The return of rugby to the Olympic Games is only a few days away. The teams have been selected, the groups are known and players are arriving to train and adjust to the climate before the opening ceremony.
We’ve examined the Men’s line-ups for the competition and selected 14 players we think it’s worth paying special attention to.
1. Marcus Watson (Team GB)
Newcastle Falcons winger star Marcus Watson makes his return to the sport for the Olympics after lighting up the Aviva Premiership, which included a double against reigning champions Saracens.
And he will travel to Rio with Newcastle’s support, with director of rugby Dean Richards looking forward to welcoming him back in time for the start of the new season.
“We are incredibly proud that Marcus will be part of the Olympic Games and we wish him all the best for his time over in Brazil,” said Richards.
“It is fantastic that rugby 7s has been welcomed into the games, it will help promote the sport to a new audience and for Marcus it is an amazing opportunity.”
2. Juan Imhoff (Argentina)
Juan Imhoff is another big name XV player that has made the transition to Sevens for the Olympics.
While other XV stars on this list have gained a fair amount of Sevens experience over the last year, Imhoff remains a bit of a wild card. However, as one of the most experienced players in Argentinas XVs squad, Imhoff has big stage experience and is positionally flexible. He could be a breakout Sevens star in this tournament.
3. Cameron Clark (Australia)
Cameron Clark has been a familiar face in the Australia setup on the world series and is now set to bring his pace and power to Rio 2016.
4. Osea Kolinisau (Fiji)
The selfless Fiji skipper may seem like a quiet fellow off the pitch but once he crosses the white line his ferocious work ethic and amazing tackling stats make him one of the world’s best.
5. Virimi Vakatawa (France)
Having become a star on the Sevens circuit, Virimi Vakatawa was parachuted in by new French coach Guy Noves in an attempt to re-install some va va voom in French rugby during the Six Nations. Now the exciting winger turns his attention Olympics…
6. Collins Injera (Kenya)
A sevens legend who is the record try-scorer on the World Rugby Sevens Series circuit with 235 and one of Kenya’s most recognised sports stars.
Away from the sport, he works full-time for a PR company in Nairobi but his focus in Rio will be on trying to steer his team’s way through a pool featuring New Zealand, Great Britain and Japan.
7. Sonny Bill Williams (New Zealand)
Humble and immensely talented, Sonny Bill Williams has played at the top level of Rugby Union and League.
Now having changed his focus to Sevens, the enigmatic star has made it onto the New Zealand Olympic team. His experience and work ethic could play a major role in New Zealand’s quest for Gold.
8. Cecil Afrika (South Africa)
With over 1,000 points scored for the South Africa Sevens team, Cecil Afrika is one of the most experienced Sevens players on the planet.
While there’s more tries in Sevens than in XVs, the boot of the Flyhalf is still very important for keeping your scoreboard ticking. It may well be the boot of Cecil Afrika that makes the difference in this tournament.
9. Matias Tudela (Spain)
10. Carlin Isles (USA)
One of the best known names in Sevens, Carlin Isles has become famous for his incredible speed in the Sevens scene.
The USA are technically the reigning champions of rugby at the Olympics, having won when XVs was still included in the sporting event. Isles will play a crucial role when the USA Sevens team take to the field to defend that title.