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Last chance for Blitzboks as World Rugby confirm Olympic repechage details

By Finn Morton
Players of South Africa lift the trophy after their teams victory during day 2 of HSBC Dubai Sevens at Sevens Stadium on December 3, 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Gaspafotos/MB Media/Getty Images)

SVNS Series heavyweights the Blitzboks have one last opportunity to book their place at the 2024 Paris Olympics with World Rugby confirming the location for the sevens repechage tournament.

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Stade Louis II in Monaco will host 12 men’s and 12 women’s teams on June 21-23 to decide the final qualifiers for the highly anticipated Paris Summer Games next July.

Harbouring ambitions of representing their nation on the world’s biggest sporting stage, it all comes down to this. With 22 of the 24 sevens teams confirmed for Paris, there are no more second chances.

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Along with Dubai SVNS champions South Africa, SVNS Series regulars Canada, Great Britain and Spain will channel a sense of rugby desperation as they look to make their Olympic dreams a reality.

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Brazil, Chile, China, Hong Kong China, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Uganda are also in the mix on the men’s side of the drawn.

The women’s tournament will see Argentina, China, Czechia, Hong Kong China, Kenya, Jamacia, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Poland, Samoa and Uganda go head-to-head in the sovereign city-state.

“The inclusion of rugby sevens in the Olympic Games at Rio 2016 had a profound effect on the sport, attracting an estimated 30 million new fans globally.  Rugby sevens is set to bring a party atmosphere to the start of the Olympic Games Paris 2024 with music, a vibrant and colourful crowd alongside the incredible skill, speed and passion on show from some of the best athletes in the world on the pitch,” a World Rugby statement reads.

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“The Olympic Final Qualification Tournament comes at a hugely exciting time for rugby sevens.  The relaunched HSBC SVNS Series got off to an incredible start in Dubai and Cape Town, before progressing to Perth in January.  The new series, culminating in a winner-takes-all Grand Final in Madrid, provides a clear pathway for rugby sevens teams across the world to regular competition between the best teams and the ultimate platform of the Olympic Games.”

All six World Rugby regions are represented in the already qualified 11 men’s and 11 women’s teams. France, New Zealand, Argentina, Fiji and Australia are off to the Games in the men’s draw.

Six regional qualifiers have also booked their place, those being Uruguay, Ireland, USA, Kenya, Japan and Oceania Sevens qualifiers Samoa.

The Olympic-bound nations in the women’s competition are New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, USA, Brazil, Canada, Great Britain, South Africa, Fiji and Japan.

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“The Olympic Games are the biggest multi-sport event in the world and a stage like no other for rugby players to share with other incredible athletes from across the globe,” World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said.

“The prize of being able to compete for your country for an Olympic medal is an incredibly precious one and I am sure we will see some intense and passionate world-class rugby in Monaco as teams compete for those highly coveted final qualification places to achieve their Olympic dreams.

“We know from Rugby World Cup 2023 what an amazing rugby show Paris can put on and the Paris 2024 Olympics Games will be no different with knowledgeable and passionate fans filling the stadium.

“It is a hugely exciting time for rugby sevens, with the launch of HSBC SVNS we are showing what our sport can offer not just on the pitch but through music, live experiences, food and of course, the incredible abilities of some of the fittest, strongest and most impressive athletes on the planet.

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“The future is very bright for rugby sevens and I would like to wish all the best to those competing to join us at one of the biggest shows on earth at the Olympic Games Paris 2024.”

Following the success of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France, sevens is expected to capture the interest and intrigue of the sporting world once again at the Paris Games.

Rugby sevens will kick off the Olympic Games at Paris’ Stade de France on 24 July 2024.

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M
Mzilikazi 6 hours ago
Swashbuckling Hurricanes and Harlequins show scrum still matters

I always enjoy a good scrum based article. Thanks, Nick. The Hurricanes are looking more and more the team to beat down here in Australasia. They are a very well balanced team. And though there are far fewer scrums in the game these days, destructive power in that area is a serious weapon, especially an attacking scrum within in the red zone. Aumua looked very good as a young first year player, but then seemed to fade. He sure is back now right in the picture for the AB’s. And I would judge that Taukei’aho is in a bit of a slump currently. Watching him at Suncorp a few weeks ago, I thought he was not as dominant in the game as I would have expected. I am going to raise an issue in that scrum at around the 13 min mark. I see a high level of danger there for the TH lifted off the ground. He is trapped between the opposition LH and his own powerful SR. His neck is being put under potentially dangerous pressure. The LH has, in law , no right to use his superior scrummaging skill….getting his head right in on the breastbone of the TH…..to force him up and off the ground. Had the TH popped out of the scrum, head up and free, there is no danger, that is a clear penalty to the dominant scrum. The law is quite clear on this issue: Law 37 Dangerous play and restricted practices in a scrum. C:Intentionally lifting an opponent off their feet or forcing them upwards out of the scrum. Sanction: Penalty. Few ,if any, referees seem to be aware of this law, and/or the dangers of the situation. Matthew Carly, refereeing Clermont v Munster in 2021, penalised the Munster scrum, when LH Wycherly was lifted very high, and in my view very dangerously, by TH Slimani. Lifting was coached in the late ‘60’s/70’s. Both Lions props, Ray McLouglin, and “Mighty Mouse” McLauchlan, were expert and highly successful at this technique. I have seen a photo, which I can’t find online atm, of MM with a NZ TH(not an AB) on his head, MM standing upright as the scrum disintegrates.

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