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With the HSBC Sevens World Series done and dusted, only one hurdle remains before the Olympic pools are settled – the final qualification tournament June 18-19 in Monte Carlo. However, we know the top two seeds of each men’s pools already, and we know what the groups will be given different potential outcomes in Monte Carlo. The women’s pools are still much more convoluted.
The pool seeds are being determined by an amalgamation of World Series points and order of qualification. The teams who qualified by finishing in the top four of the 2014/2015 World Series standings are the top four seeds, and they’re put in order by the combined points over the last two Series. If it was straight Series points, the USA men would actually be the fifth seed and Australia the fourth, but since England qualified Great Britain via the 2014/2015 competition, Team GB comes in at No. 4.
The rest of the teams are organized solely by World Series points. Therefore, if a World Series team were to win the men’s repechage tournament, Brazil would be the lowest seed in Rio. But if a non-Series team wins the repechage, Brazil could potentially be 11th.
Samoa, Cup winner in Paris, would seem the men’s favorite going into Monte Carlo. Should Manu Samoa win, they’ll be the eighth overall seed, as they have more Series points over the last two seasons than France, Kenya, Japan and Brazil. If Canada or Portugal win, they will be the 10th seed behind Kenya but in front of Japan. Russia would be 11th behind Japan but in front of Brazil. Ireland or any of the other comers would slot in as the lowest seed behind Brazil.
So we know the USA men will be paired with Fiji and Argentina. They’re likely to also have Brazil, but could end up with a non-World Series team like Ireland, Tonga or Germany, should they win the repechage.
The women’s picture is a lot more clouded, with Australia and New Zealand tied for first in World Series points over the last two years. 3-6 are set in stone, with Canada, Great Britain, France and the USA in that order, but then there are a bunch of teams sprinkled in who have either played regularly on the World Series but not qualified, like Russia, Spain and Ireland, or teams who’ve qualified but not been on the Series much if at all, like Colombia, Kenya and Japan.
For the USA women, we know they’re going to draw either Australia or New Zealand, and not much else is guaranteed. Russia is the top-ranked unqualified team, and if the Russians win the final qualifier, they’ll be in the Americans’ pool, most likely along with Colombia.
Below are the projected pool pairings for the men and the women, assuming the favorites (Russia for the women and Samoa for the men) win the final qualifier. (* indicates unqualified)
|Men's A||Men's B||Men's C|
|1st - Fiji||2nd - South Africa||3rd - New Zealand|
|6th - USA||5th - Australia||4th - Great Britain|
|7th - Argentina||8th - Samoa*||9th - France|
|12th - Brazil||11th - Japan||10th - Kenya|
|Women's A||Women's B||Women's C|
|1st - Aus/NZ||2nd - Aus/NZ||3rd - Canada|
|6th - USA||5th - France||4th - Great Britain|
|7th - Russia*||8th - Fiji||9th - Brazil|
|12th - Colombia||11th - Kenya||10th - Japan|