All you need to know about this weekend’s qualifying tournament, including how to watch the matches


Olympic Sevens Repechage Explained

Monaco is the venue for this weekend’s Olympic Sevens Repechage tournament, with three places at this year’s Games in Tokyo up for grabs.

A total of 20 teams – 11 women’s, nine men’s – will compete at Stade Louis II to try to earn a spot at next month’s Tokyo Olympics.

Four years ago, Spain were the surprise final qualifiers for the men’s and women’s tournaments at Rio 2016, but who will make it to the Olympics this time? Here is the lowdown on the qualifying tournament.

Which teams are involved in the Olympic Sevens Repechage?

There are 11 women’s teams involved – Argentina, Colombia, France, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Samoa and Tunisia.

Jamaica were also due to take part but withdrew on Friday due to “travel complications encountered by the delegation” according to a World Rugby statement.

Olympic Sevens Repechage

Papua New Guinea players during a training session in Monaco (Getty Images)

The men’s competition was due to have ten teams but Uganda have been withdrawn after several of the party tested positive for Covid-19 on arrival in Monaco.

There have been no other Covid cases amongst the other sides involved, but it does mean there will be just nine men’s teams participating. They are Chile, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Jamaica, Mexico, Samoa, Tonga and Zimbabwe.

What’s the tournament format?

The women’s teams were originally split into three pools of four, but Jamaica’s withdrawal means Pool B now has just three teams. The Pool B sides will record byes for the fixtures they were due to play against Jamaica.

The groups break down as follows:

Pool A – Argentina, Mexico, Russia, Samoa.

Pool B – Kazakhstan, Papua New Guinea, Tunisia.

Pool C – Colombia, France, Hong Kong, Madagascar.

The top two sides in each group at the end of the round-robin stage, as well as the two third-placed teams with the highest points total, qualifying for the knockouts.

With two Olympic spaces available in the women’s competition, there will be four semi-finals and two finals in the knockout stages, with the winners of both finals booking their place in Tokyo.

Find the full women’s schedule here.

France and Russia, regulars on the World Sevens Series, are the favourites to make it to Japan, while Colombia competed at Rio 2016 so could also be in the mix.

France and Russia competing at the Madrid Sevens in February (Getty Images)

There are just two pools in the men’s competition:

Pool A – Ireland, Mexico, Samoa, Tonga, Zimbabwe.

Pool B – Chile, France, Hong Kong, Jamaica.

Due to Uganda’s withdrawal, all teams in Pool B will record a bye for that fixture.

Find the full men’s schedule here.

The top two in each pool after the group stages will progress to the semi-finals and the winner of the final will secure the final place at the Olympics.

Again, France are among the favourites, along with Ireland and Samoa, although it is always hard to predict the outcome in one-off sevens events like this.

It will also be worth keeping an eye out for former All Black Malakai Fekitoa, who is captaining Tonga as he looks to become eligible to play 15s for the country of his birth ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Olympic Sevens Repechage

Malakai Fekitoa is leading Tonga at the qualification tournament (Getty Images)

When does it take place?

The Olympic Sevens Repechage runs from Friday 18 June to Sunday 20 June. The first match, Mexico v Zimbabwe, is at 5pm (UK & Ireland time) on the Friday, with the rest of the pool games taking place over the weekend.

The action starts at 8.28am on Saturday and runs until a little after 7pm that evening. It then resumes at 9.41am on Sunday, with the knockout stages running from 1.55pm to 7.30pm.

All matches will be streamed live via World Rugby’s digital channels – see below for more details.

Which teams have already qualified for the Olympics?

The sevens events at the Tokyo Olympics both take place at the end of next month, with the men’s competition running from 26-28 July and the women’s tournament 29-31 July.

Ten of the 12 women’s teams that will take part have already qualified – Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Fiji, Great Britain, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand and USA.

For the men’s event, 11 of the 12 teams are known – Argentina, Australia, Canada, Fiji, Great Britain, Japan, Kenya, Korea, New Zealand, South Africa and USA.

Those line-ups will be completed by the winners of the Olympic Sevens Repechage in Monaco this weekend.

Olympic Sevens Repechage live stream: How to watch

World Rugby is streaming all matches from Monaco live on its digital channels, so you won’t miss any of the action. There is one match on Friday, 24 on Saturday and 18 on Sunday, including the all-important knockout stages.

These are the links you need:

There is also television coverage in a handful of countries – CDO Chile, France TV and Rugby Challenge Spain as well as Depor TV in Argentina and Match TV in Russia.

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