Brazil’s rugby teams have high hopes for sport’s re-debut in 2016 Olympics

World Today

After a 92-year absence, rugby, will make an Olympic comeback in 2016. As the host nation, Brazil’s men and women’s teams are guaranteed to qualify. CCTV America’s Lucrecia Franco reported this story from Rio de Janeiro.

Brazil's rugby teams have high hopes for sport's re-debut in 2016 Olympics

Brazil's rugby teams have high hopes for sport's re-debut in 2016 Olympics

After a 92-year absence, rugby, will make an Olympic comeback in 2016. As the host nation, Brazil's men and women's teams are guaranteed to qualify. CCTV America's Lucrecia Franco reported this story from Rio de Janeiro.

Rio Rugby was founded in the 1940s by English dock workers. Today it is an all-Brazilian rugby union, with one notable exception: It’s Zimbabwean president and coach.

President Justin Thornycroft has been promoting the sport since he moved to Rio 10 years ago.

Thornycroft is excited about rugby’s comeback to the Olympics and said the sport has its own place in Brazil, alongside ever-popular football.

“We are not trying to compete with traditional football. Everybody still loves playing football, but obviously not everybody can be Neymar or Pele. So there is a lot of competition for the kids to get up the ranks in football and make a living out of the sport, whereas in rugby it is a much shorter route up to the top,” Thornycroft said.

According to Brazil’s Rugby confederation, more than 10,000 boys and girls are playing rugby in more than 200 clubs and universities across the country.

The sport has also become more popular as the host nation automatically qualifies for the 2016 summer Olympics. The players are now training hard to represent their country.

Some players said they were certain they will do well in the olympics, although winning a medal might pose a tougher challenge.