History-making Ireland Sevens learn Olympic fate after pool draw

History-making Ireland Sevens learn Olympic fate after pool draw

Updated Mon 12:04 PM

IRELAND HAVE DRAWN South Africa, USA and Kenya in Pool C for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Rugby Sevens competition, as they prepare for an historic first appearance at the Games.

Anthony Eddy’s side qualified in stunning fashion after their memorable victory at the World Rugby Sevens Repechage in Monaco earlier this month, and attention now focuses to Tokyo Stadium from 26-28 July.

As was decided in today’s draw, 12 teams have been allocated to three pools of four teams, according to rankings based upon performances in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and other World Rugby-sanctioned tournaments over the past two years.

Ireland have played all three of their Pool C opponents during the truncated 2020 World Rugby Sevens Series.

Last year, Ireland drew 19-19 with South Africa, bronze medallists at Rio 2016, while they locked horns with Kenya in Capetown in December 2019 and faced USA as recently as May.

“We are familiar with these teams from the World Series and the reality is there are no easy games at this level,” Eddy, the IRFU Director of Sevens and Women’s Rugby, said.

“We will prepare well for the Pool matches and look forward to each game. I think the Monaco tournament experience will put us in a good position for Tokyo.”

“After letting the emotions of the last week settle, it is all starting to get very real for the squad and today’s announcement is an exciting marker for us,” Ireland captain Billy Dardis added.

“We’ll focus on preparing for these three teams now over the coming weeks and it’s an exciting time for us. We’re really looking forward to getting over to Tokyo and stepping onto the Olympic stage.”

Rivalries are renewed in Pool A as current Rugby World Cup Sevens and World Series champions New Zealand and Australia are pitted against each other, along with Argentina, who were sixth in Rio, and Olympic debutants the Republic of Korea.

In Pool B, it’s reigning Olympic champions Fiji, silver medallists Great Britain and hosts Japan, who finished fourth in Rio, along with another Olympic debutant in Canada.

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