Rugby

Rio gets real – Olympic Games 7s teams announced.

Rio gets real – Olympic Games 7s teams announced.

A dream brewing since October 2009 has come true for a history making collection of Australian Rugby Union players.  It was then, almost seven years ago now, that Rugby 7s got the tick of approval to be added to the Summer Olympic program and would make its debut at the Rio Olympic Games. Well that dream became a reality for 24 of our hardest working rugby players as our Men’s and Women’s Rugby Olympic Games 7s teams were announced for the Games which kick off on 5 August.

Coaches Tim Walsh (women’s team) and Andy Friend (men’s team) have both picked squads of players predominantly full of players who have proved their worth on the 7s circuit for Australia this season, and prior. Whilst Walsh has had a fairly stable squad all season, whilst taking the opportunity to blood some impressive rookies, Friend has juggled more player turn over through injury and trialing more traditional XVs players.

The Women’s Team

Squad:

Walsh has understandably stuck with the players they have done the job this year. It’s a squad with tremendous depth but built around the experienced and hard-working Shannon Perry and Sharni Williams (co-captains of the team), the skillfully astute play-makers of Charlotte Caslick and Emilee Cherry and the strike power of Emma Tonegato and Ellia Green out wide.  Throw into the mix the super-talented Chloe Dalton, the perennially running Alicia Quirk and the rest and you get an understanding of how this squad has performed so well this season.

Oz Womens 7s

Pools:

The 12 teams are split into three pools with each team playing each of the other sides in their group once. The top two teams from each group will progress to the quarter finals along with the two third placed teams with the best records.

Oz Womens Draw

Draw:

Pool A (all times AEST)

7 August:

Australia v Colombia @ 2:30am

Australia v Fiji @ 7:30am

8 August:

Australia v USA @ 2:30am

Quarter Finals from 6am

The quarter-finals are then seeded with the team with top qualifier from the pool stage v 8th best, 2nd best qualifier v 7th best, 3rd best qualifier v 6th best, 4th best v 5th best. The winners of the quarter finals progress to the semi-finals. The winners of the semi-finals playoff for gold and silver with the losers of the semi-finals playing off for bronze.

Expectations:

Given their stunning year so far they will enter the tournament as strong gold medal favorites. Their number 1 ranking gives them a handy tour through the early stages with the main medals contenders likely to be New Zealand or Canada. Canada is the only team in the competition that has defeated them in this year’s World Series. Australia for the win.


The Men’s Team

Squad:

Friend has forgone any of the big name XVs such as Quade Cooper, Nick Cummins and Henry Speight (although there is talk Speight may be back in contention subject to how Nick Malouf recovers from an injury). Whilst they were all given their opportunity, the ‘regulars’ really stood up this year and deserve their shot. John Porch, who came to GAGR’s attention with some eye-grabbing NRC performances, is probably the bolter of the squad but results will be dependent on the experienced heads of captain Ed Jenkins, Cameron Clark, Lewis Holland, James Stannard, Jesse Parahi and Con Foley all being at their best, with the teenaged Henry Hutchison to bring the speed out wide.

Oz Mens 7s

Pools:

The 12 teams are split into three pools with each team playing each of the other sides in their group once. The top two teams from each group will progress to the quarter finals along with the two third placed teams with the best records.

Oz Mens Draw

Draw:

Pool A (all times AEST)

10 August:

Australia v France @ 12:00am

Australia v Spain @ 5:00am

11 August:

Australia v South Africa @ 12:30am

Quarter Finals from 6am

The quarter-finals are then seeded with the team with top qualifier from the pool stage v 8th best, 2nd best qualifier v 7th best, 3rd best qualifier v 6th best, 4th best v 5th best. The winners of the quarter finals progress to the semi-finals. The winners of the semi-finals playoff for gold and silver with the losers of the semi-finals playing off for bronze.

Expectations:

Being drawn with Spain, the last (and somewhat surprising) qualifiers for this tournament gives Australia a tremendous boost to their chances of making it through to the Quarter Finals. South Africa, in their pool, hold the edge over them this year but their matches through the World Series have been humdingers. They actually haven’t played the other two teams in their pool this year. Of the 20 times they played the top three teams this year, they experienced just three wins indicating a medal will be a tough ask. I’ll back them though to bring home a bronze.

 

Rugby
@RugbyReg

The original prop in a prop's body, but thankfully I have the rugby mind of a prop as well.

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