The pools for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic rugby sevens competitions have been confirmed as players, teams and fans countdown to the kick-off at Tokyo Stadium on 26 July.
The 12 men’s and 12 women’s teams have been allocated to three pools of four teams, according to rankings based upon performances in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and other World Rugby-sanctioned tournaments over the past two years.
The women’s competition is equally fascinating with Pool C seeing hosts Japan grouped with Rio 2016 Olympic champions Australia alongside a powerful USA team, who qualified directly for Tokyo after finishing runners-up in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2019, reaching the medal podium in five of the six rounds. The pool is completed by Olympic debutants China, who secured their place in Tokyo with an emphatic 33-0 victory over Hong Kong in the Asian qualifier final.
Pool B is the only pool without an Olympic debutant as Rio 2016 bronze medallists Canada are joined by France, Fiji and Brazil. France were in fine form as they swept all before them to qualify for Tokyo via the World Rugby Sevens Repechage in Monaco earlier this month. Brazil qualified for Tokyo thanks to a 28-15 victory over Colombia in the South American qualifier, while Rio 2016 quarter-finalists Fiji overcame Papua New Guinea to qualify from Oceania.
In Pool A, current Rugby World Cup Sevens and World Series title holders New Zealand will face the Russian Olympic Committee team, Great Britain and Kenya. New Zealand beat both Kenya and Great Britain on the way to claiming the silver medal at Rio 2016, while Russia ended the Black Fern’s record-equalling 37-match winning run on the Series with a 17-17 draw in Kitakyushu in April 2019. The Russian team secured their Olympic debut via this month’s Repechage.
The top four placed teams in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2019 qualified directly for Tokyo while Japan were awarded their place as host nation. The remaining seven teams qualified via regional tournaments and the World Rugby Sevens Repechage in Monaco.
A: New Zealand, Russia, Great Britain, Kenya
B: Canada, France, Fiji, Brazil
C: Japan, Australia, USA, China