HSBC World Sevens Series: Las Vegas Preview



The Sevens circuit heads for the Americas this week where they will battle it out for the Vegas Sevens title.

The 2017/18 Sevens season is proving to be one of the tightest in recent memory with the opening four tournaments producing four different winners. The South Africans currently lead the series standings on 77 points. Neil Powell's men are eight points clear of second-placed New Zealand, while the Fijians are a further seven points behind the log-leaders.

Las Vegas Sevens 
Friday 2 March - Sunday 4 March
Sam Boyd Stadium 

To Win Tournament Outright
South Africa 9/10

New Zealand 3/1
Fiji 7/2
Australia 12/1
England 20/1
United States 33/1
The Contenders

South Africa
The Blitzboks will begin life without Super Rugby representatives Kwagga Smith and Seabelo Sentla, who have headed off to their respective franchises. The duo will be sorely missed by the current Series leaders, especially considering that both Rosco Speckman and Branco du Preez have been ruled out through injury.

The Blitzboks have a solid record out in Nevada, winning four of the last seven tournaments played in the State.

Player to Watch: Phillip Snyman
The veteran makes his return this week having overcome the hamstring injury that kept him out of the Hamilton tournament. Snyman's experience and physicality will be vital for a Blitzbok side who look somewhat green.

Fiji
The Fijians finally managed to bag a leg win as they took the title out in Hamilton. The men from the Pacific Islands looked a lot more composed out in New Zealand, cutting out rudimentary errors which had been so costly during the first three tournaments of the 2017/18 season.

Like the Blitzboks, the Flying Fijians also have a handy recent record out in the States as they have won three of the last four tournaments played in Vegas.

Player to Watch: Aroni Sau
The 27-year-old has enjoyed a fast start to the year bagging 18 tries in the opening three tournaments. He's one of Fiji's linebreak specialists and if he's given half an inch, he'll take a mile. Expect Sau to grab a boatload of five-pointers this weekend.

New Zealand
The Kiwis may not have been able to deliver out in Hamilton but they did still manage to pick up 15 vital Series points which have ensured that they remain in second-place on the World Series standings.

The New Zealanders don't have as healthy a record out in North America as the Blitzbok or Fijians, with the men from 'the land of the long white cloud' having only won two Vegas tournaments. They have been perpetual bridesmaids, however, finishing as tournament runners-up in 2004, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Player to Watch: Villomoni Koroi
The youngster looked slightly off the pace out in Hamilton and he'll want to make up for that with a big showing in Vegas. His mesmeric skill set and insane vision could make him the catalyst for the Kiwis here.

Dark Horse

United States
Okay, so I'm once again backing the States s the dark horse. The host team for this weekend have endured a patchy 2017/18 campaign which has seen them beat a few big guns and lose to a few minnows. If they can find some consistency in their game, then they may well cause an upset on home soil.

This weekend's hosts are yet to make a Cup final in Vegas but they have advanced to the semi-finals four occasions and have made the semi-finals for three years running. Perhaps this is the year they finally make the showpiece?

Player to Watch: Danny Barrett
Yes, speedsters Carlton Isles and Perry Baker grab the headlines but the heart and soul of this United States side is Danny Barrett. The powerful forward is a devastating runner who is capable of bouncing out of numerous tackles. If he's gets going this weekend, expect the partisan crowd to go into raptures.

Verdict: Fiji 7/2
I'm going to have a crack on the Fijians to claim back-to-back legs. They haven't been hit by Super Rugby call-ups and they really did look good in Hamilton.

I will also be having a very small strike on the United States as this is their home tournament. 


Written by Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets.net

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