South Africa women's sevens denied 2016 Rio Olympics berth

South Africa women's sevens team
South Africa women's sevens have been denied the chance to compete in Rio by the country's Olympic committee

South Africa will not field a women's sevens team at the 2016 Rio Olympics despite qualifying for the tournament by winning the African title.

Under South African Olympic Committee (SASCOC) rules, teams are not able to qualify by winning continental titles.

Their women's sevens team will therefore not be in Rio, with African runners-up Kenya competing instead.

"We are extremely disappointed for our Springbok women," said South African rugby chief Oregan Hoskins.

"We placed our top players on a full-time programme two years ago and they are trailblazers for professional women's sport and rugby in South Africa.

"Their appearance at such a showcase sporting occasion would have been inspirational for many young female athletes, but it was not to be."

World Rugby chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "It is with great excitement that we welcome Kenya to the global line-up of women's teams for the rugby sevens competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games."

It is reported that SASCOC does not believe Pan-African qualifying tournaments represent a high enough standard for teams to qualify from.

That effectively means the Springbok women's sevens team would need to have finished in the top four of the Women's World Sevens Series to qualify, but they came 12th out of the 13 teams.

The men's team made it to Rio as one of the four automatic qualifiers.

Last month SASCOC blocked their men's and women's hockey teams from competing in Rio for the same reasons.