Top four needed by Blitzboks for automatic Olympic qualification
The Blitzboks will have to maintain their own high standards if they want automatic qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after World Rugby revealed the criteria on Monday.
The Blitzboks‚ bronze medallists in Rio de Janeiro in 2016‚ have also won the last two World Sevens Series’.
But that will count for little in the race for an automatic spot in Tokyo as one of the top four teams in 2019 World Sevens Series
The SA ladies team will also have a chance to make it into the Olympics through a regional qualifier as they are unlikely to finish in the World Series top four.
And even then it is up to the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) to send them.
SASCOC has a policy of only sending realistic medal contenders to the Oympics.
Japan’s men’s and women’s teams have secured automatic qualification as hosts of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games‚ leaving 11 places in each event to be filled through the qualification process.
Just as for Rio 2016‚ the top four teams in the men’s and women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2019 will confirm their places in Tokyo.
An additional six teams will qualify through the men’s and women’s World Rugby regional association Olympic qualification tournaments.
Regional association tournaments will take place in Africa‚ Asia‚ Europe‚ North America‚ Oceania and South America from June-December 2019.
The top ranked team from each regional tournament will secure qualification.
The final opportunity for Olympic qualification will be at the World Rugby Olympic Repechage tournament.
Twelve teams‚ comprising of the next two highest ranked teams based on 2019 regional qualification rankings from each region‚ will be invited to participate in these Olympic repechage tournaments.
The repechage will take place at a time between the final regional qualification event and June 2020 with the overall winners of the men’s and women’s tournaments claiming the last available places for Tokyo 2020.
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “Rugby sevens’ inclusion in the Olympic Games has had a profound effect on the growth of the sport at all levels.
"As we enter another Olympic qualifying cycle‚ teams have everything to play for.
“We are anticipating another thrilling HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and also expect the regional association qualification tournaments to be highly competitive.
“We look forward to following the fast-paced rugby sevens action across the season ahead as teams come within touching distance of Tokyo 2020 and securing another chance of Olympic glory.”