RUGBY Preview: Men’s Seven Series lands in New Zealand

Madison Hughes of the U.S. Eagles

The third leg of the 10-stop men’s World Rugby Sevens Series takes places in Hamilton (NZL) this weekend, with the home team currently second in the standings behind the surprising United States Eagles.

What? The Eagles in first?

Yes, after two straight second-place finishes, to New Zealand and Fiji in Dubai (UAE) and Cape Town (RSA), respectively. The highest the U.S. ha ever finished is fifth – in 2016-17 – but this is a promising start.

In the meantime, Fiji stands third with 35 points and England is fourth with 30. And there are eight legs to go. The pools for Hamilton:

Pool A: Australia, Fiji, Wales, Argentina
Pool B: United States, Samoa, England, Tonga
Pool C: South Africa, Scotland, France, Kenya
Pool D: New Zealand, Spain, Canada, Japan

One of the secrets of the U.S. success has been its balanced scoring. Sure, Perry Baker is still there, but he’s only fourth on the team in points after two rounds as others are taking up the load. Madison Hughes is fourth overall in points with 72 and leads the U.S., followed by Stephen Tomasin with 67 (seventh overall), then Carlin Isles (50 for 14th) and then Baker with 45 points for 21st overall.

The overall scoring leaders are Andrew Knewstubb (NZL) with an even 100 after two rounds, ahead of John Porch (AUS) with 98.

From a team perspective, Fiji leads all teams with 441 points, but the U.S. is second with 371, well ahead of Australia (322), Samoa (317) and New Zealand (302).

Look for scores here.