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Friday: This Sevens World Series More Competitive Than Ever

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Friday: This Sevens World Series More Competitive Than Ever

Perry Baker goes in for the try at the 2022 LA Sevens, while Mike Friday (at right in the distance) looks on hopefully. David Barpal photo.

Coming into the LA Sevens, the USA Men’s 7s team is dealing with a few questions.

Of course, they’re not unique.

Almost everyone has had their ups and downs and that is reflected in a World Series standings that is closer than it has ever been.

LA Sevens Feb 25-26, 2023. Get Your Tickets Here>>

“I’ve been involved with the World Series over the last 20-odd years and I’ve never ever been involved in a World Series that’s this competitive,” said USA Head Coach Mike Friday. “It’s a box office series. Anyone can win on any given Sunday. If you slide off at all you fall down the rankings; it’s ruthless.”

Friday said the tightness of the World Series leaves little margin for error, but it’s also a credit to what the World Series has become. Since the World Series has kicked off in 2000 (and not counting the two-event 2021), there have been 22 seasons with top four finishes—88 top-four places. Of those, Fiji, New Zealand, and South Africa have taken 61 of them—that’s right, the rest of the world has shared only 27 places (and almost half of those go to Samoa).

This year, nine different teams have stood on a tournament podium. That’s not a record. Since 2000 six seasons have seen nine podium nations, while 2008 and 2009 had 10, and 2016 had 11. But none has reached that number in only five tournaments.

(The number of podium nations grew during the first 10 years of the World Series and then contracted as there was a separation between teams that had evolved their 7s and teams that didn’t. Now that is expanding again.” 

There has never been a season where six different nations won a tournament, but five different winners has happened seven times before 2023. This year, it happened in five different tournaments.

And, of course, the difference between 3rd and 7th is only two points, and that’s unique.

LA Sevens Feb 25-26, 2023. Get Your Tickets Here>>

“It’s fantastic,” said Friday, “unless you’re a coach. It’s the little things that make a different and some of those are in your control and some are not. As I said, it’s box office, and in an Olympic qualifying season. But I think we’ll start to see a little bit of separation.”