LONDON, May 16 (Reuters) - England will represent Great Britain in the inaugural rugby sevens tournament at the 2016 Olympics after guaranteeing a top-four slot in the World Series at Twickenham on Saturday.
England hammered Brazil 56-7 and then beat Kenya 40-0 in pool play to join Fiji, South Africa and New Zealand, winners of the last four world series titles, as automatic qualifiers, even though they still had one pool game to play against Scotland.
They initially earned the chance to represent Britain after being the highest-finishing of the home unions in last year’s sevens World Series.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” said England captain Tom Mitchell. “Our focus is solely on the tournament but we will enjoy this feeling for a bit. It’s a massive achievement for us. Any athlete would love the opportunity to play and it’s amazing to think we have a chance to be in Rio.”
Fiji, who have not won the overall title since 2006, signed off the pool phase of the series by hammering Canada 31-14 to make it a clean sweep of 27 wins out of 27 during the season.
After South Africa were surprisingly beaten by the United States — who came back from 12-0 down at halftime to win 21-12 — they will face Fiji in the quarter-finals on Sunday when the winner will be guaranteed overall World Sevens champions whoever goes on to triumph in the London final.
“I’m pleased with what we’ve done in the whole season unbeaten in the Pool stages. That’s a big achievement,” said Fiji coach Ben Ryan ahead of the decider against South Africa.
“We win tomorrow morning, we win the world title simple as that. It’s good to be in control of our own destiny. We are in a Cup final tomorrow, anything after that is irrelevant really.” (Editing by Martyn Herman)