Monday, February 16, 2015

Olympic Games: NACRA Qualifying Announced

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The governing regional body of rugby in North America and the Caribbean (NACRA) has revealed the qualifying process for both men's and women's teams from throughout the region for the 2016 Olympic Games. In addition to the automatic spots up for grabs based on performances in the ongoing Sevens World Series there are places for regional qualifiers with the U.S. state of North Carolina set to host the NACRA qualifiers in June. Both Canada and the USA share the common goal of reaching the Olympics are competing for medals in both the men's and women's divisions. But with rugby having expanded significantly in recent years there are to be many others competing to qualify from NACRA.   

The Triangle Sports Commission is to serve as the host of the 2015 NACRA Rugby Sevens tournament on June 13-14 of this year. Taking place at the 10,000 capacity WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina the competition will act as the regional qualifying tournament for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil's second largest city, Rio de Janeiro.

The initial round of qualification for the Olympic Games is already well under way in both the men's and women's sections. The ongoing Sevens World Series competitions are being used to determine the top four qualifiers with Brazil, as the host nation, set to join them as automatic qualifiers. 

Countries involved in the Sevens World Series that are unable to qualify directly will participate in regional qualifiers with NACRA members set to compete in North Carolina in June. The winning sides in both the men's and women's competitions in North Carolina will qualify for the Olympic Games. 

The participants in the NACRA qualifying competition remain unclear at this point in time. NACRA has fifteen regional members and four affiliates. Canada and the USA are the most well established with both having decorated histories on the global stage. Other World Rugby members and associates are the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Guyana, Jamaica, Mexico, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Granadines and Trinidad & Tobago.

In addition NACRA has Curacao and Turks and Caicos Islands as members. Neither, however, is affiliated with World Rugby. The four NACRA affiliate unions are the Caribbean nations of the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Martinique and St. Kitts and Nevis.

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