Having reigned in Rio, Olympic champions Fiji remain among the hot favourites to win gold again in Tokyo. The Flying Fijians were on fire at Rio de Janeiro’s Deodoro Stadium in 2016, and their reputation for flare summed up the party atmosphere surrounding rugby sevens’ Olympics debut.
Five years on, and the Tokyo Olympic Games is billed to bring yet another feast for the senses as rugby’s sevens stars make their long-awaited return to the international stage at Tokyo Stadium (26-31 July).
While attention was on Josua Tuisova and company as Fiji romped to a 43-7 victory over Team GB in the gold medal match in Rio, eyes could not avert Team USA’s rapid Carlin Isles, who – having notched up six tries during Rio 2016 – is among those set to return for Olympics action again this year.
Among the other returning faces, Fiji’s hot-stepping Jerry Tuwai and Team GB’s try-machine Dan Norton, will be welcome inclusions at this year’s Games, while there is sure to be several new names to make their Olympics debut, as well as a few stars of the 15s game looking to achieve Olympic glory.
World Rugby will keep you updated with all the Tokyo 2020 squad announcements as they happen.
Four players who competed at Rio 2016 have been included in the Argentina squad for the Tokyo Olympics.
Captain Santiago Álvarez is joined by Rodrigo Etchart, Gastón Revol – the oldest member of the squad at 34 years of age – and Germán Schulz in returning for a second Games.
Meanwhile, Lucio Cinti, Ignacio Mendy and Marcos Moneta are all bidding to add the Olympic gold medal to the one they won at the Youth Olympics on home soil in Buenos Aires in 2018.
Squad: Santiago Álvarez (capt.), Lautaro Bazán, Lucio Cinti, Rodrigo Etchart, Luciano González, Rodrigo Isgro, Santiago Mare, Ignacio Mendy, Marcos Moneta, Matías Osadczuk, Gastón Revol, Germán Schulz
Former Wallabies centre Samu Kerevi is the standout name in Tim Walsh's 12-man squad which is captained by Nick Malouf.
Walsh insists the 33-test Wallaby is in on merit. "In the short amount of time he’s got better every single time he’s got on the training paddock,” said Walsh of Kerevi. “He complements the team really well.
“Performance is No.1. [We] absolutely considered how Kerevi would fit in and again he had no expectations he was going to come into the team. He was chomping at the bit to come in and have a crack. He came in and he impressed.
“His skill level is incredible from a catch-pass [perspective] and his decision making. He’s a world-class player. He won’t be this 14-minute sevens player. He has a role to play.”
Malouf and Henry Hutchison are the only dual Olympians in a squad that also features the likes of Lachlan Anderson, Dylan Pietsch and former Rugby League star Maurice Longbottom.
Squad: Lachlan Anderson, Joe Pincus, Dylan Pietsch, Nicholas Malouf (capt.), Henry Paterson, Maurice Longbottom, Joshua Coward, Joshua Turner, Lachlan Miller, Samu Kerevi, Dietrich Roache, Henry Hutchison
Canada's all-time leading rugby sevens points-scorer Nathan Hirayama and the equally experienced Harry Jones co-captain Canada. The pair have played nearly 700 World Series matches between them.
“It’s an honour to compete for Canada at Tokyo 2020,” Hirayama said. “We travel the world representing Canada, but this will be my first Olympic Games and we’re excited to get to Tokyo. It’s been an unprecedented year, but we’ve been training and preparing as best we can and look forward to competing.”
Squad: Phil Berna, Connor Braid, Andrew Coe, Justin Douglas, Mike Fuailefau, Lucas Hammond, Nathan Hirayama, Harry Jones, Patrick Kay, Matt Mullins, Theo Sauder, Jake Thiel, Conor Trainor
World Sevens Player of the Year 2019 winner Jerry Tuwai will lead a formidable-looking Fiji squad as the Islanders prepare to defend the gold medal they won in Rio.
Tuwai is the only survivor of the Fiji team that won gold in the first-ever Olympic sevens competition in 2016, but head coach Gareth Baber has selected a squad oozing with experience and quality, including former captain Kalione Nasoko.
Nasoko made his return from ACL surgery at the recent Oceania Sevens and will provide the power upfront alongside Josua Vakurinabili, Meli Derenalagi and Asaeli Tuivuaka.
Semi Radradra, meanwhile, has been backed to produce the skills he regularly shows in 15s on sevens' grandest stage, despite not having played in a World Series tournament for almost three years.
“I know him as an individual, an athlete and he keeps himself in a supreme condition,” Baber said. “He is blessed to have the skill level of a sevens player even though he predominantly plays 15s and has done remarkable work for us when he played for us either in sevens or 15s.”
Squad: Kalione Nasoko, Josua Vakurinabili, Meli Derenalagi, Iosefo Masi, Asaeli Tuivuaka, Semi Radradra, Vilimoni Botitu, Waisea Nacuqu, Napolioni Bolaca, Jiuta Wainiqolo, Aminiasi Tuimaba, Jerry Tuwai (capt.)
Silver-medallists in 2016, Great Britain will be chomping at the bit for this year’s Olympic Games as several of their star names from Rio return to the sevens fray. England’s Tom Mitchell will captain Team GB once again after leading the outfit to the final five years ago.
Among the squad’s other returning Olympians, record try-scorer Norton will bring a wealth of experience and pace to burn to Japan, while Dan Bibby, Ollie Lindsay-Hague, and Alex Davis have also been selected for their second Games.
Meanwhile, England’s Ethan Waddleton and Harry Glover and Scotland’s Max McFarland are among those to get their first taste of an Olympics, having also impressed during the men’s rugby seven’s tournament at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
During the squad announcement, Team GB Chef de Mission for the Tokyo Olympic Games Mark England, said: “Rugby sevens made its memorable debut at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with both men’s and women’s teams inspiring fans across the globe with the fast pace and excitement that this sport has to offer."
Squad: Alec Coombes, Ben Harris, Ethan Waddleton, Ross McCann, Alex Davis, Tom Mitchell (capt), Robbie Fergusson, Dan Bibby, Harry Glover, Ollie Lindsay-Hague, Max McFarland, Dan Norton, Tom Bowen (13th player)
Olympic Repechage winners Ireland will be captained in Tokyo by Billy Dardis, the man who has spearheaded his team's dramatic rise in international rugby sevens.
“Having the honour of being selected to captain Ireland at the Olympics is special and I don’t think I’ll come to realise the enormity of it for some time to come," he said. "Going to Tokyo, we as a squad are representing so much more than ourselves and our families, but Irish Sport and Irish Rugby on the biggest sporting stage. To lead this group out at the Olympics will be an extremely proud moment.”
Dardis is joined by other seasoned campaigners such as Harry McNulty, who has played more than 50 World Series matches, last season's World Series top try-scorer Jordan Conroy and Terry Kennedy. Adam Leavy, the brother of Ireland 15s international Dan, is also named in the squad.
Squad: Jordan Conroy, Billy Dardis (Capt.), Ian Fitzpatrick, Foster Horan, Jack Kelly, Terry Kennedy, Adam Leavy, Hugo Lennox, Harry McNulty, Gavin Mullin, Greg O’Shea, Mark Roche, Bryan Mollen (13th player)
Chihito Matsui has been named captain of the Japan Men's Sevens for this year’s home tournament as Lote Tuqiri, Kazushi Hano and Masakatsu Hiko all make returns to the national sevens Olympics squad after helping Japan to the semi-finals at Rio 2016.
After their men’s 15s team stunned the rugby world at Rugby World Cup 2015 by beating South Africa in the pool stages, Japan’s sevens outfit pulled off a similar shock win at the Deodoro Stadium in Rio de Janeiro by defeating New Zealand 14-12 in their opening group game less than a year later.
Japan went on to secure fourth place after losing 54-14 against South Africa in the bronze medal match. Tuqiri dotted down to help Japan defeat France 12-7 in the quarter-finals before they lost to the eventual gold medal winners Fiji 20-5 in the semi-finals.
Squad: Kippei Ishida, Ryota Kano, Jose Seru, Kameli Raravou Latianara Soejima, Lote Tuqiri, Kazushi Hano, Masakatsu Hikosaka, Yoshikazu Fujita, Brackin Henry, Colin Raijin Bourke, Chihito Matsui (captain), Naoki Motomura
Andrew Amonde captains the Shujaa and is one of four survivors from the squad that was on duty at the Rio Olympics in 2016 where they finished 11th overall.
Also returning for their second Olympic appearances are Kenya's record try-scorer on the World Series Collins Injera, Billy Odhiambo and Willy Ambaka.
Squad: Andrew Amonde (Capt.), Alvin Otieno, Vincent Onyala, Herman Humwa, Collins Injera, Daniel Taabu, Willy Ambaka, Johnstone Olindi, Eden Agero,Jeffrey Oluoch, Nelson Oyoo, Jacob Ojee, Billy Odhiambo
One of the Korean players hoping to stand out from the crowd in Tokyo is former University of Berkeley student Andre Jin, who has an American father and a Korean mother. Any physical advantage is crucial in rugby, and Kim certainly has an edge as he stands at 1.95m tall.
Yongheung Chang, the hero of Korea's golden-point victory over Hong Kong in the Asia Olympic qualifier in November 2019, is another player looking to catch the eye for the Olympic debutants.
Squad: Yongheung Chang, Jeongmin Jang, Yeonsik Jeong, Hyunsoo Kim, Kunkyu Han, Namuk Kim, Seongbae Lee, Wanyong Park (Capt.), Jinkyu Lee, Andre Jin, Seongmin Jang, Seongdeok Choi, Gwongmin Kim
Rising All Blacks star Caleb Clarke is the headline omission from the All Blacks Sevens squad of 12 for the Olympics, although the Blues player will still go to Tokyo as one of the travelling reserves.
Veteran World Series campaigners, Tim Mikkelson and Scott Curry are co-captains of a squad that combines experience with youthful talent, including the Chiefs’ outside back Etene Nanai-Seturo.
Coach Clark Laidlaw said it was the toughest team selection he has been involved in.
“Going to the Olympics is the pinnacle of four or five years of work. We were conscious of that as coaches and selectors, so we made sure we were really clear on how we want to play the game, where the players were at and picked the best team to go forward," he said.
Squad: Tim Mikkelson (co-capt.), Scott Curry (co-capt.), Dylan Collier, Tone Ng Shiu, Sam Dickson, Andrew Knewstubb, Ngarohi McGarvey-Black, Sione Molia, Kurt Baker, Joe Webber, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Regan Ware
Olympic bronze medallist Justin Geduld is set for a second Games, while Branco du Preez and Chris Dy have been included in Neil Powell's squad after missing out in 2016.
The trio of Springbok Sevens stalwarts will take 199 tournaments worth of HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series experience with them to Tokyo. Du Preez and Dry – who went to Rio as travelling reserves but did not get a chance to play – are South Africa’s most experienced World Series players, with 75 and 74 tournaments respectively, while Geduld has played in 50 World Series tournaments.
In fact, all the players in Powell’s squad have played on the global circuit before, with travelling reserve Ronald Brown the only newcomer.
Siviwe Soyizwapi has been named as captain and will resume his leadership role in the squad.
Squad: Chris Dry, Sako Makata, Impi Visser, Zain Davids, Angelo Davids, JC Pretorius, Branco du Preez, Selvyn Davids, Justin Geduld, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Siviwe Soyizwapi (Capt.), Stedman Gans
Folau Niua and Perry Baker have made remarkable recoveries from serious injury to make the US Men’s Sevens Eagles 12-man squad for the Olympics.
Niua only recently returned to action after being out for nearly two years with a seriously broken leg, while Baker also suffered a broken leg in February but also came through the recent Quest for Gold Sevens tournament in Los Angeles.
Niua is the most capped USA Sevens player of all time with 69 World Series tournaments behind him, while Perry is a two-time World Rugby Men’s Sevens Player of the Year (2018, 2019) winner.
Led by Madison Hughes, Mike Friday’s squad is packed with experience and includes the irrepressible Danny Barrett and the USA’s all-time leading try-scorer Carlin Isles.
Squad: Perry Baker, Danny Barrett, Maceo Brown Tempe, Madison Hughes (capt.), Martin Iosefo, Carlin Isles, Matai Leuta Monterey, Folau Niua, Joe Schroeder, Stephen Tomasin, Kevon Williams