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It is appropriate to review in March how the August Olympic rugby matches in Rio probably will occur, regarding pools, placement, and the anticipated rules for moving forward into the medal round.

At the outset, 12-nations will compete in three pools, with eight teams advancing over the three-day schedule. The Women’s event will begin first, August 6, 7, and the medal round on August 8. This will be followed by the Men’s event on August 9, 10, and the finale on the 11th.

Advancement for the eight teams will be decided first by pool points (Two for a win, one for a draw), and then on match points differential.

It seems likely that the win points and then the point differential will determine the one through eight placements in the quarterfinals. Thus, one will play eight, two versus seven, three against sixth, and, lastly, four to play five.

Pool Outcomes for Probable Advancement

Six points – The 3-0 win record generates six points and also top slot in the pool.

Five points – The 2-0-1 with two wins and a draw, produces five points, a tie within the pool for top spot, and definite advancement for the two teams that tied.

Four points – The 2-1 result tallies four points, and probable advancement. 

Three points – A 1-1-1 outcome (similar to the Las Vegas Sevens 2016 for the USA Men) and a greater point total than any 1-2 team.

Two points - 1-2, where, probably, point differential would derermine the 7th and 8th teams to advance.

Men’s Pool Placement (Conjecture Scenario)

If, hypothetically, the three Olympic pools were slotted today, utilizing the current HSBC World Rugby 2015/2016 sevens points standings, and, also assuming that either circuit regulars Samoa or Canada win the 12th spot in the last qualifying repechage tournament (This will be played at Fontvieille, Monaco, on June 19), the pools might be:

Pool A                         Pool B                         Pool C

Fiji                                   South Africa             New Zealand

Argentina                      USA                           Australia

Great Britain                  Kenya                       Samoa/Canada

Brazil                              Japan                         France

Women’s Pool Placement (Conjecture Scenario)

The Women have also qualified 11-teams with one placement remaining. Russia would be the favorite to gain this 12th spot in the repechage event to be played in Dublin on June 26th. Kenya replaced South Africa for the African position after the Springboks declined to send a team. Admittedly, the slotting below reflects only two played of the five total 2015/2016 events. A poor start by the USA in Dubai left them low currently in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens ranking but invigorated Eagles can climb higher with better play in the remaining events, especially at home in Atlanta in April.

Pool A                         Pool B                         Pool C

Australia                        New Zealand             Canada

Argentina                     Great Britain              France

Russia                           USA                                Brazil                                       

Colombia                      Kenya                          Japan

(Thursday: More predictive Olympic scenarios.)