Who Are The Leading Contenders To Win The Rugby Sevens Gold Medal In Tokyo?
The inclusion of rugby sevens has been one of the most welcome recent additions to the Olympic Games. Viewers tuned in their millions to watch the action in the men’s draw in Rio five years ago, and that popularity looks set to continue at Tokyo 2020.
There are set to be huge numbers drawn to the action in Tokyo following the success of the Rugby Union World Cup in 2019. Japan is certainly a country that has embraced the sport, and there will be further evidence of that this summer.
Still, which nations could stand the best chance of winning the men’s Olympics gold in 2021?
Fiji Rugby Sevens
Fiji were the unlikely winners of the gold medal in 2016, as the nation claimed their first-ever Olympic gold after a final success against Great Britain. It was one of the most-watched events of the whole Olympics and there was clear emotion on show when the final whistle blew.
However, the contest as a whole was over before it really got started, as the Fijian team were in dominant form, winning the gold medal match 43-7. They didn’t have an easy path to the final either, as they also needed to see off a talented New Zealand side in the quarterfinal stage. There will be an immediate rematch with Great Britain in Tokyo, as they have both been drawn in Group B.
South Africa Blitzbokke
There is no denying that South Africa has proven pedigree in all forms of rugby. South Africa may be the second nation that the hosts will be supporting, as they won the Rugby Union World Cup in 2019 following a tense final against England. Out of the biggest nations involved in the rugby sevens, South Africa potentially have the most straightforward group that they will need to navigate.
They have been drawn in Group C for the upcoming tournament, alongside the United States, Kenya and Ireland. That is a group that they should comfortably win. Momentum could be crucial for South Africa, but there is no reason why they can’t go all the way in Tokyo.
Great Britain 7s
Great Britain will once again be among the leading contenders to win the gold medal in Tokyo. Although the British fancy other sports more, like soccer, cricket and horse racing, rugby is a sport that has risen in popularity over the last years.
Many of the British team will have fond memories from their last visit to Tokyo, as they competed in the World Cup. Positive results such as the victory over New Zealand will give them no shortage of fans in Japan, but ultimately they will be looking to avenge the defeat in the final against South Africa.
That won’t be the only defeat that Team GB will be looking to avenge, as they were beaten convincingly in the gold medal match by Fiji five years ago. Team GB was faultless in the group stages, winning all three games, before edging past Argentina and South Africa in the knockout rounds.
Japan Rugby 7s
Japan will be boosted by strong home support in the sevens this summer, and there isn’t any reason why they can’t expect another deep run in the tournament. They were excellent in the group stages five years ago, as they finished second in Group C, above New Zealand.
They managed to get past France in the quarterfinals, before being beaten by Fiji in the semi-finals.
Japan wasn’t able to pick up the bronze medal, as they were beaten by South Africa in the match for third.
They look to be in a potentially tricky group for the Olympics this summer, as they have been drawn in Group B alongside Fiji, Great Britain and Canada. However, they could be a nation that upset the odds this summer.
This is a sponsored post not written by Rugby Asia 247.