This weekend in Santiago, Chile, South America's finest Rugby Sevens players will compete in the Odesur Games, the continent's premier multi-sport event.
Argentina's men and Brazil's women will start as favourites at the event, where the Rugby on the pitch is doubling for the first time as the South American region’s CONSUR Sevens championships.
As well as vying for the honour of being crowned regional champions, the eight nations involved also have a double incentive with the men’s and women’s winners each booking a place at next year's Pan-American Games in Toronto, Canada.
In the men's competition HSBC Sevens World Series regulars Argentina may start as favourites but Hong Kong-bound Chile have beaten Argentine sides at the last two tournaments in the region and have four players who play their rugby in New Zealand, and one in France.
In the women's event Brazil will start as the nine-time regional champions, but Argentina have made solid progress in recent years and should provide the Brazilians - the most recent tournament hosts on the IRB Women's Sevens World Series in Sao Paolo - with stiff competition.
"This tournament is very important for these teams, who are all planning in different ways towards the Rio 2016 Olympic Games," said IRB Regional General Manager for South America, Santiago Ramallo.
"In this region we have a number of big multisport Games and with Rugby Sevens now a part of the Olympic family the sport is now included, which is extremely significant for the wider development of the game here.
"Booking a place at the Pan-American Games on the path to Rio will be a major boost for two of the teams competing and we will them all the best."
Men's teams - Rugby Sevens, ODESUR Games
Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, Colombia
Women's teams - Rugby Sevens, ODESUR Games
Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, Paraguay, Venezuela, Colombia
Video profile: Brazil's Santini stars on world stage in Sao Paolo
Player Quotes of Support
“More than anything, Sevens embodies the Olympic ideals of camaraderie, fair play and respect on and off the field of play.” – Shane Williams, Wales
“You play sport at the highest level to challenge yourself to be the best that you can possibly be and to compete with the best from all over the world, and what better stage to do that on than at the Olympics?” – Sue Day, England
“Going to the Commonwealth Games was amazing and to have the chance to go to the Olympics would be right up there with anything you could possibly dream of doing in sport.” – Tamati Ellison, New Zealand
CLICK HERE FOR MORE SUPPORT QUOTES >>
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