Argentina have sent a strong squad to the Chilean capital of Santiago for this weekend’s South American men’s Olympic qualifying tournament as they look to make it to back-to-back Olympic Games.
Gaston Revol (pictured), who led Argentina to a sixth-place finish at Rio 2016, is included alongside current captain Santiago Álvarez and they are joined by highly experienced forwards Fernando Luna and Germán Schulz, with top try scorer Franco Sábato retaining his spot on the wing.
Argentina won the only previous Olympic qualifier in 2015, with hosts Brazil also representing South America when sevens made its debut at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
They go into the tournament having finished the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in ninth place and must negotiate their way past Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, and Guatemala in Pool A.
“We fully understand the importance of the tournament but we’re also at ease with the hard work done over the year in the series, which has allowed us to develop a competitive team,” said Argentina coach Santiago Gomez Cora.
“Our focus has been on teamwork and correcting some of the repeated mistakes that haunted us during the season.
“We have another chance to qualify for the Olympic Games and we want to do it as soon as possible and start focusing on Tokyo.”
Defending South American champions and tournament hosts Chile travelled to Spain for altitude training in preparation for the qualifier.
Los Condores Sevens find themselves in Pool B with Uruguay, Brazil, Venezuela and Costa Rica.
The winner in Santiago will join hosts Japan and the four qualifiers via the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in champions Fiji, USA, New Zealand and South Africa in booking their place at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The next two teams will have another shot via the global repechage tournament next year.
With the Pan-American Games fast approaching at the end of July, the tournament in Chile also offers the last remaining slot for Lima 2019. As Argentina, Chile and Uruguay have already qualified, the best team other than these three will secure their place in the eight-team tournament.