As the 2012 Olympics begin to fade in memories, expectations for 2016 Olympics spring to life. In 2016 there will be 2 new Olympic events: golf and rugby 7s. Rugby has several forms of the game and rugby 7s is a form played with seven players on a team. Rugby 7s is a very fast game. Games are 14 minutes, two seven minute halves.
On August 25-26th the USA will compete in the 2012 NACRA (North American & Caribbean Rugby Association) Tournament to see which 2 teams will play in the 2013 Rugby 7s World Cup. In 2015 this NACRA Tournament will be the one that will decide which team from the region will go to the 2016 Olympics in Rio. NACRA (which will be very much under the control of the International Rugby Board) might decide to have Olympic qualification based on an early summer 2016 NACRA 7s Tournament.
Regardless of if the tournament is in 2015 or 2016 the USA will need a little luck to get in. By the current plan to be one of the 12 nations to compete in rugby 7s in 2016 you will need to be one of the top 4 finishers in the 2014-2015 HSBC Sevens World Series. This is a competition between 16 countries in 10 tournaments held throughout the world. The USA is one of the teams that competes in this competition and usually finishes around 12th. In 2011-2012 HSBC SWS the USA Eagles placed 11th. The top 4 teams in order were New Zealand, Fiji, England, and Samoa. If England, Scotland, or Wales finish in the top 4 in the 2014-15 season, Great Britain will qualify for the Olympics.
The other way to qualify will be through tournaments held in the 6 International Rugby Board regions: Asia, Oceania, North America & Caribbean (NACRA), South America, Africa, Europe.
Currently the USA is the highest ranked 7s team in our region, but Canada is ranked very close to us and it can come down to the bounce of a ball in Ottawa in August. This year both Canada and USA should go through to the 7s World Cup … but in 2015 there will only be one team going through to the Olympics.
Other men’s teams competing include Bermuda, Bahamas, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados and St Vincent and The Grenadines.
In the Women’s tournament Canada start as favourites to go through and will face competition from the likes of Guyana, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Mexico, Barbados, St Vincent and The Grenadines and the current leading Caribbean women’s team, Trinidad & Tobago. The USA Women have already qualified by their finish in the 2009 Rugby 7s World Cup that was held in Dubai.