Kenya (12.25) expected to be run over by the pace and power of the New Zealand sevens’ side.
Pool D is the pool that is expected to be the closest in Canada. The USA (0.85) and Australia (1.00) can barely be split by the bookies, but both are far ahead of third option Samoa (20.00) in the betting stakes. The USA will be disappointed by their fifth-placed finish on home soil as they beat Ireland to at least end on a winning note. Australia placed fourth, losing in the Bronze Final to New Zealand by two points after a solid overall tournament.
Fiji is the favorites to win this leg of the series at odds of 2.35 with BetXChange. This is because they basically had the final won in LA before the Blitzboks came back. South Africa are the second favorites at 3.00 with New Zealand in third at 3.85. New Zealand is the pick here as they have a much easier route through pool play than the other two teams and they also don’t have the elation or disappointment factors from the LA leg clouding their play.