The Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament is set to begin on July 20, 2018, at AT&T Park in San Francisco. This is the seventh time the Melrose Cup will be up for grabs and the first time that the tournament will take place on North American soil. Sportsbooks have two-time Sportsbooks Fiji as the favorites to lift win the RWC Sevens title.
Online sportsbook Sportsbook has Fiji as the +100 favorites followed by South Africa at +250, New Zealand at +700, USA at +800 and England at +1800 to round out the top five. Fiji has two RWC Sevens championship under its belt but hasn’t appeared in the final since 2005 when it topped New Zealand 29-19.
Fiji Is the Favorite to win the Rugby World Cup Sevens
Fiji has kicked its game into high gear as we neared the RWC Sevens in San Francisco, winning five of the last seven tournaments and picking a third-place finish as well. The South Pacific island won just one tournament during the 2016-17 season while being the runner-up in three others. Over the past three seasons, Fiji has had strong showings on North American soil, scoring two wins in the six tournaments and making it to the at least the semifinals in five of the six.
Despite its torrent stretch as of late, Fiji still trails South Africa in the overall standings by just two points and because of this, they have the second seed in this year’s RWC. The Fijians have been one of the most dominant sevens teams in the world, winning two Melrose Cup’s and making it to at least the semifinals in every RWC Sevens tournaments except for one. In addition, Fiji was the first Olympic gold medalist for rugby 7s at the 2016 Games in Brazil. The club has finished third or better in six straight Sevens Series, including back-to-back wins in 2014-15 and 2015-16. With their tremendous record in Sevens competition, it is no surprise that Fiji is the +100 favorites to earn their record-setting third Melrose Cup.
Should Top-seeded South Africa be the Betting Favorite?
Since 2012, South Africa has been one of the most consistent sevens team in the world, finishing as the runner-up in the Sevens Series four straight times and has been the champion the last two season, including this year. The Blitzboks are the top-seeded team and have finished third or better in 23 of the last 30 tournaments, including finishing on top of the podium eight times and most recently winning the Paris tournament in June.
The RWC Sevens tournament has caused issues for South Africa in the past, though, as it has only been to the final once, falling 24-21 to the aforementioned powerhouse of Fiji. Other than that one final appearance, South Africa has finished in fifth place through the other five World Cups. The Blitzboks earned a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games after being upset in the semifinals 7-5 by Great Britain, then going on to thump Japan 54-14 in the bronze-medal game. South Africa is due for a Melrose Cup, but after consistent disappoint on the big stage it’ll be interesting if this +250 team can get over the hump in San Francisco.
Can England Break Through?
As the inaugural Sportsbook of the Melrose Cup in 1993, England has reached the final just once since then in the last RWC Sevens tournament in 2013, when it lost 33-0 to New Zealand. The English team has finished in second place four times in the 19 Sevens Series since 1999, the most among teams that have never been crowned as champion. The team has just two tournament victories in the past 19 attempts and finished in fifth place in this year’s Sevens Series.
England’s captain Dan Norton is the all-time leading try scorer in rugby sevens, racking up 299 tries, including 38 this year. Great Britain finished second at the 2016 Olympic Games, granted this team was made up of players from England, Scotland and Wales, however, eight of the 12 players hailed from England. The team has reached the summit before and at +1800 if England can put everything together could earn bettors a great profit.
Here's a look at the Rugby World Cup Sevens betting odds:
|South Africa 7s||+250|
|New Zealand 7s||+700|
|Hong Kong 7s||+100000|
|Papua New guinea 7s||+100000|
Odds as of July 19 at Sportsbook