The last three tickets for the Tokyo Olympics are on the line this weekend, with two tickets for two of the top women’s teams and one last ticket for the best of the men’s.
22 teams are set in the world stage as the World Rugby Sevens Repechage in Monaco will determine who of these teams deserve the last three spots in Tokyo.
With the Tokyo Olympics over a month away, the last repechage will serf as the last opportunity for these Olympic hopefuls to join the top teams from around the world at the biggest world games.
The women’s competition will feature Argentina, Colombia, France, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Samoa and Tunisia.
The men’s tournament will involve Chile, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Jamaica, Mexico, Samoa, Tonga, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
The official format of the tournament was clarified by World Rugby as the women’s division differ from the men’s tournaments.
According to WR, for the men’s competition, the 10 teams were drawn into two pools of five teams, including one team from each of the five pre-determined bands of seeds.
The top two teams from each pool progress through to the knockout stages, culminating in the final with the winner booking their place on the plane to Tokyo.
Band 1: France, Samoa
Band 2: Hong Kong, Ireland
Band 3: Chile, Tonga
Band 4: Uganda, Zimbabwe
Band 5: Jamaica, Mexico
In the women’s competition 12 teams were drawn into three pools of four teams. The teams were banded based on placements in their regional competitions alongside performances in World Rugby tournaments. One team from each band of seeds was drawn into each pool.
Band 1: France, Papua New Guinea, Russia
Band 2: Argentina, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan
Band 3: Colombia, Jamaica, Mexico
Band 4: Madagascar, Samoa, Tunisia
The top two teams in each pool, plus the two third-placed teams with the highest point totals will qualify for the knockout stages of the women’s competition.
As there are two Olympic qualification places available for women, the repechage will feature two rounds of knockout games with the final round featuring four teams competing in two matches where both winners gain Olympic qualification and claim their tickets to Tokyo.
The French teams are expected to win the tickets to the Olympic Games as they remain the crowed favorites. Both the men’s and the women’s teams were close to qualifying in the World Rugby Sevens Series, but instead will have to battle it out in Monaco.
Ireland is a new force to not be taken lightly as their progress has sky rocketed in the recent years, Jordan Conroy will be a man to look out for on the pitch as his dynamic speed and power will definitely put points on the scoreboard.
The Samoan men are also not to be underestimated as they finished runner ups in the 2016 repechage and as well as finishing fourth in the opening round of the 2020 series.
The Russian women are the current European champions and the one most likely team to give France a run for their money. And Russia even beat the French ladies at the Invitational 7s in Dubai a few months ago.
In 2016 Spain took home the one and only ticket to the Rio Olympic Games as both their men and women’s teams gave fans a thrilling finals match.
Canada Rugby’s loss in 2016 was a shock after having a great performance in the World Series, but the maple leaf have already won their rightful spot at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics earlier this year.
World Rugby also included a list of who they thought were the stars that have stood out; while Ignacio Martin Goenaga was the hero for Spain with the decisive try in the final, the tournament’s leading try-scorers came from outside of the final contenders in Tonga’s Taliauli Sikuea and Russia’s Vladislav Sozonov, who both scored seven tries apiece.
Four players were tied at the top of the women’s try-scoring charts but it was Patricia Garcia’s exploits for Spain that will be remembered most.
Garcia scored a brace in the final win over Russia to bring her level with Ireland duo, Alison Miller and Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe and Russia’s Elena Zdrokova on seven tries.
A number of XVs stars have also made the switch to the smaller format for the chance to become an Olympic Athlete. This includes players like Malakai Fekitoa, will attempt to add an Olympic medal to his collection as he captain’s the Tongan team. Lopeti Timani and ‘Ikale Tahi Jack Ram are also part of Tonga’s Olympic squad, creating a bigger stronger squad for Tokyo.
France will aslo have some XVs players representing them this year in the likes of Gabin Villiere and Caroline Drouin who have both been leading their squad to success.
]Veronique Rasoanekena, Madagascar women’s first every try scorer is also named in their final squad.
5,000 fans are lucky enough to be watching in the bleachers as the games kick off. Good news for fans around the world is that World Rugby intends to make the tournament available on their online platforms as they host live streams.
The men’s games will kick off this Friday, June 18, while the women’s side will kick off on Satruday, June 19.