There are only two series remaining in the 2018/2019 Rugby 7s season and London will be the host for this series. The season is basically down to just two teams with the USA and Fiji battling for the top spot. The USA are just ahead on 145 points and Fiji is right on their tail with 142. All of the action starts on Saturday night with the Pool games and the all-important final will take place in the early hours of Monday morning.
Pool A is headlined by South Africa after their stunning win in Singapore. They cruised through the Pool stages with an undefeated record, which included Fiji. Then in the final, they stormed home against Fiji to win 20-19. After winning 2 of the last 3 legs, South Africa should have no trouble in this Pool. Argentina is really their only competition but they struggled in the Pool stages during the Singapore series, despite a fairly easy draw. Canada hasn't shown much this season and Japan is making up the numbers.
South Africa WIN - No Value Bet
In Pool B, the matchup between Fiji and Samoa will be intriguing as well as the French. Fiji is just 3 points behind the USA in the standings so they're going to be a very dangerous side in London. They're also the defending champion here. Samoa and France can challenge Fiji if they're on the game. Samoa has played well in the last 4 series and France has finished runner-up in Vancouver and Hong Kong. But in the end, it's hard to back against Fiji topping this Pool.
Fiji WIN - No Value Bet
This Pool has the making of an upset result with the host nation paying very good value to win Pool C. They have finished in the top 4 in the last 2 series on home soil and they're coming off good form in Singapore with 3rd place. New Zealand hasn't finished in the top three in the last 3 series and they also have not placed in the last 2 series here. So England is worth a punt, especially with the motivation of finishing 4th in the season which would gain them automatic entry into the 2020 Olympics. There's also Scotland, who've won here in 2016 and 2017. However, their form at the moment doesn't suggest they can repeat in 2019.
With just 2 series remaining and 3 points separating the USA and Fiji in the standings, this is a massive leg for the USA. They'll be looking to finish first in this Pool and it's difficult to see that not happening. Australia will likely be their main challenger and the Aussies went undefeated in the Singapore Pool stages. Spain has dropped off after a good start to this season. Wales should enjoy some hometown support in London. Ulimately, the USA are the best team in Pool D and I can't see them dropping out of first place here.
USA WIN - No Value Bet
If the Pool stages go to plan, the Quarterfinals will likely look this way:
South Africa vs Australia
England vs Samoa
USA vs Argentina
Fiji vs New Zealand
A potential matchup between South Africa and England will be an intriguing game to watch. South Africa is finishing off the season with a bang and England are going to be a hard team to play as the host nation. Meanwhile, the USA and Fiji will likely not meet in the final but potentially in a crucial Semifinal. So I believe the winner of the USA and Fiji matchup should win this series. Fiji will be hurting after conceding a large lead in the Singapore Cup final so with extra motivation to beat the USA in the standings, they look the best bet to win in London. There’s also the fact they won in 2018 with a 21-17 victory over South Africa. For a value bet, England are definitely worth backing to make the final if they don’t have to play Fiji or the USA in the final stages.
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