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Rugby Africa Men's Seven: 12 nations in the running for the 2024 Olympics

Rugby Africa Men's Seven: 12 nations in the running for the 2024 Olympics

Zimbabwe will host the Africa Men's Seven, the men's rugby qualifying tournament for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Twelve nations will be competing for three direct qualifying places.

While the Paris 2024 Olympics will take place from July 26 to August 11, the teams aiming for a place in the final rugby sevens tournament all have their eyes set on Harare. The Zimbabwean capital will be the venue for the Rugby Africa Men's Seven, the final stage in the bid to secure qualifying tickets for the Olympic tournament. At stake are three places which will directly qualify the winners of the group stages, at the end of the matches to be played on September 16 and 17.

Twelve teams are in the running: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Kenya, Madagascar, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Rugby Afrique has drawn the groups, which will see South Africa, Madagascar, Tunisia and Côte d'Ivoire go head-to-head in Group A. Accustomed to shining on the world circuit, the South Africans will be favourites in this Africa Men's Seven.Behind them, Malagasy and Tunisians will be battling it out for 2nd place, synonymous with access to the play-offs for a place at the 2024 Olympic Games. In Group B, Kenya will have the edge over Zambia, Namibia and Nigeria.

Three or four places for Africa?

Pool C, on the other hand, will be more tightly contested with Uganda, Burkina Faso, Algeria and Zimbabwe. While in the past Zimbabwe and Uganda have had a head start over most of their opponents in this discipline, Algeria is now on the rise, having won the pre-Olympic tournament and qualified for the Africa Men's Seven at the expense of Nigeria. This is sure to set up some hotly contested encounters as the Algerians bid to qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games.

Each group winner will qualify directly for the Olympic tournament, while the group runners-up will go through a play-off tournament. These three guaranteed places could be joined by a 4th, should South Africa finally qualify via the World Rugby Seven Series. On the women's side, Rugby Afrique has yet to draw the groups, but has announced that the qualifying tournament will be held on October 14 and 15 in Tunisia.

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