As expected, the Brazilian women’s team and Uruguay's men became the first two teams to confirm their tickets to Paris 2024 through regional Olympic qualifying, emerging victorious at the Estadio Charrúa in Montevideo over the weekend.
Confirmation of the two South American qualifiers means we now know the identity of half of the 24 teams that will compete at the 2024 Olympic Games.
Brazil will join New Zealand, Australia, the USA and Ireland – who qualified via the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series – and hosts France in the women's tournament in Paris.
Uruguay, meanwhile, will take their place alongside France and Series qualifiers New Zealand, Argentina, Fiji and Australia in the men's tournament.
Argentina and Paraguay will have an opportunity to join Brazil in the women's tournament when they compete in the World Rugby Sevens Repechage. Those two nations will also represent South America in the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series 2024.
Chile and Brazil will be the two men's teams in the Repechage while the Chileans will join Uruguay in next year's Challenger Series.
With their ample experience in the Series as a key factor, As Yaras were unstoppable throughout the round-robin women's tournament.
#YARAS🇧🇷🏉 nos @jogosolimpicos @paris2024 @timebrasil 🏆 21 título sul-americanos invictos!— Brasil Rugby (@brasilrugby) June 18, 2023
E #TUPIS🇧🇷🏉 na Repescagem Mundial do ano que vem, que vale a última vaga em Paris 👏
📷 @kevin_sganzerla #BrasilRugby #VemProRugby pic.twitter.com/lzUb3eBhlK
Having hosted Rio 2016 and qualified for Tokyo 2020, they once again celebrated the joy of being South America's female representatives.
Brazil's journey in Montevideo included wins against Peru (27-0), Argentina (17-5), and Paraguay (27-0) on the first day, and victories against hosts Uruguay (48-0), Chile (45-7) and in the last game against Colombia by a clear 38-0.
Although it was not a good season for Brazil at the highest level, it was a great preparation to win the regional title for the 21st time. They arrived as favourites and fulfilled the forecasts.
Only Argentina pushed them at times, together with Chile the other team that managed to breach their try-line.
In six games, Brazil conceded just two tries, while scoring 33 points per game on average, and 34 tries in an attack that had the unstoppable Bianca Silva with eight tries, having returned from playing rugby in Japan. Gabriela Lima and Thalia Costa scored six times each.
Colombia, having played in the Olympic Games in 2016 after winning the Olympic qualifier in Santa Fe, Argentina, also failed against As Yaras, losing 38-0.
The Argentine Yaguaretés, very well supported during the weekend by a noisy group of supporters who crossed the River Plate, finished in a deserved second place, losing only to Brazil.
The experienced Sofía González also finished as the tournament's top points scorer with 62 points thanks to her six tries and 16 conversions.
They will again be involved in the Repechage tournament which will determine the 12th and last place for Paris 2024.
The Yaguaretés will be accompanied by Paraguay, who finished in a deserved third place.
Uruguay and an Olympic debut
Argentina, the dominating force in the region that played in the previous two Olympic Games – claiming the bronze medallist at Tokyo 2020 – had already qualified for Paris through the Series, opening an unexpected opportunity for a second regional men's team.
Los Teros Sevens seized the historic opportunity to qualify for their first Olympic Games by winning in Montevideo, defeating Chile 12-5 in a tough final. They did it in front of a large number of noisy fans at the Estadio Charrúa, including former rugby player and President of Uruguay Luis Lacalle Pou.
The tournament was played in a round-robin format, with the best two teams advancing to the final.
When the teams met on Saturday, the hosts ran out with a tight 14-12 win. Uruguay were undefeated on the way to securing their ticket to the Olympic Games and, with Chile, a place in the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series 2024.
In the final, Chilean indiscipline opened up space for the Uruguayan attack – a yellow card in each half was too much of an advantage for a team with enormous experience.
Uruguay dominated the first half, forward James McCubbin opened the scoring by diving under the posts, quickly capitalising on the numbers difference as Chile were down to six players.
Veteran scrum-half Guillermo Litjenstein added the conversion and quick of mind and feet, in his own half, tapped a penalty seconds later to launch an attack that ended with captain Diego Ardao touching down on the left flag to go into the break leading 12-0.
🏆 ¡𝐂𝐀𝐌𝐏𝐄𝐎𝐍𝐄𝐒!— Teros 7's (@Teros7s) June 18, 2023
🥇 𝐂𝐥𝐚𝐬𝐢𝐟𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐝𝐨𝐬 𝐚 𝐥𝐨𝐬 𝐉𝐮𝐞𝐠𝐨𝐬 𝐎𝐥𝐢́𝐦𝐩𝐢𝐜𝐨𝐬 𝐝𝐞 𝐏𝐚𝐫𝐢́𝐬 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟒.
🇺🇾 URUGUAY NOMÁ. pic.twitter.com/GeMsBelnoX
Chile regained their composure during the break and Diego Warnken wriggled past two tackles to score in the right corner in the second minute.
Any hopes were lost with a second sin-bin, and Uruguay then controlled possession and position desperate to secure the Olympic spot.
When Diego Ardao kicked the ball as far as possible with time up, celebrations showed the hunger of a team that had a great performance on the Series but due to the reduction from 16 to 12 teams for the 2024 season could not secure their place among the sevens elite.
Their Series experienced allowed them to dominate the tournament and deservedly win an Olympic berth.
The meaning of this historic moment for the Uruguayan team was given by captain Ardao: “Joy, relief, pride. It is an incredible feeling. We had a lot at stake, not just qualifying for the Olympic Games, and we knew how important it was for us.
"I think that we showed throughout the tournament the desire with which we came to look for this goal.”
Uruguay coach Ivo Dungojic added. “This started in February 2022 with a dream. We went to the Challenger Series in Chile and qualified for the Series.
"What mostly comes to mind is my family and those of the players who gave an incredible extra chasing a dream that we were able to achieve. But this does not stop… this continues!”
Brazil, in sudden death
Third place would secure a place in the World Rugby Sevens Repechage and the play-off showcased the importance of this game. Colombia took a half-time 14-0 lead against Brazil only to see that two-try lead slip away.
Os Tupis managed to draw the game with a converted try in the last second to take the game to sudden death.
From kick-off, with patience, the 2016 Olympians never lost control in the two and a half minutes that sudden death lasted.
With Sergio de Luna breaking the defensive line, and off-loading a try-scoring pass to Lorenzo Bassari to secure a new opportunity to seek the Olympic ticket.
Colombia 0-19 Argentina
Brazil 27-0 Peru
Chile 14-12 Uruguay
Brazil 17-5 Argentina
Chile 17-12 Peru
Uruguay 7-17 Paraguay
Colombia 34-7 Peru
Brazil 27-0 Paraguay
Argentina 52-0 Chile
Paraguay 14-14 Colombia
Peru 0-12 Uruguay
Paraguay 14-12 Chile
Argentina 43-0 Uruguay
Colombia 22-0 Chile
Peru 0-31 Argentina
Brazil 48-0 Uruguay
Paraguay 26-12 Peru
Chile 7-45 Brazil
Colombia 12-17 Uruguay
Paraguay 7-31 Argentina
Brazil 38-0 Colombia
Brazil 36-7 Colombia
Chile 31-0 Paraguay
Uruguay 55-0 Peru
Brazil 5-19 Chile
Uruguay 24-0 Colombia
Paraguay 12-10 Peru
Colombia 0-12 Peru
Brazil 26-5 Paraguay
Chile 12-14 Uruguay
Colombia 17-14 Paraguay
Uruguay 27-7 Brazil
Chile 40-0 Peru
Colombia 0-50 Chile
Uruguay 43-7 Paraguay
Brazil 68-0 Peru
Fifth place play-off – Peru 26-24 Paraguay
Third place play-off – Brazil 19-14 Colombia (sudden death)
Final – Uruguay 12-5 Chile