Last chance for Canadian rugby 7s team to qualify for Olympics
Will face Germany, Uruguay, Sri Lanka in pool play at Monaco tournament
Canada's men's rugby sevens team has one last chance to qualify for the Rio Games.
In order to do that, they'll need to outlast 15 other teams at a tournament in Monaco who are vying for a single berth at the sport's reintroduction to the Olympics.
Canada finished 13th in the HSBC Sevens Series standings, dropping four places from its ninth-place finish in 2014-15. However, the team's recent form at the final sevens event in London was promising.
Canada will face Germany, Uruguay and Sri Lanka in Pool B at the repechage tournament in Monaco, which takes place on June 18 and 19.
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Canada?src=hash">#Canada</a> has been drawn into Pool B with <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Germany?src=hash">#Germany</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/RugbyUruguay">@RugbyUruguay</a> & <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SriLanka?src=hash">#SriLanka</a> for the <a href="https://twitter.com/Rio2016_en">@Rio2016_en</a> repechage! <a href="https://t.co/p73hIXi95J">pic.twitter.com/p73hIXi95J</a>—@RugbyCanada
The following four pools comprise the tournament:
- Pool A: Samoa, Zimbabwe, Tonga, Ireland.
- Pool B: Canada, Germany, Uruguay, Sri Lanka.
- Pool C: Russia, Chile, Morocco, Tunisia.
- Pool D: Hong Kong, Spain, Mexico, South Korea.
The women's repechage takes place the following week in Dublin. Canada's women's team has already qualified for Rio based on its top-four finish in the Women's Sevens Series in 2014-15.
Assessing Canada's chances
While its pool opponents aren't traditional rugby powers, Canada should be wary of the potential threat they possess. Germany has been competing to join the Sevens World Series, reaching the semifinals of the final qualifying event in Hong Kong on April 10. Captain Clemens von Grumbkow headlines a steadily improving side in a country more known for its World Cup-winning soccer team.
Uruguay and Sri Lanka are both wild-card teams that Canada should be able to handle. Should Canada advance past pool play, its challenges only increase in difficulty.
Hong Kong is a steadily improving side, and Russia has given Canada trouble in the past. However, a recent win over Samoa should bolster confidence among players and fans alike. The presumptive favourite from the Pacific Islands won the World Series event in Paris.