Trinidad & Tobago
The French Missfits are a Canadian side of university players/alums. My dear Beaver friend and teammate Tiera Reynolds (who played for the Canada at the last two World University Games) will be with them and if her talent is any indicator, this could be a formidable opponent. Atlantis is a familiar name with developing/former USA 7s players in their mix; last year their team had a big revival to honor founder/coach/rugby legend Emil Signes and it seems the momentum continues. Their recent Tobago tour saw them in the championship match against the Maple Leafs. Trinidad & Tobago fix to be the weakest team in the Elite pools but have been developing their program and have been committed to traveling to as many tournaments as possible.
In Pool B the Maple Leafs (The Canadian National Team) are clear favorites coming off their 2nd place Rugby World Cup finish, the 2013 NACRA championship, and a 4th place finish in the Dubai WSWS. The championship and additional opportunity to play in Tobago in December certainly doesn't hurt as their program continues to develop new players recently bringing several U-20 and U-18 speedsters in the mix. Japan return to the LVI with a disciplined program and we're looking forward to a joint practice session/scrimmage with them on Thursday morning. Aptoella are solid contenders helmed by Barbara Mervin; their team is full of former Canada 7s and 15s talent out of the Vancouver area (I was set to play with their team at Calgary Stampede 7s but a near achilles tear prevented me from taking the field. Got to "camp" with the amazing ladies though and support from the sidelines). Rounding out Pool B are the Serpientes - Team Mexico. I got to meet their men at the LVI in 2012 (and someone still owes me a t-shirt from a polo trade!) and saw the men's side again at Lakefront 7s that same year. The women traveled to Calgary one week later and played well - winning some surprising upsets over Canadian 7s sides. They have some US based talent from the university ranks and it should be interesting to see how they travel and what they show.
Friday also gives us the opportunity to watch the men's elite games; their pool play finishes in the morning and quarterfinals matches kick off in the afternoon. Rugby Magazine is sure to have great previews and coverage of the men's draw.