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Sevens Pools Unveiled For Olympic Games In Paris

Sevens Pools Unveiled For Olympic Games In Paris

Lucy Rock and Harry McNulty will captain the Ireland Sevens teams at the Olympic Games in Paris next month

Lucy Rock and Harry McNulty will captain the Ireland Sevens teams at the Olympic Games in Paris next month ©SPORTSFILE/Harry Murphy

With the line-ups now complete in the Men’s and Women’s competitions, the pools for Rugby Sevens at the Olympic Games in Paris have been confirmed for what promises to be a coming-of-age tournament for the sport on the global stage.

On Olympic Day, World Rugby and Paris 2024 have unveiled the pools for the Olympic Rugby Sevens tournaments which will take place at the Stade de France from July 24 to 30.

The 12 Men’s and 12 Women’s teams were allocated to three pools of four teams based on their rankings due to performances over the last two years of the HSBC SVNS Series, Challenger Series, and other World Rugby-sanctioned tournaments.

Making their much-anticipated Olympic debut, the Ireland Women, coached by Allan Temple-Jones and captained by Lucy Rock, will face recent SVNS Grand Final winners Australia, Great Britain, and fellow Olympic newcomers South Africa in Pool B.

This will be the Ireland Men’s side’s second consecutive Olympics, having reached Tokyo through the Repechage route. James Topping’s charges, skippered by Harry McNulty, have been drawn in Pool A for Paris, alongside top seeds New Zealand, today’s Repechage winners South Africa, and Japan.

All six World Rugby regions are represented among the 24 teams who secured their spots in Paris via the HSBC SVNS Series and regional qualification competitions.

Men’s Competition (July 24-25 and 27)

Hosts France will start their Olympic campaign in Pool C together with two-time Olympic champions Fiji, the USA, and debutants Uruguay.

In front of their home supporters, they will aim to replicate their title-winning performance from Madrid recently where they lifted the inaugural HSBC SVNS Grand Final title.

SVNS Series League winners Argentina will also face tough competition in Pool B where they will meet Australia, Samoa, and Kenya.

Pool A sees top seeds New Zealand grouped with Ireland, who were this season’s League runners-up, Japan, and South Africa who just qualified from the World Rugby Sevens Repechage in Monaco.

Ireland earned their first SVNS Series victory over New Zealand earlier this season, winning 36-21 in Cape Town where Terry Kennedy scored a hat-trick of tries. They also ran them close in the Singapore Cup final and at the Madrid Grand Final, losing 17-14 and 22-17 respectively.

Ranked as the sixth seeds for Paris, Topping’s side had a strong record against South Africa this season. They won twice in Madrid last month to make it five wins in six meetings with the Blitzboks, their most in a single SVNS Series in their history.

Ireland lost their Tokyo Games opener to South Africa three years ago, falling to a 33-14 defeat. Japan were relegated from the 2023 World Sevens Series, but won the Asian Olympic qualifying tournament on home soil last November.

Ireland ran out 40-7 winners of their most recent encounter with Japan. Two of their Paris 2024 squad members, Niall Comerford and Zac Ward, touched down during the pool game at the 2023 London Sevens.

New Zealand Argentina Fiji
Ireland Australia France
South Africa Samoa USA
Japan Kenya Uruguay

Women’s Competition (July 28-30)

In the Women’s competition, the battle will also be fierce with three very competitive pools. Reigning Olympic champions and SVNS Series League winners New Zealand will be strong contenders and face Fiji, Canada, and freshly-qualified China in Pool A.

Pool B will also provide fascinating competition with the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and 2024 SVNS Grand Final champions, Australia, facing Ireland and South Africa, who both make their Olympic debuts, and Great Britain.

Notably, fifth seeds Ireland defeated both Britain (31-7) and Australia (19-14) on the way to winning their first ever SVNS Series tournament in Perth in January. They also played both teams in Madrid recently, losing 33-14 to Australia but overcoming the GB outfit on a 20-0 scoreline.

Key to Ireland’s best performances against the Australians has been laying solid foundations in the first half. Tries from Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe and Rock before the break set the tone for that historic final triumph in Perth five months ago.

Neighbours Britain have been regular opponents for Ireland on the SVNS Series circuit of late, with the girls in green winning six of the teams’ nine clashes.

There have been play-off victories in Cape Town, Perth, Vancouver, and Madrid this season, and intriguingly they could also meet at next weekend’s final leg of the Rugby Europe Sevens Championship in Hamburg.

South Africa qualified for the Olympics by winning the Africa Sevens title last year, but suffered SVNS Series relegation earlier this month.

Ireland played the Springbok Women’s Sevens twice during the season, coming out on top in Vancouver (28-7) and Hong Kong (20-7) with Murphy Crowe notching four tries across the two pool fixtures.

Meanwhile, host nation France have been placed in Pool C as one of the three top ranked teams, and will look to improve on their silver medal at Tokyo 2020 with pool matches against the USA, Japan, and Brazil.

New Zealand Australia France
Fiji Ireland USA
Canada Great Britain Japan
China South Africa Brazil

World Rugby Chairman, Sir Bill Beaumont, commented: “We are thrilled to unveil the Rugby Sevens Olympic pools for what promises to be an epic, coming-of-age tournament for our sport in the French capital.

“In one month’s time, our sport will have the honour of kicking off Paris 2024 in style with an exciting and spectacular brand of rugby that will excite the hundreds of thousands of fans at the Stade de France, and capture millions more hearts and minds of those watching around the world.

“Rugby Sevens is a fantastic engine to grow our sport and, on its third Olympic appearance, is already proving to be one of the attractions of the Games with record enthusiasm for tickets, mouthwatering rivalries, and two strong French national teams hoping to achieve their Olympic dreams on home soil.

“We know from the 2023 15s Rugby World Cup what an amazing rugby show Paris can put on, and the Olympic Games will be no different with knowledgeable and passionate fans expected to fill the stadium and create an incredible atmosphere for the players and teams to showcase their unique combination of speed, strength, and sensational skills.”

Rugby Sevens is expected to be one of the highlights of Paris 2024, following the resounding success of last year’s Rugby World Cup in France. All the action will take place at the Stade de France, which was the venue for the opening match and final of the World Cup.

The Men’s tournament will take place from July 24 to 27, with the Women’s event following on July 28 to 30. The Men’s gold medal match, on July 27, will see the first team sport gold medal of the Games awarded.

Aurélie Merle, the Paris 2024 Sports Executive Director, added: “On behalf of Paris 2024, I would like to warmly congratulate the two final teams that have qualified for the Olympic Rugby Sevens tournaments. Each tournament will be fiercely competitive, with challenging pools promising a spectacular display.

“Rugby Sevens will have the honour of kicking off the Olympic Games in Paris, with the competition beginning two days before the Opening Ceremony.

“France is a country passionate about rugby and we will welcome all teams to a refurbished and packed Stade de France of 69,000 seats, where the atmosphere will be electric.

“With just a few weeks to go, all the conditions are in place for teams to perform at their best on the pitch while having an unforgettable experience.”

The official Gilbert-designed Quantum match ball that will be used across the two competitions has been revealed, following the World Rugby Sevens Repechage in Monaco.

Developed for the unique style of the Sevens game, the multi matrix grip offers higher, more defined pimples which increases the ball’s surface area, enhancing the handling and offload skills shown by Sevens players.

Inspired by the Paris 2024 brand, the official Gilbert ball design features the Stade de France venue colour system at its core with the famous Olympic rings, Paris 2024, World Rugby, and Gilbert at the centre of each panel.

Teams have been allocated into their pools based on their Olympic seedings, with the first ranked team placed in Pool A, second in Pool B, third in Pool C, then fourth in Pool C, fifth in Pool B, sixth in Pool A, etc.

The Olympic seedings were determined by the combined points gained by teams in the 2023 World Sevens Series and 2024 SVNS Series, as well as performances in the Challenger Series and other World Rugby-sanctioned tournaments for teams not competing in the SVNS Series.

The Rugby Sevens Olympic match schedule will be confirmed shortly. For ticket information, please click here.

Meanwhile, the Wheelchair Rugby pools for the Paralympic Games in Paris were also announced, with the competition taking place at Champ-de-Mars Arena from August 29 to September 2. Visit the World Wheelchair Rugby website for more information here.