The pools for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics rugby sevens competitions have been announced by World Rugby.
The competition is set to take place in one month at Tokyo Stadium, Japan.
The 12 men’s and women’s teams have been allocated pools according to their rankings based on performances at the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and other World Rugby sanctioned tournaments over the past two years.
The men’s pools have some appealing encounters for fans with pool A having the current Rugby World Cup sevens champions New Zealand and World Series Champions Australia.
These two met in the final of the last Series event in Vancouver. The All Blacks Sevens won 17-14 in a tightly contested and tension-filled match. Joining them in Pool A are Argentina, who finished sixth in Rio, alongside Olympic debutantes the Republic of Korea who qualified for Tokyo by winning the Asian qualification tournament after they overcame Hong Kong.
Pool B has three of the top four placed teams from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games pooled together. Reigning Olympic champions Fiji will face silver medalists Great Britain and hosts Japan. Japan finished fourth in Rio. Olympic debutantes Canada who won bronze at the last HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series event, which took place in Vancouver last year are also in pool B.
Pool C has Rio bronze medalists South Africa and USA. Joining them are Kenya, who qualified courtesy of their first Rugby Africa men’s sevens title since 2015. Olympic debutantes Ireland, who secured the final spot with a 28-19 victory over France in the World Rugby Sevens Repechage in Monaco earlier this month also join them.
In the women’s tournament, 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.
Pool A has current Rugby World Cup Sevens and World Series title holders in New Zealand. They will face the Russian Olympic Committee team, Great Britain and Kenya.
Pool B is the only pool without an Olympic debutante as Rio 2016 bronze medalists Canada are joined by France, Fiji, and Brazil.
France qualifies for Tokyo via the World Rugby Sevens Repechage in Monaco earlier this month by winning all games. Brazil qualified for Tokyo through 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.
Pool C will have the hosts Japan with Rio 2016 Olympic champions Australia. The USA team, who qualified directly for Tokyo are also in the pool together with Olympic debutantes China, who secured their place in Tokyo with an emphatic 33-0 victory over Hong Kong in the Asian qualifier final.