Argentina and Colombia became the sixth team in the men's and women's competitions to secure tickets to the XXIX Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Following three days of enthralling sevens, two teams advanced directly to Rio for rugby sevens' debut in the Olympics, with four more booking their spot in the global repechage tournament next year for a chance to take the 12th and final spot at the Games. Uruguay and Chile join the men’s section while Argentina and Venezuela will be on the women’s side.

The teary-eyed Colombian women celebrated in Santa Fe, Argentina, after a hard fought last match, a de-facto final as the winner would take all in a round-robin tournament involving eight teams.

The final was intense and whoever had won would have been a fair champion. Argentina opened the scoring with a converted try on the stroke of half-time only to see their lead reduced with a try by Las Tucanes after little more than a minute of action in the second half.

After a series of exchanges, Argentina attacked deep and found a very small gap to break the Colombian defence before Valeria Montero tried to run around the last defender to score closer to the posts with 65 seconds to play but overran the length of the field before touching down. 

Kicking deep from the restart, Colombia put Las Pumas under pressure and recovered the ball and attacked. With 10 seconds until the end of the match, they outran the defence and Guadalupe López put her country, for the first time, in a global rugby competition. The Colombian women loudly celebrated their qualification with the men's team jumping onto the field to share the joy with their compatriots.

“It feels incredible,” said captain Alejandra Betancourt, the senior stateswomen in her side. “We have managed to put Colombian rugby in a place it has never been before and going to an Olympic Games confirms that the hard work we put in paid off. We had been preparing for the past three years for this game, for this moment. We are delighted. Our dreams have become reality.”

There was still time for Betancourt to call the Argentine team together with her own to form a huddle where she told them it was a bittersweet moment for her and her team as both had worked so hard to put women’s rugby on the South American map and that it was sad to see only one team moving forward. They then together shouted: “Rugby femenino de Sudamerica!” (South American women’s rugby).

Argentina, Venezuela and Uruguay shared second position after the round robin but a better points average put the first two in the repechage. This was also an historic achievement for the Venezuelans and a fair reward for player Ingrid Griffin and coach Marisell Méndez who both played in the first ever CONSUR Women’s Sevens back in 2004.


As expected, Santiago Gómez Cora’s side decisively took the ticket to Rio in the men's competition, even after an early scare from the Chilean Condors who on day one led 10-0 going into the second half against Los Pumas. Their bigger experience paid off however, and they managed to turn around that match. It spurred them on as they went through the remaining five games not only scoring tries galore but also keeping their opponents at bay. In all, they scored 308 points and the only points scored against them were in that match.

With the Uruguayans having reached the final game also unbeaten – their toughest match had also been against the Chileans, which they narrowly won 17-14 – the winner knew they would advance to Rio 2016. Uruguay were never allowed into the game, however, as Gastón Revol’s side scored seven unanswered tries for a clear 45-0 win.

“Although we tried to hide it, there was huge pressure to qualify for the Olympic Games,” said a relieved Gómez Cora, one of sevens' great heroes now turned coach. “We knew that the first day would be the hardest but that if we stuck to our systems we should be in a position to go to Rio 2016.

“This team and the larger squad worked very hard so we are delighted now that we finally achieved that goal.”

World Rugby Council Member and CONSUR President Carlos Barbieri was overjoyed by what he saw in Santa Fe. “Rugby is growing in the region and the standard has certainly risen. We are delighted that Argentina confirmed their standing and that a hard working union such as Colombia gets such a huge boost by qualifying their women’s side to the Games. They will make us proud! We also wish the four teams that will play in the global repechage the best of luck. CONSUR will be there to assist them along the way.”


With CONSUR being the first regional association to produce qualifiers, attention will now turn to NACRA’s tournament next weekend, while France put down an early marker by winning the Moscow Sevens, the first of three rounds in the European Grand Prix Series which is doubling up as Rugby Europe's Olympic qualifier.

In the final of that tournament, France beat their hosts Russia 40-17 in the final. The first half in the Russian sunshine had been close with France leading 14-12 thanks to tries from Terry Brouahoua and Stephen Parez, but in the second half they raced clear and outscored their opponents by four tries to one.

A France squad featuring the likes of 15s international Fulgence Oudraogo had looked strong throughout the tournament, beating Romania, Georgia and Wales in the pool stages before sweeping aside England 22-0 in the semi-finals. Spain beat England to finish third, while Portugal and Georgia won the Plate and Bowl finals respectively.

The teams now head to Lyon for round two next weekend.

Meanwhile in Africa, Morocco beat Nigeria 34-7 in the final of the North Africa men's pre-qualifier in Togo over the weekend. They will now progress to the Rugby Africa regional qualifier in Kenya in November.

CONSUR qualifier results


Uruguay 36-0 Peru
Colombia 36-0 Costa Rica
Paraguay 10-0 Chile
Argentina 24-0 Venezuela
Venezuela 0-15 Colombia
Chile 42-0 Peru
Paraguay 43-0 Costa Rica
Argentina 10-14 Uruguay
Costa Rica 0-29 Venezuela
Paraguay 5-10 Uruguay
Chile 12-24 Colombia
Argentina 42-0 Peru
Paraguay 38-5 Peru
Chile 0-21 Venezuela
Colombia 12-0 Uruguay
Argentina 40-0 Costa Rica
Chile 36-0 Costa Rica
Colombia 41-0 Peru
Uruguay 0--15 Venezuela
Argentina 41-12 Paraguay
Colombia 22-0 Paraguay
Uruguay 12-5 Costa Rica
Venezuela 34-0 Peru
Argentina 29-7 Chile
Uruguay 17-14 Chile
Venezuela 12-7 Paraguay
Peru 17-12 Costa Rica
Argentina 7-12 Colombia


Chile 27-0 Venezuela
Colombia 35-0 Peru
Argentina 57-0 Paraguay
Paraguay 5-40 Uruguay
Venezuela 12-24 Colombia
Argentina 17-10 Chile
Peru 0-41 Chile
Colombia 12-24 Uruguay
Argentina 64-0 Venezuela
Peru 14-14 Venezuela
Colombia 5-0 Paraguay
Uruguay 12-7 Chile
Uruguay 31-0 Venezuela
Chile 31-0 Paraguay
Argentina 64-0 Peru
Uruguay 40-0 Peru
Argentina 61–0 Colombia
Paraguay 26-5 Venezuela
Paraguay 19-15 Peru
Chile 17-5 Colombia
Argentina 45-0 Uruguay