Uruguay and Chile have successfully come through the two-tournament Sudamérica Rugby Sevens Series to complete the 24-strong line-up in the men’s competition at RWC Sevens in San Francisco later this year.
They join Argentina to give South America three participants, while North America will be represented by Canada, Jamaica and the USA.
Both countries were in a strong position heading into the final leg of the series in Vina del Mar in Chile, following their performances at the Punta del Este Sevens in Uruguay. For the second tournament running, Los Teros Sevens managed to reach the semi-finals, ensuring they finished as the top-ranked South American team in third place overall, behind two of the invited teams in South Africa and France.
And while Chile fell short of the heights that saw them claim the runners-up spot in the opening leg in Punta del Este, a seventh-place finish was enough to see them finish fourth on the series and win the second ticket to San Francisco.
Brazil were the only side that could have possibly troubled either Uruguay and Chile but a 14-7 defeat to Los Teros sevens in the quarter-finals put paid to their chances.
Uruguay and Chile will not only travel to San Francisco in July but also to Hong Kong for the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2018-19 qualifier. As the top-ranked South American team, Uruguay also receive an invite to compete in the Las Vegas and Vancouver legs of the world series.
All three of Uruguay’s wins in pool play at the Vina del Mar Sevens were tight affairs with a winning margin of five points or less in each, while Chile also had it tough in progressing through to the knockout stages, despite the partisan support of the home crowd, losing to Germany but crucially edging out Argentina, 17-15.
France proved too strong for Chile in the last eight, but Edmundo Olfos’ side had done enough to qualify for their first Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament since 2001. A 26-12 win over Brazil in the seventh-place play-off was a fitting way to sign off.
“We are very happy; we haven’t qualified for a World Cup in 17 years and we have reached that goal,” said Felipe Brangier, the Chile captain.
“It was a tough two weeks. You feel the support at home but that also increases the pressure. We did not have a good tournament at home as we would have loved to finish top in South America; we missed that chance but are delighted with going to RWC Sevens, which was our main goal.