With just 25 days to go until rugby makes its return to the Olympic Games in Rio, the new ball has been unveiled in Brazil.
Bearing the iconic Olympic rings and the World Rugby logo, the ball will be used by the men’s and women’s teams between 6-11 August at the Deodoro Stadium when rugby returns to the Summer Games for the first time in 92 years.
The women of France and Spain will be first to use the ball when they play the first Olympic match since 1924 at the Deodoro Stadium on 6 August at 11:00 local time (BST–4).
The Synergie XV-6 match ball has been specifically developed for rugby sevens. With all of the technical features contained within the Match XV ball, which is used at the elite level of the game, it features a modified surface grip pattern.
With its multi-matrix grip pattern being more pronounced, developers say the distance travelled by the ball when kicked out of hand will be reduced and the handling properties increased – all leading to a fast-running game where the ball is passed between players with great speed and accuracy.
The milestone comes as coaches announce their squads for Rio 2016, with the deadline of 18 July looming large.
Brazil were the latest team to unveil the 24 men and women who will carry the hopes of the host nation during the Games.
Last week, the match schedule for the men’s and women’s events was confirmed. Each day’s action is split into two sessions with six matches involving all 12 teams taking place during each session of the early stages. The final session on day three will include four matches and the medal ceremony as the identity of rugby's first Olympic champions in 92 years will finally be known.
In both competitions, the 12 sides are split into three pools of four with those matches taking place over the first day and a half. The top two teams from each pool, plus the two best third-placed sides, will progress to the last eight. Those quarter-finals take place on the second session of day two while the resultant semi-finals will happen in the first session of day three along with matches to decide lower placings. As excitement builds towards the end, the fifth to eighth-place matches, the bronze medal match and then the battle for gold will light up the Games.
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