Pools for the 2017 USA Rugby Emirates Airline Club 7s National Championship have been announced by the National Competitions Committee, and the race is now on to see what teams will qualify for which groupings.
2017 Men's Pools | 2017 Women's Teams
Explanation of Pools/Seeding:
Distribution of Seeding by Competitive Region (CR)
Each competitive region (CR) is guaranteed a minimum of one seed in each competition (men's & women's). If a region has an adequate number of teams attempting to qualify, that region will be given two seeds per competition. If Hawaii meets the criteria for qualification in a given year, the region with the lowest performance the previous year will lose a seed. If a region is unable to field an adequate number of teams attempting to qualify, it will only be given one seed. When/if a region fails to earn two seeds, and Hawaii does not participate, the best-performing region from the previous year's event will gain an additional seed. No region may have more than 3 seeds.
Ranking of Seeds prior to Pool Construction
Seeds are ranked by the performance of teams from the previous year's event. For example, if a team from the Frontier region wins the national championship, the Frontier #1 seed will be ranked #1 overall for the purpose of constructing pools.
In this process, seeds are ranked within regions (#1; #2; #3, if applicable) based on overall projection, not the performance of the intra-region seed. For example, if the team that was Pacific South #2 finishes 5th in a given year, and the team that was Pacific South #1 finishes 8th, Pacific South #1 will be ranked 5th and Pacific South #2 will be ranked 8th in the following year's event.
Pools are constructed based upon seeds from the previous year's event. In an ideal scenario, pools have the rankings of their seeds add up to 34 (example: 1+8+9+16=34; 1+7+10+16=34). However, pools are not purely constructed by this logic. Pools also take into consideration geographic distribution and weighing of seeds from within regions.
The weighing of geographic disparity is to prevent teams from facing opposition from the same competitive region (CR) during pool play.
The weighing of seeds from within regions is to prevent an unfair advantage in pool composition if a region had a 'down year' the event prior, or if a strong team emerges from a region that was previously weak. In this sense, no pool should ever have more than two #1 seeds (from within a region) unless a team from Hawaii is participating (in which case it is unavoidable).
Assignment of pool identification
Teams are placed in pools based on what would result in the championship (Cup) semi-finals if all teams won as though their ranking was a perfect indicator of their future performance. In this sense, the #1 and #4 overall seeds are arranged in a manner that they would meet in the semi-finals if they won out. Similarly, the #2 and #3 overall seeds are similarly arranged. When/if possible, teams are also assigned pools based on their potential quarter-final match-up, but that is not always possible depending on regional performance the year prior. To that end - if possible - quarter-final matches should see a combined ranking of 8-10 (e.g. 1+7=8; 4+5=9; 4+6=10).
In other words (TL;DR), pool construction looks at the following:
1. Geographic distribution (don't include teams from the same CR)
2. Even distribution of seeding (not too many 1 seeds in any pool; not too many lower seeds [2/3] in any pool)
3. Fairly-weighted pools. The sum-total of seeds should be roughly equal across pools (ideally to 34 each)
4. Semi-Final match pairings drive pool assignment