The 2018 HSBC World Sevens Series is going to be one for the record books as a staggering start to the season is continuing with five different winners now taking the title at the five legs so far.
Viva Las Vegas
Vegas is the perfect place for the big shows, and it could not have been a bigger headline act than for the USA to win with a thrilling display.
It is a pleasure to see Mike Friday, the ex-England Sevens coach, manage to release the potential of these incredible athletes, especially Perry Baker who continues to redefine playing capabilities.
They are a team full of a wonderful playing and cultural diversity, and this is always something that should be championed.
Mike was my first coach for England and uses his experienced coaching style to comprehensively improve individual skills, playing styles but most importantly entrusts players to own their environment. The end result was for all to see in Vegas.
It’s now onto Canada to take the baton and put on a celebration of rugby in a place that was a firm favourite last season.
It will be only the third time BC Place has hosted the HSBC World Sevens Series but the spectacle has already got itself a wonderful reputation for a crowd that fully absorbs themselves into the action.
Crowds of 75,000 over the two days are expected and that is a testament to the impact rugby is having in Canada. Having had Argentina and USA fight out the final in Vegas, it’s clearly a good time for the Americas.
To go from the dry desert and bright lights to the city with the mountains on the doorstep freshens the body and mind, which the players will most certainly need after a brutal three day campaign.
The physicality once again was prominent and the resilience of the players and squads is a major factor for continuing success.
The teams are collectively reducing their activity this week in order to come out flying, and with the fast artificial pitch waiting for them under the roof, there will be little excuse to see some speed and skills on show.
The crowd’s significant noise resounds throughout the arena and the passion of the people creates motivation for all of the teams that comes through with energy on the screen.
The Canadians will be aware that both Australia and the USA have taken a rare and inaugural victory at home, so will be both using that to give hope - but it also comes with a degree of pressure.
The USA team are in their pool and now that they have entered the winners enclosure this season, much more will be expected of their consistency.
Argentina showed enough last week to perhaps be the sixth consecutive different winner, and significant injuries to South Africa and New Zealand will increase other teams chances.
Home Nations heartache
Once again Wales and Scotland found themselves in the lower tiers of their Pool and England crashed out to the eventual winners, USA, in their Cup quarter final.
Nevertheless, the competitiveness of the series suggests that they will all be back this weekend with a chance of taking their success further. However, with an eye now creeping toward the Commonwealth Games in a months time, form becomes even more of a factor.
England won this very event last year with a compelling performance throughout, which if repeated should rekindle their season aspirations.