2013 Rugby World Cup 7s: Top Contenders in International Tournament

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistJune 29, 2013

Feb 10, 2013; Las Vegas, NV,  New Zealand player Gillies Kaka stiff arms South African defenders while on his way to score a try during the Cup Final sevens rugby match during the HSBC Sevens World Series at Sam Boyd Stadium. South Africa defeated New Zealand 40-12. Mandatory Credit: Josh Holmberg-USA TODAY Sports
USA Today Sports

There's no bigger stage for seven-on-seven rugby than the Rugby World Cup Sevens. The 2013 tournament figures to be a classic, as the 24 strongest international teams have converged on Russia to determine which is the best in the world. 

This will be the final tournament before rugby sevens becomes an Olympic sport in the 2016 Olympic Games. The World Cup will not be played for another five years, when the winning nation will have to defend their title in 2018.

With plenty of nations already off to a great start in the group round, here are the top contenders to hoist the cup. 



The 2009 Rugby World Cup Sevens champion came in as a dark horse to win the cup again. While the roster may not look like the one that claimed the last World Cup, this squad has displayed enough promise to be considered elite. 

Wales rank No. 7 in the world but got off to a brilliant start in Moscow. They defeated Uruguay 33-5 in a match that showed off their dominance.

Chris Knight registered 10 of the team's points. He crossed two tries and proved that he's capable of leading Wales when called upon.



Standing in the way of Wales' quest to repeat in Pool E is a talented Fiji team. 

Though Fiji failed to make their presence known in the 2009 World Cup, the No. 3 squad has already proved its worth in Moscow. As the official IRB Sevens account tweeted, Fiji were among the highest scoring teams from the first day of the tournament. 

The Fiji side had three players score in double digits in the match.

With a 45-0 win over Tonga in hand and Wales posing the only threat in the pool, Fiji should have no issues advancing into the latter stages of this tournament. 


New Zealand

Anytime a team is ranked No. 1 in the world, it is going to be considered a favorite in the World Cup. 

The All Black Sevens have been unstoppable this year. They're fresh off a championship finish in the IRB Sevens World Series, which saw them take first place over Australia, Fiji and Wales. 

They haven't done anything to show they're going to slow down in the World Cup thus far. They took care of Canada, 31-12, in their first match of pool play and came back with an even better defensive effort in a 26-7 win over Georgia. 

With one big win on the international stage already, the All Black Sevens are the team to beat in Moscow.


Rankings courtesy of IRBSevens.com.