With less than four weeks till the men’s tournament kicks off the Tokyo Olympic Games, an excited rugby community looked on as the pools were announced.
All 24 men’s and women’s teams now know who they will have to go up against to reach the next level. They will now have ample time to discuss the strategies they will need to prepare for the teams they will face in the first round of the tournament.
As World Rugby announced the pools we can now all look forward to which matches will probably keep us on the edge of our seat. These must watch head to head battle are the games that will make in or break it for some teams.
In the Men’s tournament, New Zealand vs Australia in Pool A is a must watch. All Eyes are on the All Blacks after winning the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2018 and the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in 2020. They will have to go head to head with their pacific neighbors at an early stage in the tournament. All though the All Blacks have beaten the Australians comfortably in their last two encounters, six in Auckland, New Zealand and six in Townsville , Australia. It is still not a sure win for the Kiwi’s as the Australian can still pull off a hat trick in Japan.
In the men’s Pool B, Fiji and Great Britain will be a rematch of the 2016 Rio Olympics. Both teams reached the finals five years ago, but Fiji proved to be on fire as they refused to let Great Britain gain any momentum. Fiji won the first ever gold medal for rugby in the Olympics while Team GB settled for silver medals. Fans will be treated to a throwback match of the 2016 Olympics as these two teams settle a score between themselves.
Jerry Tuwai and Dan Norton will definitely be keeping fans on the edge of their seat as they battle it out in a foot race like never before.
And finally, in Pool C of the men’s tournaments, South Africa is set to face team USA. The Blitzboks are the incoming Bronze medalists of the Olympic Games, and will be coming in hot as they won back to back World Series titles in 2017 and 2018.
Pool C will be a tough battle for all four teams as it consists of USA, Kenya and Ireland as well.
USA has been on an upscale climb since their Olympic debut, they made at least five world series finals matches in a row and finished second in the 2019 season.
Ireland is also a team to beat as they have been fast improving in the sevens circuit, and fresh from their win in Monaco at the Olympic Repechage after beating France. Jordan Conroy is a name that’s been buzzing around the sevens world as the big superpower of the Irish side.
In the Women’s Pools, Pool A will feature a battle between New Zealand and the Olympic debutants Russia, officially called the Russian Olympic Committee Team.
Russia will be making their Olympic debut with the toughest team on the entire tournament as they will have to face the Black Ferns at such an early stage in the games.
New Zealand has been on fire, having a winning streak against the defending gold medalists, Australia in their last two tournaments. Ever since their defeat to the Aussies in the 2016 Rio Olympic finals, the Black Ferns have sworn to push them selves to a higher level and they have. Winning two major tournaments since then and beating every team in their way.
The Black Ferns will be a tough group of ladies to face off with, but in such an early stage, Russia might just have a chance to catch Portia Woodman off guard.
In Pool B of the women’s games, Olympic bronze medalists Canada will battle it out with France in the pool stages.
This will be one of the most nail biting match ups in the tournament as France has been gaining much momentum after recruiting some of their XVs ladies to join the squad.
Not even to mention the French speedsters, Séraphine Okemba, Anne-Cécile Ciofani and Lina Guerin will all be in Tokyo to make sure it rains with French tries.
Canada is well prepared with their own line up as Bianca Ferrella and Charity Williams will be wearing the maple leaf jersey once again.
Finally, Pool C, Australia vs USA. Australia will be on a high as the incoming gold medalists but their performance in their last two tournaments have been far less than expected of the reigning champions.
USA will be a podium contender as they have been continuously been improving in their game with the Physicality players like Alev Kelter brings to the field and the speed from Kris Thomas. The USA vs Australia game will be one for the books .