The anticipation is palpable as rugby sevens gets set to debut at the Olympic Games. Three days of women's action will show the crowds at the Deodoro Stadium just why rugby has been reintroduced to the Olympic stage before the men get their turn to battle it out for medals.

With 12 teams chasing three medals, we've picked out seven men's players who have the potential to turn a game on its head.




The brother of fellow Kenyan sevens star Humphrey Kayange, Injera is the all-time leading try scorer on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series with 235. It was a long road to reach that accolade though for the 29-year-old, having started playing sevens in 2006 where he made his debut in Dubai. Ten years later he claimed the record at the London Sevens, scoring a try off a pass from his brother, a truly special moment at Twickenham in front of his parents.

Kenya's clinical finisher Collins Injera
Look out for all-time top try scorer Collins Injera at Rio 2016, Kenya's clinical finisher

Despite being an experienced head on the world series, it was only back in May that Injera lifted his first ever Cup silverware as Kenya made history with a win in Singapore. His two tries in the first half of the final against Fiji put the momentum firmly with Kenya and again highlighted Injera's big game mentality, a crucial asset heading into the Olympic Games.

So what can fans expect at Rio 2016? Pace and power, and plenty of it. Injera is renowned for his stamina on the pitch and strength in defence and attack. If Kenya are hoping for medals, Injera will certainly be a big part of the plan. 


Perry Baker may just be a global household name in the making when it comes to rugby sevens. Fans who have dipped a toe into the world series will have seen his exploits on the global stage. Silky running, clinical finishing and arguably the second fastest player out there behind USA team-mate Carlin Isles. 

Know as "Speedstick", Baker almost broke into the NFL back in 2013 when he was earmarked to be a wide receiver with the Philadelphia Eagles, following in the footsteps of his brother Dallas who won the Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2009. However, a career-ending knee injury thwarted his trajectory into NFL fame and it's in that tough time that Baker found rugby sevens.  

Baker's impact on the world series has been huge, finishing as second highest try scorer for 2015-16 with 48 tries. At the London Sevens in 2014-15, Baker was an integral part of the USA's first ever Cup win, scoring twice in the semi-final against England and once in the final against Australia. 

The "speedstick" Perry Baker
One of the fastest rugby players on the planet. A silky running style and quick step makes USA's Perry Baker one to watch in Rio.


There's a perfect story brewing with Fiji and the Olympic Games. The Pacific islanders have never won a gold medal in any discipline and with both the men's and women's sides in Rio for rugby sevens, their chances have never been better.

Spearheading the men's tilt at Olympic glory is Osea Kolinisau, a veritable legend on the world series with a big smile and a big engine who will carry his country's flag at the Opening Ceremony.

Named in the series dream team for 2015-16, Kolinisau has led his side to consecutive series titles with incredible skill in both defence and attack. He was the top tackler on the 2015-16 series with 128 and is one of only a few Fijian players who regularly plays almost every minute of every match during a tournament. If any player needs to be on song for Fiji to get on the podium, it's Kolinisau.

Fiji's talisman Osea Kolinisau - Olympics Sevens Uncovered
He will be leading his team at Rio 2016 as they aim to win Fiji's first ever gold medal at the Olympics. Meet Osea Kolinisau.


Few players are more dangerous in rugby sevens than France's Virimi Vakatawa. In fact, he showed so much promise during the first two rounds of the 2015-16 series that France 15s coach Guy Noves selected him for their Six Nations campaign, spreading his attacking flare to packed out stadiums across Europe. 

Despite starting out in 15s with Racing Metro though, Vakatawa has found his home in the seven-a-side game. At over 90kg, he is one of the bigger players out there, but with his lightning quick step and unbelievable handling skills, he plays more like his fleet-footed team-mateTerry Bouhraoua.

His Fijian roots shine through in his playing style, typified by his Sonny Bill Williams-style offloads, which earned him a place in the series dream team. Keep your eyes peeled for Vakatawa in Rio. 

Olympics Sevens Uncovered: France danger men Candelon and Vakatawa
One is an experienced head on the world series, the other has broken through in the past two years. Meet France's Julien Candelon and Virimi Vakatawa


At 19 years old, Rieko Ioane is a sevens prodigy. He made his debut on the world series when he was 17 and produced performances beyond his years in his first season, scoring six tries on his debut in Wellington in 2015 as New Zealand lifted the Cup. The younger brother of Akira, the duo play for the Blues in Super Rugby and were only cherry picked for certain events during the 2015-16 series. However when they were chosen, New Zealand tended to produce some of their best running rugby.

In Sydney and Wellington earlier in the year, New Zealand walked away with two Cup victories with Rieko instrumental in both tournaments. In Wellington, he scored five tries. In Sydney, seven tries, including a hat-trick in the final against Australia. Give him the ball and he does the rest. With pace and vision to be on the shoulder of playmakers like Joe Webber and Gillies Kaka, you can be sure to see Ioane going over the whitewash for tries in Rio.


Little "King" Henry, according to TV commentator Sean Maloney, has been in royal form during the 2015-16 series and took home the coveted Rookie of the Year award following his performances.

At just 19 years old, Hutchison is another young buck making waves in the world of rugby sevens. He scored 27 tries on the series, eighth overall in the try-scoring charts for 2015-16 and one behind the aforementioned Rieko Ioane. Give Hutchison an inch of space and he more than likely will turn it into points on the board. He may be "King" Henry but will he be walking away from Rio with gold?


Just one of four players on the world series to have scored more than 200 tries, Norton is a member of an exclusive club that puts him firmly as one to watch heading into Rio. Usually plying his trade with England, being part of Team GB will be a new experience for the 28-year-old but rest assured his try-scoring prowess looks set to continue, having found form on the 2015-16 series.

With 22 tries to his name, including a six-try haul in Hong Kong in April, Norton has regained the kind of form that saw him shred defences to pieces back in the 2011-12 series, where he finished as second top try scorer with 37 tries.

Olympics 7 in 60: Dan Norton
With over 200 tries on the world series, Team GB's Dan Norton had an ambition to play at Rio 2016 as will now fulfill that after being named in the 12-man squad.

Considering Team GB have New Zealand, Kenya and Japan in their pool, Norton will be relied on for his unbelievably quick feet and outright pace to help them into the knockout stages.

Who do you think will win the first ever rugby sevens gold medal in Rio? Join the conversation @WorldRugby7s using #Rugby7s