TOKYO, JAPAN – Excitement is beginning to set in with both the fans and the athletes as the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is on the horizon. For the rugby community, fans of the sport are gearing up for a Sevens tournament from both the men and women, which promises to be full of unmissable rugby action.
Perhaps alongside the World Cup, this is the pinnacle of the sport. In fact, it’s the biggest sporting occasion in the world, although, for purist rugby fans, a Sevens offering will never fully compete with a traditional full-sided match-up. Still, don’t let that put you off. Despite being in its infancy, this is an occasion that has already served up numerous memorable moments alongside some highly talented stars who are keen to announce themselves as the next stars of the game.
For fans of the sport, rugby sevens being part of the Olympic programme is still something many are getting used to. Since its Olympic debut at Rio 2016, the shortened version of the game has won over millions of people around the world. Some fans will simply never warm to it, but for others, it’s a chance for players to elevate their skillset and demonstrate the raw ability they possess. You can read the latest rugby betting tips and news here, but there is no doubting who the favourites are. Holders Fiji (23/10) will certainly be the team to beat, but New Zealand at 13/5 and South Africa priced at 10/3 are hard to ignore also. Competition is certainly strong heading into the tournament.
Ahead of what promises to be a feast of rugby action, here is a look at the top things you need to know heading into the Olympic Rugby Sevens at Tokyo 2020.
Can anyone stop Fiji?
We’ve touched on it already but Fiji is most definitely the team to beat heading into the competition. After winning the tournament with such style in Rio in 2016, the Fijians not only demonstrated the quality they possess within their ranks but also the longevity they are expected to illustrate also. Jerry Tuwai is the undoubted star man but Fiji boast an extensive array of talented individuals who would walk into most other nations’ sides also. Jerry Tuwai is the talisman, though, thanks to his immensely quick footwork and his ability to lead from the front. Not only will he be keen on winning another gold medal to add to his Rio victory, but the whole country will be firmly behind Fiji too. The fact remains, for such a small country to be competing for major honours alongside rugby
powerhouses like Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, is quite remarkable.
The dark horses
The United States of America is a side on the rise. Whether or not they can compete with the likes of Fiji remains to be seen, but in Carlin Isles and Perry Baker they have lightning pace in abundance and the weapons needed to succeed. Alongside the Americans, Great Britain has a few talented stars within its ranks also, namely leading try scorer in world rugby sevens series history, Dan Norton.
Women’s competition strong too
After reigning supreme in Rio, Australia are the side to beat in the women’s Sevens. Charlotte Caslick and try-scoring machine Ellia Green will be the Aussies’ main threats once again. New Zealand will be keen to dethrone Australia, though, especially after losing the 2016 final to their Antipodean rivals. In Portia Woodman, Ruby Tui and Tyla Nathan-Wong, the Kiwis most definitely have the tools needed to gain revenge.