Having reigned in Rio, Olympic champions Fiji remain among the hot favorites to win gold again in Tokyo. The Flying Fijians were on fire at Rio de Janeiro’s Deodoro Stadium in 2016, and their reputation for flare summed up the party atmosphere surrounding rugby sevens’ Olympics debut.
Five years on, and the Tokyo Olympic Games is billed to bring yet another feast for the senses as rugby’s sevens stars make their long-awaited return to the international stage at Tokyo Stadium (26-31 July).
Olympic selection confirmed for 24 rugby sevens players 🇯🇵
Congrats to all who are off to Tokyo! 🎊
— Team GB (@TeamGB) June 18, 2021
While attention was on Josua Tuisova and company as Fiji romped to a 43-7 victory over Team GB in the gold medal match in Rio, eyes could not avert Team USA’s rapid Carlin Isles, who – having notched up six tries during Rio 2016 – is among those set to return for Olympics action again this year.
Among the other returning faces, Fiji’s hot-stepping Jerry Tuwai, Team GB’s try-machine Dan Norton, and New Zealand All Black Caleb Clarke will be welcome inclusions at this year’s Games, while there is sure to be several new names to make their Olympics debut.
World Rugby will keep you updated with all the Tokyo 2020 squad announcements as they happen, with Canada the latest team to announce their squad.
Canada’s all-time leading rugby sevens points-scorer Nathan Hirayama and the equally experienced Harry Jones co-captain Canada. The pair have played nearly 700 World Series matches between them.
“It’s an honor to compete for Canada at Tokyo 2020,” Hirayama said. “We travel the world representing Canada, but this will be my first Olympic Games and we’re excited to get to Tokyo. It’s been an unprecedented year, but we’ve been training and preparing as best we can and look forward to competing.”
Squad: Phil Berna, Connor Braid, Andrew Coe, Justin Douglas, Mike Fuailefau, Lucas Hammond, Nathan Hirayama, Harry Jones, Patrick Kay, Matt Mullins, Theo Sauder, Jake Thiel, Conor Trainor
Silver-medallists in 2016, Great Britain will be chomping at the bit for this year’s Olympic Games as several of their star names from Rio return to the sevens fray. England’s Tom Mitchell will captain Team GB once again after leading the outfit to the final five years ago.
Among the squad’s other returning Olympians, record try-scorer Norton will bring a wealth of experience and pace to burn to Japan, while Dan Bibby, Ollie Lindsay-Hague, and Alex Davis have also been selected for their second Games.
Meanwhile, England’s Ethan Waddleton and Harry Glover and Scotland’s Max McFarland are among those to get their first taste of an Olympics, having also impressed during the men’s rugby seven’s tournament at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
During the squad announcement, Team GB Chef de Mission for the Tokyo Olympic Games Mark England, said: “Rugby sevens made its memorable debut at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with both men’s and women’s teams inspiring fans across the globe with the fast pace and excitement that this sport has to offer.”
Squad: Alec Coombes, Ben Harris, Ethan Waddleton, Ross McCann, Alex Davis, Tom Mitchell (capt), Robbie Fergusson, Dan Bibby, Harry Glover, Ollie Lindsay-Hague, Max McFarland, Dan Norton, Tom Bowen (13th player)
Chihito Matsui has been named captain of the Japan Men’s Sevens for this year’s home tournament as Lote Tuqiri, Kazushi Hano and Masakatsu Hiko all make returns to the national sevens Olympics squad after helping Japan to the semi-finals at Rio 2016.
After their men’s 15s team stunned the rugby world at Rugby World Cup 2015 by beating South Africa in the pool stages, Japan’s sevens outfit pulled off a similar shock win at the Deodoro Stadium in Rio de Janeiro by defeating New Zealand 14-12 in their opening group game less than a year later.
Japan went on to secure fourth place after losing 54-14 against South Africa in the bronze medal match. Tuqiri dotted down to help Japan defeat France 12-7 in the quarter-finals before they lost to the eventual gold medal winners Fiji 20-5 in the semi-finals.
Squad: Kippei Ishida, Ryota Kano, Jose Seru, Kameli Raravou Latianara Soejima, Lote Tuqiri, Kazushi Hano, Masakatsu Hikosaka, Yoshikazu Fujita, Brackin Henry, Colin Raijin Bourke, Chihito Matsui (captain), Naoki Motomura
Reserve players: Kazuhiro Goya, Shotaro Tsuoka, Fisipuna Tuiaki, Yoshihiro Noguchi