Reigning Pan Am men’s rugby sevens champions Canada have been drawn in the same pool as Argentina, the team they defeated 26-24 in the final four years ago, as they prepare to defend their title on home soil.
Argentina have been given top seed status in Pool B by virtue of finishing eighth in the HSBC Sevens World Series, one place higher than the Canadians, who won gold in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 2011 (main picture). Brazil and Guyana are the other two teams in Pool B.
The USA, who finished sixth in the World Series after winning their first title in London last month, head up Pool A and are joined by Uruguay, Chile and Mexico.
The USA and Colombia have the honour of kicking-off the men’s tournament with Uruguay v Chile, Argentina v Guyana and Canada v Brazil completing the opening round of fixtures.
Fittingly, Argentina and Canada bring day one to a close in a match-up that could well decide who tops Pool B and goes on to play the lowest-ranked of the sides in Pool A in the cross-pool knockout stages.
Canada women aiming to strike gold
For the first time a women’s rugby sevens event will be held at the Pan Am Games. The teams in seeded order are Canada, USA, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Mexico with all teams to play each other in a round robin.
Hosts Canada get proceedings underway with a game against Colombia, while North American rivals USA take on Brazil and Mexico play Argentina in the second and third matches of the day.
The make-up of the gold and bronze medal matches, as well as the fifth-place play-off, will be determined by the finishing positions after all five rounds of pool matches are completed on day two.
Being able to draw on the sort of partisan home support they received at the inaugural Canada Women's Sevens in Langford in April, not to mention their second-place finish in the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series 2014-15, makes Canada's women strong contenders to emulate the men and become the first ever Pan Am women's sevens champions, although the USA in particular with have something to say about that.
Canada’s top four series finish means they have automatically qualified for Rio 2016, and the Pan Am Games will no doubt form an important part of their preparation for next year's global gathering.
By the time the Pan Am Games kick-off, two more women’s – and men’s – teams will have booked their place to Rio via the two Olympic qualifiers in the Americas.
Argentina's men and Colombia's women qualified last weekend from the South American (CONSUR) regional event in Sante Fe, Argentina, while Cary in North Carolina hosts the North America and Caribbean (NACRA) qualifier this coming weekend.
Pan Am Games rugby sevens pools and fixtures
Men's competition - men's
Pool A: USA, Uruguay, Chile, Mexico
Pool B: Argentina, Canada, Brazil, Guyana
Fixtures - 11 July
USA v Chile
Uruguay v Mexico
Argentina v Brazil
Canada v Guyana
USA v Mexico
Uruguay v Chile
Argentina v Guyana
Canada v Brazil
Chile v Mexico
USA v Uruguay
Brazil v Guyana
Argentina v Canada
Women's pool: Canada, USA, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico
Fixtures - 11-12 July
Canada v Colombia
USA v Brazil
Mexico v Argentina
USA v Colombia
Canada v Mexico
Argentina v USA
Canada v Brazil
Colombia v Mexico
Argentina v Canada
Colombia v Brazil
Mexico v USA
Argentina v Colombia
Brazil v Mexico
Canada v USA
For more information or to purchase rugby sevens tickets, please visit www.toronto2015.org/tickets.
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