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.
There are some mouth-watering encounters for fans around the globe to look forward to as rugby sevens makes its second appearance at the Olympic Games following an unforgettable debut in Rio.
The men’s competition sees three of the top four placed teams from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games together in Pool B as reigning Olympic champions Fiji will face silver medallists Great Britain and hosts Japan, who finished a very creditable fourth in Rio, along with Olympic debutants Canada who claimed bronze at the last HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series event, which took place in Vancouver last year.
Pool A sees a renewal of the mouth-watering antipodean rivalry between current Rugby World Cup Sevens and World Series champions New Zealand and Australia, who met in the final of the last Series event in Vancouver, with the All Blacks Sevens winning a tightly contested match 17-14. Joining them in Pool A are Argentina, who finished sixth in Rio, alongside Olympic debutants Korea who qualified for Tokyo by winning the Asian qualification tournament with an extra-time ‘golden point’ try to overcome Hong Kong.
South Africa, bronze medallists in Rio, and USA are in Pool C having both achieved direct Olympic qualification by finishing in the top four of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2019, where the USA Eagles finished runners-up after reaching the medal podium in seven of the 10 Series rounds. Joining them are Kenya, who qualified courtesy of their first Rugby Africa men's sevens title since 2015, and Olympic debutants Ireland, who secured the final spot thanks to a thrilling 28-19 victory over France in the World Rugby Sevens Repechage in Monaco earlier this month.
The Olympic seedings were determined by the combined points gained by teams in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series over the 2019 and 2020 seasons with the four teams that qualified directly to the Olympic Games from the 2019 Series seeded in the top four positions.
These teams are Fiji, USA, New Zealand and South Africa for the men’s competition and New Zealand, USA, Canada and Australia for the women’s competition.
The seedings for teams who are not core teams in either the men’s or women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series were determined by World Rugby based on an analysis of their performances as invitational teams in Series tournaments over the 2019 and 2020 seasons and other World Rugby sanctioned tournaments such as the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series and regional tournaments.
A: New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, Korea
B: Fiji, Great Britain, Canada, Japan
C: South Africa, USA, Kenya, Ireland