World Rugby has announced the location and dates for the men’s and women’s regional association Olympic Games qualification tournaments, which will take place from June – November 2019.
With the top four placed teams in the men’s and women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series the first to guarantee Olympic qualification, the regional qualifiers will form the heart of a truly global qualification process that promotes universality and competitivity.
In the men’s regional qualifiers there are a maximum of six qualification places available with tournaments taking place across each of the six World Rugby regions; Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceania, South America and North America. The winner of each tournament will secure their ticket to Tokyo 2020.
The women’s regional qualifiers will take place across the six World Rugby regions with the winners of Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceania and South America automatically securing their ticket to Tokyo 2020.
In the case of North America, should two women’s teams qualify from the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, there will not be a direct qualification place from the region. The two highest-ranked teams will automatically go into the World Rugby Olympic Repechage tournament, where the top two teams would secure Olympic qualification.
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Regional Qualification tournament schedule:
- 1-2 June, 2019: South America – Lima, Peru (women’s)
- 29- 30 June, 2019: South America – Santiago, Chile (men’s)
- 6-7 July, 2019: North America – George Town, Cayman Islands (combined)
- 13-14 July, 2019: European – Colomiers, France (men’s)
- 13-14 July, 2019: European – Kazan, Russia (women’s)
- 7-9 November, 2019: Oceania – Suva, Fiji (combined)
- 9-10 November, 2019: Asia – Guangzhou, China (women’s)
- 23-24 November, 2019: Asia – Incheon, Korea (men’s)
- TBC, 2019: Africa – Men’s and Women’s qualifier
- TBC, 2020: Olympic Games Repechage
The final opportunity for Olympic qualification will be at the men’s and women’s World Rugby Olympic Repechage tournament which will take place in a window between the end of the regional qualifiers and June 2020. It will feature 12 women’s and 12 men’s teams with the second and third team in each regional competition invited to participate.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “Rugby sevens inclusion in the Olympic Games was a defining moment for the sport. Since the outstanding success of Rio 2016 we have seen sevens grow both on and off the pitch, with the men’s and women’s world series becoming more competitive and the sport attracting new global audiences across the world series and Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018, where broadcast coverage reached over nine million viewers in the US and a record digital audience.
“Throughout the global regional sevens competitions, we have also seen the emergence of teams who can compete among the best of the world when on the world series. The strength and global competitiveness of sevens is growing at pace, as evident at the recent HSBC USA Sevens in Las Vegas where Chile men’s team reached the Challenge Trophy semi-final and last year when Ireland men’s secured the bronze medal at the HSBC London Sevens.
“This year is an important and exciting one for teams as they compete to secure their ticket to Tokyo 2020, we look forward to following the regional qualification tournaments from June onwards as rugby sevens continues its Olympic journey.”
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games rugby sevens competition will take place from 27 July to 1 August, 2020 at the Tokyo Stadium and is anticipated to be a major attraction of the Games following Japan’s hosting of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Since the sport’s successful introduction to the Olympic Games, Nielsen research has estimated that the rugby sevens fan-base grew by more than 30 million as a result, expanding international reach, with emerging markets such as USA, China, India and Brazil showing substantial growth.