The best scenario for the USA to remain in the Top 12 of the Sevens World Series is for them to control their own destiny. If the Eagles were to make the semifinals in Edinburgh, they would mathematically confirm a place in the top 12.
Realistically, they can’t be expected to do that, as they are in a very tough pool, and haven’t threatened to make the semis since Dubai. However, what’s more likely is, if the USA gets any IRB points at all, they will almost certainly clinch a place in the top 12, because it is highly unlikely that Kenya, Scotland, Portugal, Russia, France and Canada would all get big points.
In fact, if you follow the form sheet, all the teams at the bottom of the standings will be in the bottom of their pool standings, as well.
What will probably happen is Russia and France will play Portugal and Spain in the Bowl Quarters, and Canada and Kenya will face off with the USA and Scotland.
Those eight teams represent the bottom 8 of the IRB standings:
9th Kenya and Scotland 12pts
11th USA 10pts
12th Portugal and Russia 8 pts
14th France 6 Pts
15th Canada 5 Pts
16th Spain 0 Pts
So, if we assume that all these teams are playing for the Bowl, only one of these teams will claim points (4 for the Bowl). If it’s Spain, the standings don’t change. If it’s Canada, the Canadians jump up to 12th . France, if they win, tie the USA at 11th. If Portugal or Russia win, they jump up to tie Kenya and Scotland for 9th, bumping the USA to 12th. Meanwhile the Eagles can move up to take 9th and pass Kenya and Scotland.
So … as much as schadenfreud isn’t what we encourage here at RUGBYMag.com … the Eagles might be wishing that the lower-ranked teams all finish in the bottom of their pools. If that happens, regardless of who wins the Bowl, the USA will clinch a spot in the Top 12. If the USA wins the Bowl themselves, they could be as high as 9th.
And finally, the USA can conceivably finish as high as 8th. To do that, they would have to make the final or win the tournament.