- The World Rugby Sevens Repechage takes place in Monaco on 18-20 June
- Two women’s and one men’s teams will earn Olympic qualification for Tokyo 2020
- Twelve women’s and nine men’s teams will compete at Stade Louis II
- Captains welcomed by His Serene Highness Prince Albert II at Monaco Palace
The World Rugby Sevens Repechage will kick off in Monaco on Friday 18 June as the competing teams aim to secure the remaining two women’s and one men’s qualification spots for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The playing squads have been finalised and on Thursday the captains were welcomed by His Serene Highness Prince Albert II in a launch event at Monaco Palace.
The action gets under way at 18:00 local time on Friday as Zimbabwe face Mexico in Pool A of the men’s competition. Play continues throughout Saturday and Sunday when up to 5,000 spectators will be present at Stade Louis II, culminating in the two women’s finals and the one men’s final on Sunday evening.
The men’s tournament will consist of nine teams following the withdrawal of Uganda. Chile, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Jamaica, Mexico, Samoa, Tonga, and Zimbabwe will take the field in Monaco.
The match schedule has been developed with player welfare at heart and no team will have more than three games per day.
In the women’s competition, the 12 teams will compete in three pools of four teams. 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 competition. With two Olympic qualification places available, both winners in the final two games will claim their ticket to Tokyo.
The draw saw Colombia and France, the only women’s teams to have participated in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, paired together in a strong looking Pool C alongside Hong Kong and Madagascar.
All four teams in Pool A will be competing at their second Olympic repechage with Russia, Argentina, Mexico and Samoa all having participated at the qualifying tournament prior to Rio 2016, the Russians having lost 19-12 to Spain in the final in Dublin. In Pool B, highest-ranked Papua New Guinea will face Kazakhstan, Jamaica and Tunisia.
For the men’s competition, the nine teams in contention for the final Olympic qualification place have been drawn into two pools. Teams will play against all opponents in their pools with the top two teams from each pool progressing through two knockout stages, with the winner of the final booking their ticket to Tokyo.
The men’s draw saw HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series core teams Samoa and Ireland paired in Pool A together with Tonga, Zimbabwe and Mexico. France are the top seeded team based on their performances in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series where they finished sixth in 2020 and they are in Pool B along with Hong Kong, Chile, Jamaica. All teams in Pool B will record a bye against Uganda following their withdrawal from the tournament.
World Rugby Chief Executive Alan Gilpin said: “With just over a month to go to the Olympic Games in Tokyo, we can look forward to a very exciting Repechage event in Monaco as the competing teams aim to fulfil their Olympic dreams by securing one of the three remaining qualification spots for Tokyo.
“Rugby sevens is a fast-paced, vibrant and dynamic sport as showcased by the ‘This Is How We Sevens’ campaign launched earlier this week and I have no doubt that the fans present in Monaco and watching around the globe will be treated to thrilling action over the next three days.
“Player welfare is our top priority and a lot of diligent work has gone on behind the scenes to ensure this event can take place in the safest and most secure manner possible during these unusual times. I would like to thank their Serene Highnesses and the Monegasque Rugby Union for supporting this event and providing the players with an excellent venue to showcase their outstanding talents.”
The Repechage follows the recent launch of World Rugby’s eye-catching ‘This Is How We Sevens’ campaign, which aims to engage fans with the vibrancy, diversity and dynamic spirit of sevens as excitement builds towards the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The victorious teams in Monaco will join the 21 teams already qualified for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. To ensure the teams are as best prepared as possible for the Olympic Games, World Rugby is investing US$4 million into Olympic qualified unions’ sevens programmes and towards the costs of hosting a number of high-performance preparation events, as well as the Repechage tournament.
The Olympic men’s rugby sevens competition will take place from 26-28 July, with the women’s tournament following on 29-31 July. All the action will take place at Tokyo Stadium, which hosted the opening match of Rugby World Cup 2019.
The inclusion of rugby sevens for the first time in the Olympic Games at Rio 2016 had a profound effect on the sport, attracting an estimated 30 million new fans globally and the sport is expected to be one of the most highly anticipated events of the Tokyo Games, following the outstanding success of Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.
Fans around the globe can watch all of the Repechage action from Monaco live and free as the tournament will be streamed on World Rugby’s website and Facebook and You Tube channels.
For local fans, tickets are available for the 19 and 20 June and prices start at 10 euros per day. Ticketing information can be found at www.monaco-rugby.com.