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Rugby Teams Using Commonwealth Games for Launch to LA Sevens

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Rugby Teams Using Commonwealth Games for Launch to LA Sevens

Still meainingful. Australia sends a massive athlete contingent to the Commonwealth Games. Photo Brimingham 2022.

How are the teams going into the LA 7s performing in the Commonwealth Games? Here's a quick look.

The Commonwealth Games, if you're not familiar, is a multi-sport event much like the Olympic Games, and is competed among the nations of the British Commonwealth (which was what they called it when they stopped calling it an Empire). These are all nations with a strong connection to Britain. 

Rugby 7s became a part of the Commonwealth Games back in 1998, and was a very exciting precursor to the acceptance of Rugby 7s into the Olympics. New Zealand (big surprise) has won five of the six men's Rugby 7s events at the CG. Having blazed the trail for men's Rugby 7s, the Commonwealth Games was woefully slow to get women's Rugby 7s into the mix, and only got there in 2018, with New Zealand beating hosts Australia 17-12 in the final.

This year, 10 of the 16 men's teams slates for the LA 7s are in action at Birmingham 2022.

So far it has been a litany of blowout wins for sharks vs minnows, with Australia 62-0 over Jamaica, New Zealand Sri Lanka 63-5, South Africa 46-0 over Malaysia, Scotland 41-0 over Tonga (a pretty good result for the Scots), Canada 31-0 over Wales (!), and Fiji 52-0 over Zambia. Kenya beat Uganda 27-14, which isn't a blowout, and a nod to the fact that Uganda is and has been a pretty useful 7s side.

The one big surprise is Samoa 34-0 over England. But it's worth keeping in mind how different nations view this tournament. Australia has pretty close to a front-line squad as they target catching South Africa for the World Series title when they arrive at the LA 7s. And South Africa are in the same boat, only in this case hoping to hold off the Aussies at Dignity Health Sports Park. Fiji, also hoping to finish strong and higher in the standings (they have an outside shot at winning the World Series), and prepping for the World Cup, have basically their best side on the field—the side you will see in LA.

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Meanwhile, New Zealand is a bit more of a mix. The All Black 7s don't have a shot at the World Series title because they missed too many tournaments, so their main focus is a buildup from Birmingham to LA to the RWC 7s in Cape Town in September. Sobering for England is the fact that they have pretty much their frontline England side getting shut out by Samoa. 

Canada has some rebuilding to do and have found minutes for younger players. It's a good start for them.

Some leading players are making things happen. New Zealand's top three World Series try-scorers, as well as their skipper, all found paydirt against Sri Lanka, Samoa star Steve Onosiai scored three tries against England and Canada's leading World Series scorer, Alex Russell, had three against Wales. But Samu Kerevi is not normally in the Australia 7s mix and he netted three against Jamaica. 

Will we see more of him at the Dig?