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7s Seedings Make Some Irate

Tuesday Aug 18, 2009 in Sevens Club Competitions

image for this article
(Scott Fraser for NOVA. Dobson Images.)

One team that left the national 7s championships somewhat bent out of shape was NOVA.

It happens every now and then that a team performs relatively well, and yet doesn’t finish too high, and that’s what happened with the Northern Virginia team. They won five games and lost one, but finished 9th.

“As Al Caravelli sometimes says, it’s not how much you win, but sometimes it’s when you win,” said NOVA chief Bill Gardner.

In NOVA’s case, they beat Glendale and the Chicago Lions (who ended up third), and then Milwaukee, OMBAC and Boston.

But at the key moment, they lost to SFGG. That put them at 2-1 in their pool, along with Chicago and SFGG. It all came down to points difference, and NOVA lost out. They lost in part because in the final game, SFGG knew they needed to win by more than 33, and made sure they scored the tries against Glendale, winning 45-0.

“What bothers me about this is we need seeding for the tournament based on how the actual team is doing rather than just going of what happened last year,” said NOVA chief Bill Gardner. “In the end San Francisco knew how much they needed to get. If we had played Glendale and known we needed to score lots of points, we could have done that, too.”

Gardner says he wants the seeding to change. The tournament, he said, should be seeded according to a panel that observes the teams and the results, rather than depending on last year’s results.

This seeding discussion has been heard in the XVs playoffs in college and for clubs. A team’s current success, based on league performance as well as cross-territorial games, would be a better way than the current, blind system.

Often in the current system big games are played too early in the process. In the 7s, there’s always at least one team that feels they have been undeservedly dropped to the Bowl Round.

Was NOVA better than 9th? They beat the eventual #3 team in Chicago, but lost to the #5 team SFGG. All the other teams they beat finished below NOVA anyway.

Based on this year’s performances, next year no territory will have dominance in the seeding. Every territory that did well (SoCal, West) had another seed that didn’t finish high. Only the West and the South had two teams in the top eight. Mid-Atlantic, led by the hard-done-by NOVA, was the only territory to have no team in the top eight.

The territories that had three seeds all saw their third seed finish low. It will be problematic for USA Rugby if they choose to give three seeds to Southern California, because that region has regularly only had two really competitive teams.

7s placings and their territories:
1. Belmont Shore (SoCal)
2. Aspen (West)
3. Chicago Lions (Midwest)
4. Old Blue (Northeast)
5. SFGG (Pacific Coast)
6. Atlanta Old White (South)
7. Denver (West) and Life (South)
10. Boston (Northeast)
11. Schuylkill River (MARFU), OMBAC (SoCal)
13. Milwaukee (Midwest), Chicago Griffins (Midwest), Tempe (Pacific Coast), Glendale (West)

Finishes by the top 2 in each territory (ranked based on those finishes):
West 2nd, 7th
SoCal 1st, 11th
South 6th, 7th
Midwest 3rd, 13th
Northeast 4th and 10th
Pacific Coast 5th, 13th
MARFU 9th, 11th

- Alex Goff

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