With the 2018 Rugby Sevens World Cup to be held in San Francisco, it is another ominous portent that soon, the word “football” in the U.S. will not be the exclusive province of the gridiron version.
This year’s tournament runs from July 20 to July 22 (21 – 23 Australia) and will feature teams from 24 nations for the men and 16 nations for the women.
The U.S. does intend to field squads as a result of being the hosts and the choice of San Francisco might be intended to convince the tourists that a professional rugby career in the U.S., should such an opportunity come to fruition, might be a valid path, at least until a job playing football in interior locations, such as Iowa or Kansas, restores reality to those lured by the beauty of the City By The Bay.
The news on which we chose to focus is the announcement of the selections for the Kiwi sides.
It is also necessary to point out that the World Cup will feature a new format, a quite simple straight knockout formula. Lose and go home.
“It’s a more ruthless format,” New Zealand men’s co-captain Tim Mikkelson said. “You’ve got to execute from the first game.”
The men for the New Zealanders will be Trael Joass, Jona Nareki, Andrew Knewstubb, Kurt Baker, Scott Curry, Dylan Collier, Tim Mikkelson, Salesi Rayasi, Sione Molia, Akulia Rokolisoa, Regan Ware and Joe Ravouvou.
For the women, it will be Shakira Baker, Kelly Brazier, Michaela Blyde, Theresa Fitzpatrick, Gayle Broughton, Sarah Goss, Ruby Tui, Stacey Waaka, Tyla Nathan-Wong, Niall Williams, Portia Woodman and Tenika Willison.
No need to tell you what those two lists did to our spell checker, other than to mention that the spelling suggestions were quite entertaining.
To any player whose name we butchered, we aplogise fervently.
Clark Laidlaw will serve in the role of men’s coach and Allan Bunting will head the women.
The World Cup will be played at AT & T Park, home to Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants, who will be out of town, but will return to find their pristine venue much the worse for wear.