Bolter plays predictor.... Right so sitting in my Port Elizabeth hotel room I thought I would take the opportunity to play predictor for this weekends World Series leg in South Africa. With a Power Rankings feature to come next week I thought it would be fun to take an absolute punt on results for this weekend and then give you the opportunity to let me know your thoughts in the comments section below and who you think will take the title this weekend at Nelson Mandela Bay 7s. Pool A : 1st - South Africa, 2nd - Samoa, 3rd - France, 4th - Australia I am giving the Blitzbokke the benefit of the doubt here and assuming they return to the form of Gold Coast rather than last weekend in Dubai. Captained by Frankie Horne and welcoming back Cecil Afrika I see them turning over Samoa and running the schedule. Samoa were awesome on Day 2 last week and they will be too strong for a fortunate French side and a poor Australian side that are struggling at this level. The big game of course is between the Islanders and the Boks. I am going with home advantage in front of a crazy PE crowd to carry the South Africa unbeaten into the Cup Quarters
Bolter plays predictor....
Right so sitting in my Port Elizabeth hotel room I thought I would take the opportunity to play predictor for this weekends World Series leg in South Africa. With a Power Rankings feature to come next week I thought it would be fun to take an absolute punt on results for this weekend and then give you the opportunity to let me know your thoughts in the comments section below and who you think will take the title this weekend at Nelson Mandela Bay 7s.
Pool A : 1st - South Africa, 2nd - Samoa, 3rd - France, 4th - Australia
I am giving the Blitzbokke the benefit of the doubt here and assuming they return to the form of Gold Coast rather than last weekend in Dubai. Captained by Frankie Horne and welcoming back Cecil Afrika I see them turning over Samoa and running the schedule. Samoa were awesome on Day 2 last week and they will be too strong for a fortunate French side and a poor Australian side that are struggling at this level. The big game of course is between the Islanders and the Boks. I am going with home advantage in front of a crazy PE crowd to carry the South Africa unbeaten into the Cup Quarters
Pool B : 1st - New Zealand, 2nd - England, 3rd - Fiji, 4th - Scotland
New Zealand will be smarting from losing the final last weekend but will be all the better for a further week together after welcoming Stowers and Baker back into the squad. The All Blacks 7s will be too strong for Scotland who have never beaten the Kiwis in 24 attempts on the World Series. In fact both England and Fiji will be too strong for Phil Greenings men here. Then it gets interesting and I can see these 3 beating one another. Fiji over New Zealand, New Zealand over England, England over Fiji. Meaning it will come down to scoring. England have been free scoring this year, that's not been the problem so I am going with the Blacks and the Red Rose to win the day, with Fiji upsetting all at home and heading to the Bowl
Pool C : 1st - Wales, 2nd - Argentina, 3rd - Kenya, 4th - Spain
Kenya have lost 4 key players to exams back home and looking at the affect that the loss of key players has had to Australia, Fiji and England I would be surprised if the Africans can deal with the loss. Wales looked so balanced in taking the plate last weekend and I can see them just pipping the Pumas again this weekend. Spain are still a little one dimensional to me and will head into the Bowl which is probably their level at the moment.
Pool D : 1st - Canada, 2nd - USA, 3rd - Portugal, 4th - Zimbabwe
The Zim Cheetahs were not far away last year in qualifying for the series and are no mugs and this is the perfect group for them but the North Americans will be stoked with the draw;. Portugal took advantage of the shock factor against inconsistent top level sides. Canada and US won't make the same mistakes and both will take victories against the other two. The big North American battle has been dominated by Canada for the past 12 months.. The US are due a win but it's not going to be this weekend the Canucks are looking great at the moment and have that little too much for their rivals.
#1 Portugal v Australia
The men from Europe should normally not be able to hang with the Wallaby 7s but at the moment O'Connor and his charges look a little lost. Portugal will smarting from going out of the pools and looking to make an impact and knock the Aussies into the shield again. They will do exactly that.
Winner - Portugal
#2 Zimbabwe v France
The French go from being in the 3rd place game one week to the Bowl the next, that's how close the World Series is and how the groups have been laid out. They will be too balanced and too developed for the Cheetahs who's tough introduction to the World Series will continue
Winner - France
#3 Fiji v Spain
A disjointed Fiji struggled to a 14.0 win over the Spanish in the groups last week and though I am certain this is not the strongest of sides that Fiji could put out it's still more than strong enough to be competitive. Tough draw for the Spanish here with Fiji opening up on them otherwise points at the top of the table will get away from them.
Winner - Fiji
#4 Kenya v Scotland
Tough weekend for Scotland, after being involved in one seriously tough group they will head to the Bowl and take on the very physical Kenya. They were close in a good pool game last week and the loss of the likes of Ashioya and Injera is going to be alot for Kenya too take, in fact too much. Scotland are vastly improved and will come again. One week Kenya are 3rd, next they are in the Shield.
Winner - Scotland
#1 South Africa v USA
The Eagles will see this as a huge chance not just to pick up some points in the World Series but also to make a real dent in the cup. They were closer than 14.22 said they were against the Boks last week but this going to be a different South Africa side this weekend and Horne, Afrika will just have a little too much creativity for Hawley and Hawkins winning a close game with only a score in it.
Winner - South Africa
#2 Wales v England
England will probably see this as finally the dice are rolling their way and I have to agree with them. Wales have had the rub of the green at times against their English rivals but England have too much pace for what is a balance midfield attack of the welsh. This is the sort of game that Norton shines in. Ifan Evans, Will Thomas and Richie Pugh of the Welsh will have days where they beat England but not this weekend
Winner - England
#3 Canada v Samoa
Canada are looking like a real force that will be competing at the top end of pools on the Day One of most tournaments. That being said, I do not see them competing for a top four spot as of yet. Samoa are so powerful and Canucks have great balance but like Wales they are running into a side that has a little too much for them in their weak areas. The Islanders will once again lose in the groups but end up in the business end of the tournament
Winners - Samoa
#4 New Zealand v Argentina
Weirdly alot of these Quarters all have a similar feeling about them with Canada, Wales and in this game Argentina all being balanced and consistent sides who on their day can go along way in tournaments. The issue this weekend is that I don't see the shocks happening in the Quarters of the Cup and their rivals just having too much pace and class.
Winners - New Zealand
#1 Australia v Kenya
The battle of sides that are not full-strength which is why they find themselves in the shield. Though Kenya are having to adapt on the move I am going with Friday over O'Connor in this one. The Aussies are very dissapointing for me at the moment and I don't see where they beat the shujaa in this one.
Winner - Kenya
#2 Spain v Zimbabwe
The Spanish are actually a Bowl standard team as they showed in Gold Coast but they need the draw to fall for them and it hasn't done this weekend. This is the game where there luck will turn and I expect the Spanish behind Pedro Martin and Jaike Carter to turn over the Cheetahs with some ease in this game
Winner - Spain
#1 Portugal v Scotland
This is going to be a close game. Pedro Leal is free scoring but as is Colin Gregor. I was impressed by Scotland last week and it was small margins that had them losing at this stage. This time they will get themselves in the Bowl final with a one score win over their European rivals
Winner - Scotland
#2 Fiji v France
This game was a Cup Quarter-Final in Dubai and France completed took the game away from Fiji at the breakdown. They frustrated the Islanders and didn't let them play by swarming them. It made Fiji jump the line. The blueprint is now there and I am going with France again in this. Coach Dere will have to draw a line through this double weekend and bring back his original Gold Coast winning squad for Wellington
Winners - France
#1 USA v Wales
Wales took full advantage of the plate last weekend and I expect them to do the same this weekend. The Eagles are improving and coach Magleby seems to have his charges working well for him. For me they are still a little blunt. You cannot say the same about Paul Johns boys. USA are the perfect match-up for Wales and I expect Thomas and Jones to take advantage
Winners - Wales
#2 Canada v Argentina
Canada will be desperate to make it back to the plate final and Argentina will look to go one better than their bowl win last week. This is an intriguing game that honestly could go either way. Messers Mack, Duke, Hearn and Moonlight appear to be on the same page this year whilst Argentina have real fire power from a young side. I am going with Canucks experience over raw talent though to make it a repeat Plate Final from Dubai
Winners - Canada
#1 South Africa v England
What a difference a week makes. In Dubai neither of these sides made the quarters. Now they are 14 mins away from a Cup Final. I actually don't know which way to turn in this match. England have been inconsistent and incredibly frustrating all season. South Africa were awesome than faltered in Gold Coast and last week blew up after Kyle Brown got injured. England should of beaten them in the Pools in Dubai but made too many mistakes. Everything says the Boks win here including home advantage and I am going to go with them but I would not be at all surprised if England were the ones causing the 'shock' this weekend
Winners - South Africa
#2 New Zealand v Samoa
A repeat of last weeks final. Samoa have the ability to turn it on for tournaments and a couple of years ago they managed to do it for most of the season and took the title. They have always struggled to beat New Zealand often though and the emotion of last week will be tough to repeat. I am going with a Kiwi win setting up a repeat of last years final which happened to be in my humble opinion the best game of the entire season last year
Winners - New Zealand
Spain v Kenya
These guys played one another in Gold Coast and Kenya were a little clever for the incoming Spanish (not something we could of said last year) but Spain have improved. They can still be a little predictable but consistency in squad means there is a real understanding in the team. I am going with Spain to go a step further than last week and pick up a 2nd trophy of sorts this season
Shield Winners - Spain
France v Scotland
Big 6 nations fixture this and though I previously said I am pleased with the improvements made by Scotland, I don't see them winning this match. France have a cutting edge to them and are not prone to mentality issues that they have had in seasons past. They blew up after last seasons exploits in Dubai but this weekend they will follow up a strong performance with another and take the Bowl for some silverware and valuable series points
Bowl Winners - France
Wales v Canada
In last weeks same game the Welsh were too strong for the North Americans and they will be again this weekend. The balanced nature of both of these teams is coming out not just on the field in individual match results but also in their overall tournament finishing positions. Wales have a young side attacking from all angles, no real stars (as of yet) but real poise on the ball and swarming defense. They should be what the Canadians are aiming to become with their group of players but not this weekend and not yet.
Plate Winners - Wales
3rd/4th Place Match
England v Samoa
It doesn't matter how a tournament plays out, there always seems to be a Samoa v England game in there somewhere and it always seems to have huge significance. England were the only side to turn over Samoa last weekend in a classic white v blue encounter. They are closely matched these two teams and know each other so well. As I said last week this game comes down to England more so than Samoa. If England defend the radius of the breakdown with efficient chop tackling and then eat the clock with ball in hand efficiently they will win. That being said, I don't trust England to not have a bad game in a tournament at the moment.
Winners - Samoa
New Zealand v South Africa.
South Africa roared out to a lead at drinks last year but New Zealand braved it and then put a 2nd half performance together that was breath-taking to say the least. The Kiwis have fallen short to both Fiji and Samoa in finals this season and with all the experience in the squad with Cama, Forbes, Mikkelson, Raikabula, Stowers & Baker that is not happening again however loud the PE crowd is. South Africa will be pleased with a return to form but unfortunately I see a repeat of last year where they will be found wanting by Tietjens men and not a repeat of Gold Coast earlier this year when the dice fell the way of Paul Treu and his boys.
South Africa Sevens Winners - New Zealand
How many do you think I am going to get right? What have I definitely got wrong? Let me know on the comments below and we will include the best ones in the Live-Text at the weekend