USA Sevens Pool C profile: SAM, POR, ENG, URU

(IRB) Tuesday 21 January 2014
 
 USA Sevens Pool C profile: SAM, POR, ENG, URU
Experienced Alatasi Tupou has been a key man in a transitional period for Samoa

We run the rule over the four teams in Pool C at the USA Sevens in Las Vegas - Samoa, Portugal, England and Uruguay.

Samoa

Coach: Viliamu Punivalu
2013/14 position (after 3 rounds): 7=
USA 2013: 3rd
2012/13 Series: 4th

Viliamu Punivalu makes two changes for Samoa from Port Elizabeth. Kelly Meafua makes his debut and experienced flyer Tom Iosefo comes back into the side. Misioka Timoteo is still out injured but the likes of Lio Lolo, Tulolo Tulolo, Alatasi Tupou and captain Reupena Levasa will underpin their chances. Fale So'oialo proved himself a real try-scorer in South Africa, where the Samoans looked like getting back to their best and they have enjoyed the narrow pitch in Vegas in the past, winning in the US two years ago and also four years ago.

Portugal

Coach: Pedro Netto Fernandes
2013/14 position (after 3 rounds): 11
USA 2013: Shield semi-finalists
2012/13 Series: 14th

Portugal performed well to reach the Cup quarter-finals in South Africa at the last round, but there are now key men missing in the likes of captain Pedro Leal and Frederico Oliveira. Seven of the squad named have played two events or less, with Bernardo Batista, Andre Aquino and Antonio Marques making their debuts. Aderito Esteves (42 events) and David Mateus (41) are by some distance the most experienced in the squad and coach Pedro Netto Fernandes will be relying on both having a big tournament, but it's a lot to ask.

England

Coach: Simon Amor
2013/14 position (after 3 rounds): 4
USA 2013: Bowl semi-finalists
2012/13 Series: 6th

The big news for England is Tom Mitchell taking over the captain's armband from Tom Powell for Vegas and also the return of giant back, Mike Ellery, to dovetail with Dan Norton and do a different job out wide. Chris Cracknell and Christian Lewis-Pratt also return in the place of John Brake, Sam Edgerley and Mat Turner - Turner perhaps a surprise - but with Jeff Williams, James Rodwell, Phil Burgess and Alex Gray also there there looks to be a real emphasis on power and size. Perhaps understandable given the ultra-narrow pitch in Vegas, and the need to command the contact area more than in other events. On the other hand, Marcus Watson could also be a key man with that acceleration and vision.

Uruguay

Coach: Luis Pedro Achard
2013/14 position (after 3 rounds): N/A
USA 2013: Shield runners-up
2012/13 Series: 19th=

Uruguay are the only non-core team in Las Vegas and will doubtless be using the tournament as a stepping stone for the World Series promotion qualifier in Hong Kong in March, for which they qualified alongside Chile at the weekend. In this context one thing the Teros don't have is experience - Federico Favaro is their most seasoned player with just four Series events under his belt - but they play an abrasive style and are no mugs. Lost by only five points to Kenya in Las Vegas last year, and beat Portugal to reach the Shield final.

Las Vegas Sevens

Round 5
13-15 February 2015
Sam Boyd Stadium
City: Las Vegas
Capacity: 36,800

 
Pools
Pool A
TeamPlayedPts
RSA39
CAN37
KEN35
WAL33
Pool B
TeamPlayedPts
NZL39
AUS37
FIJ35
SCO33
Pool C
TeamPlayedPts
SAM39
ENG37
POR35
URU33
Pool D
TeamPlayedPts
FRA39
ARG37
USA35
ESP33
more
Photos
  • Cecil Afrika
  • South Africa won the USA Sevens
  • Zack Test, USA