We take a closer look at the 12 women's teams who will be battling for the first rugby sevens Olympic medals at Rio 2016 from 6-8 August, including HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series champions and top seeds Australia.

Australia

Coach: Tim Walsh
2015-16 series ranking: Champions
2015-16 titles: Three (Dubai, Sao Paulo and Atlanta
2015-16 top try / point scorer: Emilee Cherry (22 tries, 134 points)

Did you know ...? Australia are no strangers to success on Brazilian soil, having won the HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series round in Sao Paulo in February to go with their victory in 2014 and runners-up finish in 2015.

Player to watch: Ellia Green (pictured)
The 'Green Machine' grew up dreaming of running the 100m or 200m on the Olympic stage, but instead she'll be burning up the grass at the Deodoro Stadium as Australia bid to add a gold medal to their series title and ensure 2016 is a year they'll never forget. Seventeen tries in the three rounds she played on the 2015-16 series shows how dangerous Green is and her pace and power will be key to Australia's hopes of gold.

0:00
/
0:00

Brazil

Coach: Chris Neill
2015-16 series ranking: 10th (non-core team)
2015-16 titles: None
2015-16 top try / point scorer: Raquel Kochhann (5 tries, 37 points)

Did you know ...? Brazil have been crowned South American women's sevens champions every time they have contested the event - that's 12 years in total since they first won the title in 2004.

Player to watch: Edna Santini
She may be diminutive in stature but Santini is fearless on the pitch and no challenge seems to faze the 24-year-old. One of the most experienced members of the Brazilian side, Santini is a perfect example of a ‘pocket rocket’ with her quick feet and turn of pace often seeing her burst through a gap in the defensive line. If Brazil are to reach the quarter-finals in front of their passionate fans at the Deodoro Stadium then Santini will be at the heart of their play.

Canada

Coach: John Tait
2015-16 series ranking: Third
2015-16 titles: One (Clermont-Ferrand)
2015-16 top try / point scorer: Ghislaine Landry (19 tries, 158 points)

Did you know ...? Ashley Steacy's sister-in-law Heather Steacy will also be competing at Rio 2016 in the hammer throw. Jim Steacy, Heather's older brother, competed in the 2008 and 2012 Games but won't be throwing this time.

Player to watch: Jen Kish
If you had to sum up 28-year-old Kish then Captain Fantastic would be a fitting way to do so, such is her importance to the Canadian team's hopes of gold in Rio. She is the heartbeat of the side, a player who never gives less than 100 per cent and inspires those around her with a moment of magic to lift the tiring spirits. A gold medallist in the Pan American Games in Toronto last year, a gold medal on sport's biggest stage is her next target.

Colombia

Coach: Laurent Palau
2015-16 series ranking: 14th (non-core team)
2015-16 titles: None
2015-16 top try / point scorer: Four players (1 try) / María Camila Lopera Valle (11 points)

Did you know ...? Khaterinne Medina, from the northern region of La Guajira, will become the first sportsperson from that area of Colombia to go to an Olympic Games.

Player to watch: Nathalie Marchino
The most experienced member of Colombia's squad, having previously played for the USA Women's Eagles in both 15s and sevens, including on the 2012-13 series and RWC Sevens 2013 in the latter. Having just celebrated her 35th birthday, Marchino gets the chance to play for the country where she was born on the Olympic stage and her experience will be invaluable to Las Tucanes in a daunting pool.

Fiji

Coach: Chris Cracknell
2015-16 series ranking: Eighth
​2015-16 titles: None
2015-16 top try / point scorer: Ana Maria Roqica (9 tries) / Rusila Nagasau (64 points)

Did you know ...? Fiji have never won an Olympic medal of any colour, something their men's and women's teams are eager to address in Rio. Their men's team, as series champions, are favourites for gold, but could the women beat them to their country's first Olympic medal?

Player to watch: Rusila Nagasau
A talented athlete who has played for her country in not one but two sports, having previously played football before being invited to try her hand at rugby. Now a lynchpin of the Fijiana side alongside her cousin and captain Ana Maria Roqica, her experience and try-scoring prowess will be key to any hopes of securing that first Olympic medal.

France

Coach: David Corteix
2015-16 series ranking: Fifth 
​2015-16 titles: None
2015-16 yop try / point scorer: Camille Grassineau (16 tries, 80 points)

Did you know ...? France have reached the quarter-finals in all 11 of their series events as a core team, but are yet to battle through to a first final, having lost in the last four on five occasions.

Player to watch: Fanny Horta
Ever-present on the series in 2015-16, Les Bleues captain is one of the most experienced members of the squad and one who has played both 15s and sevens for her country. Now 30, she has been the driving force behind the steady improvement of France over the last two years in the countdown to Rio and will be at the heart of play as they seek to cause an upset or two.

0:00
/
0:00

Great Britain (stats are for England)

Coach: Simon Middleton
2015-16 series ranking: Fourth 
2015-16 titles: One (Langford)
2015-16 top try / point scorer: Heather Fisher (14 tries) / Katy Mclean (82 points)

Did you know ...? Six members of England's Women's Rugby World Cup 2014 winning squad will be hoping to complete a unique double by adding Olympic gold to their medal collections as part of Team GB

Player to watch: Heather Fisher
A former bobsleigh brakeman, her power and strength are not the only qualities that Fisher possesses as she also has an eye for the try-line as her mantle as England's leading try-scorer on the 2015-16 series shows. A WRWC 2014 winner, the 32-year-old is hard to stop when she gets on a roll and that frees up space for team-mates around her to profit from.

Japan

Coach: Keiko Asami
2015-16 series ranking: 11th
​2015-16 titles: None
2015-16 top try / point scorer: Ano Kuwai (9 tries, 45 points)

Did you know ...? Ano Kuwai was a discus thrower until her university days when she turned her attention to rugby with the dream of becoming an Olympian

Player to watch: Mio Yamanaka
The shortest and lightest member of Japan's squad for Rio 2016, Yamanaka is also one of the youngest as she won't turn 21 until October. She made her debut in Sao Paulo back in February and established herself as a regular for the rest of Japan's first season as a core team so will be one to watch in the years to come.

Kenya

Coach: Mike Shamiah
2015-16 series ranking: 13th (non-core team)
2015-16 titles: None
2015-16 top try / point scorer: Janet Okelo (4 tries, 20 points)

Did you know ...? Kenya made their series debut in Clermont-Ferrand in May, becoming the 20th team to play on the series, and managed to beat core team Japan in their final match to finish 11th overall.

Player to watch: Celestine Masinde
A player who always plays her heart out whenever called up by coach Mike Shamiah, Masinde has played for her country in both sevens and 15s. She was part of the squad that played in Clermont-Ferrand and scored a try against Russia in the Bowl semi-finals on day two.

New Zealand

Coach: Sean Horan
2015-16 series ranking: Second
2015-16 titles: None
2015-16 top try / point scorer: Portia Woodman (24 tries, 120 points)

 

Did you know ...? New Zealand won 37 series matches in a row between April 2014 and May 2015 until Spain stunned them with a 19-15 victory in London. That run saw New Zealand crowned champions in Guangzhou, Amsterdam, Dubai, Sao Paulo, Atlanta and Langford.

Player to watch: Sarah Goss
One of only two players to have played in all 20 tournaments since the women's series began in 2012-13, Goss is a three-time series winner and RWC Sevens champion. A natural leader with a strong work ethic, the 23-year-old is a hard-running forward with an eye for a try and is equally strong in defence. Goss also never knows when she is beaten and sets an example for others to follow.

Spain

Coach: José Antonio Barrio
2015-16 series ranking: Ninth
2015-16 titles: None
2015-16 top try / point scorer: Patricia Garcia (9 tries, 92 points)

Did you know ...? Spain's women were the last team to book their place at Rio 2016, beating Russia 19-12 in the final of the global repechage tournament in Dublin in late June. They completed a repechage double as Spain's men had defied the odds to beat favourites Samoa in the men's final in Monaco a week earlier.

0:00
/
0:00

Player to watch: Barbara Pla
Rio 2016 will be a family affair for Pla with her brother Pol having also made the Spanish men's team, the pair one of a number of sevens siblings preparing for the Olympic Games. Pla didn't play on the series in 2015-16 due to injury but showed in the repechage how dangerous a player she can be when given a bit of space. 

USA

Coach: Richie Walker
2015-16 series ranking: Sixth
2015-16 titles: None
2015-16 top try / point scorer: Kristen Thomas (15 tries) / Alev Kelter (79 points)

Did you know ...? The USA are the reigning Olympic rugby champions, their men having claimed gold at Paris 1924 when the 15s form of the game was played. They beat France and Romania in the French capital to successfully defend the title they had won in Antwerp four years earlier

Player to watch: Jessica Javelet
One of many crossover athletes in the USA squad, 'JJ' had hoped to become an Olympian in field hockey after playing for the national side and also professionally in Germany. That dream didn't come true, but after a spell playing football she was persuaded to give rugby sevens a go and the rest is history. With 31 tries in her 10 series tournaments to date, the 31-year-old will hope to make the most of her Olympic opportunity.

Who do you think will win the first ever rugby sevens gold medal in Rio? Join the conversation @WorldRugby7s using #Rugby.