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Rugby Sevens At The Rio Olympics

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Just saw an article that 2-time Rugby World Cup winner, heavyweight boxing champion and overall hottie Sonny Bill Williams is scheduled to play with the NZ All Blacks rugby sevens team this weekend in Wellington. This is the beginning for his hunt to snag gold in Rio. It should be interesting to see how he translates to the faster-paced rugby sevens game. Hopefully I can find an outlet where I can watch the games!

But I hope he helps the team win this weekend because NZ is currently in 7th place in this year's rugby sevens series. But that's after only 2 legs and there are still 8 left to go, so plenty of time to catch up. Surprisingly, the US is currently ranked 3rd. Man wouldn't it be great if the US can defend their title, after almost 100 years? :)

Here's the article on Sonny Bill Williams.

http://news.yahoo.com/sonny-bill-williams-zealand-sevens-debut-034211910.html

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Quade Cooper (also a famous XV player) will play for Australia in Wellington.

Many of the stronger rugby nations will call "reinforcements" for the olympic tournament. I already heard about South Africa and Argentina doing it too. This is bad for the chances of the likes of Fiji and USA, which have a more reduced talent pool.


Sorry, Cooper will play in the Sydney 7s. (Can't edit)

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Good chance for Fiji to get their first ever Olympic medal.

In terms of big names

https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjRh7aH88nKAhXCNSYKHQGUD20QFgg4MAQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.com%2Fsport%2Frugby-union%2F34957613&usg=AFQjCNEowuZFcTyDMuCtDsagtVscrm4QLw

Sonny Bill Williams has won two Rugby World Cups, been named the best rugby league player in the world and won the New Zealand heavyweight boxing title.

But there is still a hole in his sporting CV. A hole that can only be filled by five big rings.

"Going back in time the best sportsmen ever have been Olympians," said the 30-year-old as he announced he would dedicate himself to being part of rugby sevens' debut at Rio 2016.

"Usain Bolt, Muhammad Ali, the list goes on. It's just an amazing opportunity to become one of those."

This weekend is the start of that journey as Williams - a little more than a month after lifting the Webb Ellis Cup - heads to Dubai for the first event of the globe-trotting Sevens World Series.

This is not one of six World Series events that Williams aims to play in. Instead he has cut short his off-season to meet his new team-mates and learn the seven-a-side game from the sidelines.

And he is not the only 15-a-side star aiming to be part of rugby's new frontier.

Who might make the switch?

On his flight to the Middle East from Sydney, Williams bumped into Australia fly-half Quade Cooper, the pair tweeting pictures of themselves grinning away in business class.

Cooper was en route back to French club Toulon rather than stopping off in Dubai for the sevens. But he is determined to be on the plane to Rio.

_87023303_cooper_sbw.jpg
Sonny Bill Williams and Quade Cooper catch up as they take off from Sydney

His contract negotiations with Toulon's hard-ball president Mourad Boudjellal were long and laborious as Cooper successfully fought for the chance to play sevens for Australia alongside his club commitments.

When he lands in the south of France, Cooper might discuss his summer plans with new club team-mate Bryan Habana.

The Springboks leading try scorer, along with fellow World Cup stars Damian de Allende and Lwazi Mvovo, was invited to train with the South Africa sevens team in November as coach Neil Powell considers whether to import 15-a-side specialists into his Olympic side.

Cooper's international team-mates Bernard Foley and Israel Folau have opted for short stints in Japanese club rugby and will make a decision on whether to try their hand at sevens when they return early in 2016.

Winger Henry Speight, also part of the Wallabies squad at the World Cup, has already made the switch and is in the Australia squad for the Dubai event.

Flanker Liam Messam - another of the All Blacks World Cup-winning squad - has joined Williams in focusing solely on sevens this season.

_87023302_habana_getty.jpg
A 20-year-old Bryan Habana (right) plays sevens against Tonga in February 2004

And Argentina winger Santiago Cordero - one of the stars of the Pumas' run to the World Cup semi-finals - is likely to be part of their Rio effort after signing a central contract with his country.

Montpellier flanker Fulgence Ouedraogo and Castres winger Remy Grossohelped France secure their place at Rio in the summer before joining their country's Rugby World Cup squad.

All those format flip-floppers will have to contend with sevens specialists, men who understand the game's cagey, contact-averse tactics and lactic-heavy physical demands.

What of Team GB?

Wales wing George North has mused on the possibility of joining cyclist girlfriend Becky James in a British Olympic team.

Danny Cipriani is interested in being involved after his maverick talents were deemed surplus to England's World Cup requirements.

Full-back Stuart Hogg's electric running and courageous tackling for Scotland would surely transfer well to the seven-a-side game.

The names come easily. The reality is more complicated.

Great Britain qualified for Rio 2016 on the back of England's top-four finish in last season's Sevens World Series and the team will be made up of the best players from England, Scotland and Wales at Rio.

However, the chances of recruiting 15-a-side superstars to concentrate on sevens - as Williams has done - is a non-starter for Team GB as they don't have central contracts, while clubs are understandably keen their employees focus on their well-paid day jobs.

English club Wasps have indicated that they - and the rest of the Premiership - will adhere to the regulations and only release players two weeks before the tournament.

Barring an unforeseen bout of Olympic enthusiasm from clubs in the midst of trying domestic and European campaigns, Great Britain coach Simon Amor is likely to have to wait until the second-tier European Grand Prix Sevens series at least before he can welcome 15-a-side players into the fold.

The final leg of that series will take place in Exeter on 9-10 July and Great Britain are hoping their involvement will be confirmed before the end of this year.

Amor will then be faced with the unenviable task of condensing players from three different nations and two different formats into one team in less than a month.

Another gender, another planet

What Amor would give for the access that Simon Middleton, coach of Great Britain's women's team, has to 15-a-side specialists.

A week after England won the Women's Rugby World Cup in August 2014, the Rugby Football Union - mindful of the funding that potential Olympic medals bring to women's rugby - handed 12 of that squad and another eight players contracts to concentrate on sevens full-time.

Emily Scarratt, who scored 16 points in that 21-9 World Cup final win over Canada, is captaining England in Dubai, with another five of that historic squad also involved.

A Great Britain select seven - including Scots Steph Johnston and Megan Gaffney - also played in an invitational tournament running alongside the main Women's Sevens Series event.

Whoever is picked for Rio though, New Zealand will be overwhelming favourites for gold.

They have won all three of the Women's World Series titles since the it was introduced in 2012.

This season, they have a new recruit with Niall Williams, sister of Sonny Bill, making her debut in Dubai.

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Patriots player leaves team to train for U.S. Olympic rugby team

Come this summer, Nate Ebner hopes to be part of a different group of patriots.

Ebner, a safety for the Patriots of New England, is taking a leave of absence from the NFL team to train for the U.S. Olympic rugby team and the Rio Olympics.

“First and foremost, I want to thank the Patriots from top to bottom for giving me the opportunity to come back and play for a truly first-class organization,” Ebner, who re-signed with the Patriots on Tuesday, said (via ESPN).

“I also want to thank them and USA Rugby for giving me the opportunity to chase a dream I’ve had since I was a boy in a sport in which I’ve always had a passion. I can’t put into words how much this opportunity means to not only me, but my friends and family as well.

“I plan to represent the Patriots and our country to the best of my ability. Thanks again and Go Pats and go USA.”

Ebner, a sixth-round draft pick out in 2011, also played rugby at Ohio State. The Patriots gave him permission to begin training and he is expected to rejoin the NFL team after the Olympic rugby competition, which runs Aug. 6-11.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2016/03/15/patriots-player-leaves-team-to-train-for-u-s-olympic-rugby-team/

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Patriots player leaves team to train for U.S. Olympic rugby team

Come this summer, Nate Ebner hopes to be part of a different group of patriots.

Ebner, a safety for the Patriots of New England, is taking a leave of absence from the NFL team to train for the U.S. Olympic rugby team and the Rio Olympics.

“First and foremost, I want to thank the Patriots from top to bottom for giving me the opportunity to come back and play for a truly first-class organization,” Ebner, who re-signed with the Patriots on Tuesday, said (via ESPN).

“I also want to thank them and USA Rugby for giving me the opportunity to chase a dream I’ve had since I was a boy in a sport in which I’ve always had a passion. I can’t put into words how much this opportunity means to not only me, but my friends and family as well.

“I plan to represent the Patriots and our country to the best of my ability. Thanks again and Go Pats and go USA.”

Ebner, a sixth-round draft pick out in 2011, also played rugby at Ohio State. The Patriots gave him permission to begin training and he is expected to rejoin the NFL team after the Olympic rugby competition, which runs Aug. 6-11.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2016/03/15/patriots-player-leaves-team-to-train-for-u-s-olympic-rugby-team/

lol no. It's too damn late for him and he can go f**k off right back to those cheating douchebags.

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And it's an entirely different situation than Sonny Bill Williams. Sonny has never stopped playing rugby and he's simply switching formats from union to sevens. He's still a very skilled rugby player, so the transition should go much more smoothly than with what Ebner is trying to do. Ebner hasn't played rugby in that magnitude for over 4 years now. He should have left to train as soon as the Patriots were out of the running for the Super Bowl.

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If you are going to take a Patriot, why not Gronk? With a bit of training, you've got to figure he'd be awesome. Or if nothing else, he would rule at "post match drinking" which seems to be in integral part of Rugby.

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If you are going to take a Patriot, why not Gronk? With a bit of training, you've got to figure he'd be awesome. Or if nothing else, he would rule at "post match drinking" which seems to be in integral part of Rugby.

He could always play in LA2024 for the US American football team if LA wins the rights to host and they try and include American football as one of their events, provided there's enough countries out there that play lol

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Hockey giants set to renew rivalries as match schedule unveiled for Rio 2016 Olympic Games

With 100 days to go until the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has released the match schedule for the men's and women's hockey events. An intriguing line-up will see some of the biggest names in world hockey clash at the Olympic Hockey Centre in Deodoro Olympic Park.

The men’s tournament begins with a mouth-watering match on 6 August when the Netherlands, London 2012 silver medallists and reigning European champions, take on Pan-American champions Argentina. Later that day, 2014 Asian Games champions India face off against European bronze medallists Ireland, who will be participating in their first Olympic tournament.

The women’s event will begin in style that same evening, with reigning Hockey World League champions and London 2012 silver medallists Argentina looking to reverse their loss to the USA in the Pan-American Games final.

The stand-out match of the men's group stage will be a repeat of the London 2012 final on 12 August. The Netherlands, currently second in the world rankings, will be out to avenge their defeat to third-ranked Germany. The Germans will also have a point to prove after the Dutch thrashed them 6-1 in the final of the 2015 European Championship.

Men's groups

Pool A

Australia

Great Britain

Belgium

New Zealand

Spain

Brazil

Pool B

Netherlands

Germany

Argentina

India

Ireland

Canada

Women's groups

Pool A

Netherlands

New Zealand

China

Germany

Republic of Korea

Spain

Pool B

Argentina

Australia

Great Britain

USA

Japan

India

_layout_calendariov4_eng_final_0.jpg

The Dutch women's team, London 2012 champions and world no.1, will begin their title defence against Spain on 7 August. Five days later, the Dutch, who also won gold at Beijing 2008, will take on New Zealand in a replay of the dramatic semi-final at London 2012, when the Netherlands triumphed in the first shoot-out in Olympic hockey history.

An eye-catching women’s match will take place on 11 August. Argentina, silver at London 2012 and world no.2, will clash with triple Olympic champions and number three ranked Australia. The next day, China will be looking to reverse their 2014 Asian Games loss to rivals the Republic of Korea.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feeGtszO95g&feature=youtu.be

Video: the Rio 2016 hockey match schedule:

The men’s schedule includes a rerun of last year’s Hockey World League Final between Australia and Belgium on 9 August. Reigning World Cup and World League champions Australia, currently top of the rankings, will be hoping at the very least to finish amongst the Olympic medals having won bronze at London 2012.

...

http://www.rio2016.com/en/news/hockey-giants-set-to-renew-rivalries-as-match-schedule-unveiled-for-rio-2016-olympic-games

^^ Sorry wrong place...my mistake

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Olympic Games Global Repechage

Rugby sevens’ #RoadToRio culminates with the men’s and women’s Olympic Games repechage events in Monaco and Dublin in June delivering the final teams to participate in the Olympic Games.

MEN'S DRAW

Monaco Sevens - Men’s Repechage: Stade Louis II, Monaco, 18-19 June 2016

Pool A - Samoa, Zimbabwe, Tonga, Ireland

Pool B - Canada, Germany, Uruguay, Sri Lanka

Pool C - Russia, Chile, Morocco, Tunisia

Pool D - Hong Kong, Spain, Mexico, South Korea

WOMEN'S DRAW

Women’s Sevens, Dublin – Women’s Repechage: UCD Bowl, 25-26 June 2016

Pool A- 1st ranked team*, Samoa, Zimbabwe, Madagascar

Pool B- 2nd ranked team*, Mexico, Venezuela, Tunisia

Pool C- 3rd ranked team*, China POrtugal, Trinidad & Tobago

Pool D- Hong Kong, Argentina, Kazakhstan, Coom Islands

* Rankings of Ireland, Russia and Spain after the conclusion of the HSBC World Rugby Women'sSevens Series in Clermont-Ferrand on 28-29 May

http://www.worldrugby.org/olympics/repechage

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Seriously - there is no Team GB - pathetic that the home nations can't get their act together and send a team!

I think there was discussion somewhere already that it wasn't going to happen. A real shame too because as a whole team GB could have a great chance of medaling, it not winning in rugby sevens, even much better chance than a team GB football team.

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Seriously - there is no Team GB - pathetic that the home nations can't get their act together and send a team!

What? GB qualified (through England's 2015-16 7s world series ranking) in both men's and women's Rugby 7s and is sending a team in both.

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Samoa got a pretty crappy draw. Ireland and Tonga. One slip and it could be Canada vs. Samoa in the quarterfinals.

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What? GB qualified (through England's 2015-16 7s world series ranking) in both men's and women's Rugby 7s and is sending a team in both.

they are not in the official draw that has been issued - hence my post,

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they are not in the official draw that has been issued - hence my post,

That draw is for the final qualification event.

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I see - thanks for clarifying!

The first 4 qualifying places for both the men's and women's tournaments (other than Brazil as the host country) were based on the standings from the 2014-15 World Series. England - as representative of Great Britain in terms of qualification - finished in the top 4 on both sides and thus earned GB a spot in both Olympic tournaments.

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Samoa out of the Sevens after Spain gathered enough points in their region to pass those of the island nation...So much for getting nations that have a minimal chance at medalling in the Olympics.

Edited by Alexjc

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Samoa out of the Sevens after Spain gathered enough points in their region to pass those of the island nation...So much for getting nations that have a minimal chance at medalling in the Olympics.

Points had nothing to do with Spain qualifying.

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Yea a tournament of sorts determined who was getting that last spot. Hence why it's shocking that Spain of all countries beat Samoa. If this was decided on some sort of point system, then there was no way Spain would have gone through, especially when Samoa ranked 9th in this past world sevens series, even winning the France Sevens.

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A huge upset with Spain beating Samoa to win the final qualification spot. Spain have no real record in the sport where Samoa have been one of the heavy hitters over time. Its a real shame that Samoa missed qualification as they won one of the tournaments this year. But I guess thats sport.

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To be fair to Spain, they did finish 2nd behind France in the 2015 Europe Sevens (ahead of England), so they didn't even need the repechage to make it to the qualifying tournament. So yea, sucks for Samoa that they lost a winner-takes-all match for that last Olympic spot, but like michael said, that's sport. Would also have helped their cause to NOT lose to Tonga by a 41-5 margin in the Oceania Championship

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