Rio 2016: Women's Rugby Sevens Preview

Rugby Sevens makes its long-awaited debut in the Olympics, with the women's event which begins on day one of Rio 2016

Rio 2016: Women's Rugby Sevens Preview
The 12 women's Rugby Sevens captains line-up under the Olympic rings (image via:

Rugby Sevens makes it's long-awaited Olympic Games debut on Saturday when the women get their competition underway. 

The Deodoro Stadium will play host to the 12 best women's teams on the planet, and the 144 players involved while realise a childhood dream and become Olympians. 

Saturday's schedule sees each side play the first two of their three group matches, before they return on Sunday to complete the group stage which will then be followed by the quarter-finals. The players will then reconvene on Monday, with the teams knocked-out battling for 12th-5th place, and the top four taking part in semi-finals ahead of the medal matches. 

2015/16 Series champions head-up Group A challenge

Favourites for gold in Rio are the Australian women, who stormed to their first Sevens Series title in 2015/16, winning three of the five leg's, with a third-place and runners-up spot gained in the other two events. 

Australia's womens Sevens side celebrate winning the 2015/16 series (image via:

Ellia Green has established herself as one of the best player's on the Sevens circuit, and her 17 tries this season were a big part in Australia's success under head coach Tim Walsh

Australia's opponents in Pool A include relative unkowns Colombia who appeared in just one leg of the World Series this year, and also Fiji who are coached by former England Sevens player Chris Cracknell. The Fijiana as they are known finished eighth in the overall series standings this year and are led by influential skipper Ana Maria Roqica

Making up Group A are the USA who blew hot and cold throughout the season. Poor showings in Dubai and Canada were followed up by impressive performances in Brazil and their home leg in Atlanta which will give them hope of grabbing a medal in Rio this week. 

Kiwis face off against European duo in Pool B

Series runners-up New Zealand will be favourites to progress from Pool B following their strong end to the season. Despite not winning any titles this season, they finished in the top three on four out of five occasions and will therefore be confident of claiming an Olympic medal in Rio

Portia Woodman training in Rio (image via:

The leading try-scorer in the series this season, Portia Woodman, is New Zealand's player to watch, with the 25-year-old having crossed 24 times over the five leg's. 

France will most likely offer New Zealand the sternest test in Group B having performed well over the season, while Kenya and repechage victors Spain up probably battling for a quarter-final spot. 

Hosts handed tough task in up for grabs Pool C

Hosts Brazil will take part in a tough-looking Pool C which also includes Canada, Great Britain and Japan.

The Brazilians didn't disgrace themselves when taking part in three leg's of the World Series this season, finishing 10th overall and one place ahead of the Japanese who will they will potentially be jostling with for quarter-final qualification. 

The other two sides in the group are expected to progress in the top two positions, yet after each finishing on 74 points this season it could be tough to separate them. 

Danielle Waterman in action during the 2014 Rugby World Cup (image via:

Great Britain, who competed as England this season, are captained by 2014 World Cup winner Emily Scarratt and include another star from that success in Danielle Waterman

Having finished one place above of England in the series standings this season, Canada will fancy their chances of success in Pool C. A win in France over Australia in the series denouement this season stands them in good stead, with their main source of tries coming from winger Karen Paquin.