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Canadian men to travel to Monaco in bid for final Olympic rugby sevens spot

December 10, 2015 - 10:57 AM

The Canadian men's rugby sevens team will have to go to Monaco for its final Olympic qualification bid.

World Rugby announced Thursday that the men's final Olympic repechage tournament will take place June 18-19 at Monaco's Stade Louis.

Canada will be competing against Chile, Germany, Ireland, Hong Kong, Mexico, Morocco, Russia, Samoa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tonga, Tunisia, Uruguay and Zimbabwe for the final remaining Olympic men's berth.

The winner will join Argentina, Australia, Britain, Fiji, France, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand, South Africa, the U.S., and hosts Brazil in Rio de Janeiro next summer.

The Canadian men were beaten 21-5 by the U.S. in June in North Carolina in the final of 2015 NACRA Sevens, consigning them to the repechage tournament.

Canada had the best finish on the HSBC World Series overall standings last season among the repechage teams, placing ninth. Samoa was 10th.

The Monaco event follows on the heels of the final event of the men's 10-stop World Series.

Canadian sevens coach Liam Middleton had hoped Canada might host the last-chance tournament, but Monaco won out.

Dublin's UCD Bowl will host the women's repechage June 25-26. The Canadian women have already qualified by virtue of finishing second overall in the 2014-15 overall season standings.

"These final repechage tournaments are the culmination of a long process that gives all our member unions the opportunity to participate and potentially qualify for the Olympic Games," World Rugby chairman Bernard Lapasset said in a statement." This pathway reflects the universality and global nature of our sport."

Argentina, China, the Cook Islands, Hong Kong, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Mexico, Portugal, Russia, Samoa, Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Uruguay and Zimbabwe will be competing for the final women's spot.

Canada, Australia, Britain, Colombia, France, Fiji, Japan, New Zealand, the U.S., and hosts Brazil have already qualified for the Olympic women's field.

In 15-man news, Canada will face Ireland on Nov. 12 at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

Ireland, ranked sixth in the world to No. 19 for Canada, beat the Canadians 50-7 in September at the Rugby World Cup.

"Canada is delighted to confirm the fixture with Ireland in November 2016," Rugby Canada's national program manager Gareth Rees said. "Canada showed it can compete with Tier One nations at the Rugby World Cup. We look forward to the challenge Ireland poses on the field but also renewing the special relationship between Canada and Ireland."

The 2016 fixture marks Canada's third visit to Ireland, following games in 1997 and 2008. Canada is 0-6-1 al-time against the Irish.

Canada will also battle Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and the U.S. in the Americas Rugby Championship in February and March before facing Italy in Toronto in June in another Rugby World Cup rematch.

The Brazil game is slated for Feb. 20 in Langford, B.C.

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

News from © The Canadian Press, 2015
The Canadian Press

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