The 7s Eagles should have claimed the bowl division in Hong Kong, but for an ill-advised, game-ending tap move taken when the better play was a kick at goal.
One (or two) wins from five matches is too little to discern the effects of Alex Magleby's replacing Al Caravelli, or whether the professional roster needs to be overhauled. Another question making the rounds: Is 7s going to divert resources from 15s, to America's overall detriment?
Looking at structural evidence, it does not seem the abbreviated game is likely to 'crowd out' test rugby in the States. USARFU's problems are more strategy and execution.
The union has three principal revenue / resource streams: player dues, the US Olympic Committee, and the International Rugby Board. CIPP (Club and Individual Participation Program) is growing and will make further gains, due to the school-age segment. Boulder reallocates much of this money toward 'high performance' and the test team. There is no challenge to this dynamic, since policy and the budget are set by a board insulated from community opinion.
The USOC will always focus on 7s, since 15s is not a medal sport; but the Olympic Training Center facilities which have been coming online are 'dual use' in as much as 7s athletes are expected to graduate to 15s. One presumes the IRB's subsidies to 'tier 2' countries will be even-handed as regards 15s and 7s.
Operationally, USARFU has generally made losses on test matches since 2004, and rarely renews important sponsors like Sony Bravia or the National Guard. It also made deep losses on the USA 7s, until forced to sell.
The new management transformed the event to profitability, and has been successful with the Collegiate Rugby Championship. Launched before International Olympic Committee admitted 7s to the Summer Games, the CRC's key dynamic, so far as the American market is concerned, is not seven-a-side but universities, which brands are resonant with TV broadcasters and commercial sponsors alike.
Its primary shortcoming is scheduling: The CRC is out of sync with the emergent fall season for university 7s, which dovetails reasonably well with the 7s World Series while preserving spring for the 15s calendar, concluding with June internationals, thereby making the distinction between the 'Olympic version' of rugby and 15s intelligible to school administrators, an important stakeholder in the American marketplace.
That is the best piece of USARFU's otherwise questionable go-to-market strategy. Whyever host the Junior World Tournament, the IRB's age-grade tournament for second-division nations -- a premise the domestic market does not understand -- at the exact time one is staging a trio of tests that are supposed to be the summer's primary source of income?
If that the does not sum up the problem, then consider how some 10,000 turned out for last years's (then) College Premier Division final and the participants didn't make any money.