Russia confirmed as top seed in 16-team event
With just one place remaining for teams hoping to qualify for the women’s sevens event at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the pools and match schedule for the eagerly anticipated global repechage have been confirmed.
Favourites and number-one seeds Russia have been drawn in Pool A alongside Samoa, Zimbabwe and Madagascar for the two-day tournament, which takes place in Dublin on 25-26 June. Hosts Ireland are in a challenging pool with China, Portugal and Trinidad and Tobago and should they progress into the knock-out stages can expect to face stiff opposition from the likes of Spain, Hong Kong and Argentina In what will be one of the highlights of day one, the women in green have been scheduled to face the Chinese at 18:46, in the last game of the day in front of what is expected to be a big crowd at the UCD Bowl, Dublin.
Pool A: Russia, Samoa, Zimbabwe and Madagascar
Pool B: Spain, Mexico, Venezuela and Tunisia
Pool C: Ireland, China, Portugal and Trinidad and Tobago
Pool D: Hong Kong, Argentina, Kazakhstan and Cook Islands
Two teams from each pool of four will progress to the quarter-finals where it will be a straight shoot-out for progression into the final, which will be played at 18:30 local time on day two. Only the winners will join the 11 other sides in Rio for the historic return of rugby to the summer Olympic Games programme after a break of 92 years. The women’s sevens at the Games will take place from 6-8 August in the Deodoro Olympic Park with the men’s event running from 9-11 August at the same venue.
The Pool D clash of Argentina and Kazakhstan will kick off the tournament on 25 June at 10:00 with some mouth-watering matches lined up for day one. While Russia and Spain have already secured their places as core teams for the 2016-17 HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, the highest ranked team outside of those two will join the series next season, providing another layer of context for what promises to be a thrilling repechage tournament in Dublin.
World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “The women’s repechage tournament in Dublin will help build excitement towards Rio and really the stakes could not be higher for these 16 teams. Only one of them will be on the plane to Brazil and so there is no room for error.
“Russia are perhaps the form team at the moment but Spain have also shown themselves to be a tough side and Ireland will have the benefit of playing in front of their passionate home supporters so they, too, will believe that they can do it. With plenty of other strong sides making their way to Dublin, it is shaping up to be an unpredictable and competitive event.” IRFU Tournament Director Garrett Tubridy said: “The tournament in UCD is a fantastic opportunity for families and Irish sports fans to witness an Olympic qualification event live. With rugby sevens appearing at the Olympics for the first time in history, this will be the last stop on the way to Rio and we’re hoping to see a big turnout of supporters over the two days.”