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Blitzboks face Australia, France and Spain in Rio Games
- Updated: June 28, 2016
By Mark Etheridge
The moment South Africa’s elite sevens rugby players have been waiting for has finally arrived… the draw for the Rio Olympics which kick off in just over a month’s time!
South Africa’s Blitzboks have been drawn in Pool B for the inaugural Olympic sevens rugby event to be staged over three days between 9-11 August.
They’ll face fellow southern hemisphere opponents Australia as well as France and Spain.
Neil Powell’s charges are seeded second for the Olympics with World Rugby Sevens Series winners Fiji tops. The Pacific Islanders play US, Argentina and host nation Brazil.
South Africa’s group opponents are ranked fifth, eighth and 11th respectively.
In the the third pool, New Zealand are drawn with Great Britain, Kenya and Japan.
The tournament format will see the top two teams from each pool, plus the two best third-placed sides, progress to the quarter-finals.
The Blitzboks go into the tournament as Commonwealth champions two years ago after having beaten New Zealand in the final at Ibrox, Glasgow.
Powell has already named his trimmed down his squad to 19 and must make cuts to the final squad of 12 in mid-July.
The draw was made in Rio and World Rugby chairman Bernard Lapasset said: ‘Today’s announcement represents another exciting milestone on rugby sevens’ road to Rio 2016. Confirmation of the pools bring the competitions to life and add a further injection of excitement for teams and fans alike.
‘We were determined to return rugby to the Olympic Games because we knew inclusion would be game-changing for our sport.
‘We knew it would open the door to reach and inspire new participants and fans worldwide and enable our top men’s and women’s players to realise their dreams of becoming Olympians, competing alongside the greatest athletes in the world. That dream is now very much a reality and we are excited and honoured to be back on sport’s greatest stage.’
The Olympics rugby sevens draw (seedings in brackets)
Pool A: Fiji (one), USA (six), Argentina (seven), Brazil (12)
Pool B: South Africa (two), Australia (five), France (eight), Spain (11)
Pool C: New Zealand (three), Great Britain (four), Kenya (nine), Japan (10)