Rugby World Cup Sevens

The Rugby World Cup Sevens is the premier stand-alone international rugby sevens competition outside the Olympic Games. The event is contested every four years, with tournaments for men's and women's national teams co-hosted at the same venues. It is organised by World Rugby, the sport's governing body.

Rugby World Cup Sevens
SportRugby union sevens
Instituted1993 (men), 2009 (women)
Number of teams24 (men), 16 (women)
Holders New Zealand (men)
 New Zealand (women) (2018)

The first tournament was held in 1993 in Scotland, the birthplace of rugby sevens. The winners of the men's tournament are awarded the Melrose Cup, named after the Scottish town of Melrose where the first rugby sevens game was played.[1] The women's tournament was inaugurated at the 2009 Rugby World Cup Sevens held in Dubai.

In men's Rugby World Cup Sevens, the New Zealand have won the tournament three times, Fiji have won it twice, and England and Wales have won a single tournament each, while Argentina, Australia and South Africa have reached tournament finals but not secured a title.

For women's Rugby World Cup Sevens, Australia won the first tournament in 2009 and New Zealand won the second and third tournaments in 2013 and 2018. New Zealand are the current men's and women's world champions having won both tournaments in 2018.

In May 2009, the International Rugby Board (now World Rugby) stated that if Olympic rugby sevens were added to the Rio de Janeiro games, their intention was to end the World Cup Sevens.[2] In 2013, following two weeks of consultation, the board announced that the competition would be retained and integrated into the Olympic calendar, meaning that a meaningful elite level competition would take place every two years from 2016. In common with other Olympic team sports, the World Cup hosts a larger number of teams than the Olympic tournament.[3] The first competition after Olympic integration took place in 2018, which entailed a one-off five-year gap from the 2013 competition.

The 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament for both men and women's teams was held from Friday 20 July 2018 to Sunday 22 July 2018 in AT&T Park, San Francisco in the United States. Unlike previous Rugby World Cup Sevens tournaments and the annual World Rugby Sevens Series events, in each of the genders, both competitions were played in knock-out only formats.

The 2022 Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament for both men and women's teams will be held at the Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town in South Africa.

History

The Rugby World Cup Sevens originated with a proposal by the Scottish Rugby Union to the International Rugby Board. The inaugural tournament was held at Murrayfield in Edinburgh in 1993, and has been held every four years since. England won the inaugural tournament, defeating Australia 21–17 in the final.

Hong Kong, which had played a major role in the international development of the Sevens game, hosted the 1997 event. The final was won by Fiji over South Africa. The 2001 tournament was held in Mar del Plata, Argentina. The 2005 event returned to Hong Kong.

At the 2009 tournament, Wales, Samoa, Argentina and Kenya combined to stun the rugby world by defeating the traditional powerhouses of New Zealand, England, South Africa and Fiji in the quarter-finals, guaranteeing a new Melrose Cup winner. Wales and Argentina met in the final, with Wales triumphing 19–12.

The IRB made a submission to the International Olympic Committee in 2005 for rugby sevens to become an Olympic sport. However, the submission failed because committee members felt IRB needed to improve promotion of the women's game. To that end, the IRB implemented the first women's Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in 2009.[4] The 2009 Rugby World Cup Sevens was held in Dubai during the first weekend of March 2009 and included a separate women's tournament. Cumulative attendance was 78,000.[4]

Prior to the inclusion of rugby sevens into the Olympic Games, the IRB stated that their intention would be to end the World Cup Sevens so that the Olympic Games would be the one pinnacle in a four-year cycle for Rugby Sevens.[2] The adoption of rugby sevens and golf was recommended to the full International Olympic Committee council by its executive board in August 2009.[5] The International Olympic Committee voted in 2009 for rugby sevens to become a medal sport at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.[6]

The IRB Council in 2010 awarded the hosting of the 2013 tournament to Moscow, Russia from a field of eight nations that had expressed formal interest in hosting.[7] The IRB intended that the exposure to rugby from hosting the World Cup Sevens would accelerate the growth of rugby in Russia.[7]

The IRB had said the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens – featuring 24 men's teams and 16 women's teams – would be the last one. However, following feedback from its member unions, the IRB's general assembly voted for the tournament to continue. The principal concern is that Sevens at the Olympics would accommodate only 12 teams.[8]

The IRB announced on June 12, 2013 that the Rugby World Cup Sevens would continue after 2013, with the next tournament set for 2018, and for every four years after that.[9] Following the IRB's announcement, several nations officially announced their intention to bid to host the 2018 tournament – including the United States[10] and Wales.[11] On May 13, 2015 it was decided that the United States would host the 2018 edition of the tournament with the two venues being announced when they won the bid.[12]

Men's tournament

Year Host Final Semi-finalists
Winner Score Runner-up
1993
Edinburgh, Scotland

England
21–17
Australia

Fiji

Ireland
1997
Hong Kong

Fiji
24–21
South Africa

New Zealand

Samoa
2001
Mar del Plata, Argentina

New Zealand
31–12
Australia

Argentina

Fiji
2005
Hong Kong

Fiji
29–19
New Zealand

Australia

England
2009
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Wales
19–12
Argentina

Kenya

Samoa
2013
Moscow, Russia

New Zealand
33–0
England

Fiji

Kenya
2018
San Francisco, United States

New Zealand
33–12
England

Fiji

South Africa
2022
Cape Town, South Africa

Notable players

Player of the Tournament
Year Champion Player
1993  England Lawrence Dallaglio
1997  Fiji Waisale Serevi[13]
2001  New Zealand Jonah Lomu
2005  Fiji Waisale Serevi[13]
2009  Wales Tal Selley[14]
2013  New Zealand Tim Mikkelson[15]
2018  New Zealand Scott Curry
2022

The 2001 tournament added another chapter to the legend of New Zealand's Jonah Lomu. Lomu, used sparingly in pool play, received his opportunity when New Zealand captain Eric Rush broke his leg in the last pool match. Lomu went on to score three tries in the final.

In 2005, Waisale Serevi came out of international retirement to captain and lead Fiji to their second Melrose Cup. At the 2009 tournament, Wales defeated Argentina 19–12 in the final, and Wales' Taliesin Selley was named player of the tournament.

Most career tries
RankPlayerTries
1 Marika Vunibaka23
2 Waisale Serevi19
3 Brian Lima17
4 Andrew Turnbull16
5 Roger Randle14

The top all-time try-scorer for the Rugby World Cup Sevens is Fijian winger Marika Vunibaka, who scored 23 tries in three of the Sevens World Cups he played in from 1997 to 2005. Serevi ranks second with 19 career World Cup Sevens tries, over four tournaments from 1993 to 2005.[16] Brian Lima ranks third with 17 tries. The top points scorers are Serevi with 297 points, Vunibaka with 115 points, and Lima with 101 points.[17]

Results by nation

Team 1993 1997 2001 2005 2009 2013 2018 2022Years
Arabian Gulf21st1
 Argentina9th13th3rd5th2nd11th5th7
 Australia2nd5th2nd3rd10th5th10th7
 Canada15th21st5th18th13th9th12th7
 Chile17th17th2
 Cook Islands11th13th2
 Chinese Taipei21st21st21st3
 England1st5th5th3rd5th2nd2nd7
 Fiji3rd1st3rd1st5th3rd4th7
 France15th5th21st5th13th5th8th7
 Georgia10th11th21st19th4
 Ireland3rd19th19th13th18th9th6
 Italy17th17th21st3
 Hong Kong17th10th21st21st19th21st18th7
 Jamaica24th1
 Japan13th17th13th13th21st18th15th7
 Kenya19th19th3rd4th16th5
 South Korea11th5th13th21st4
 Latvia21st1
 Morocco19th1
 Namibia21st21st2
 Netherlands21st1
 New Zealand7th3rd1st2nd5th1st1st7
 Papua New Guinea21st1
 Philippines21st1
 Portugal21st18th10th11th13th5
 Romania17th13th2
 Russia9th11th17th14th4
 South Africa5th2nd5th5th5th5th3rdQ8
 Samoa5th3rd5th9th3rd10th13th7
 Scotland14th11th5th9th11th7th6
 Spain10th13th11th21st4
 Tonga7th9th19th11th13th22nd6
 Tunisia13th13th21st3
 Uganda19th1
 Uruguay21st19th19th20th4
 United States17th18th13th13th13th13th6th7
 Wales11th13th11th1st5th11th6
 Zimbabwe21st21st17th13th23rd5

Women's tournament

Year Host Final Semi-finalists
Winner Score Runner-up
2009
United Arab Emirates

Australia
15–10
New Zealand

United States

South Africa
2013
Moscow, Russia

New Zealand
29–12
Canada

United States

Spain
2018
San Francisco, United States

New Zealand
29–0
France

Australia

United States
2022
Cape Town, South Africa

Results by nation

Team
2009

2013

2018

2022
Years
 Australia1st5th3rd3
 Brazil10th13th13th3
 Canada6th2nd7th3
 China9th11th12th3
 England5th6th9th3
 Fiji9th11th2
 France7th11th2nd3
 Ireland7th6th2
 Italy11th1
 Japan13th13th10th3
 Mexico16th1
 Netherlands13th10th2
 New Zealand2nd1st1st3
 Papua New Guinea15th1
 Russia11th7th8th3
 South Africa4th13th14thQ4
 Spain7th4th5th 3
 Thailand13th1
 Tunisia13th1
 United States3rd3rd4th3
 Uganda13th1

See also

References

  1. "Scotland 7s players Melrose bound - Scottish Rugby Union". Scottishrugby.org.
  2. RWC Sevens to be scrapped for Olympics, ESPN, 27 May 2009 Retrieved 24 February 2011
  3. "Future of Rugby World Cup Sevens confirmed". RWC Sevens. 12 June 2013. Archived from the original on 14 August 2013.
  4. "Tietjens backs sevens Olympic bid", ESPN, (13 August 2009), Retrieved 29 March 2011
  5. Lowe, Alex (7 October 2009). "Lomu lends his weight to rugby sevens Olympic bid", The Scotsman. Retrieved 29 March 2011
  6. John Duce, (27 Mar 2011). "New Zealand Beat England 29–17 to Win Hong Kong Rugby Sevens", Bloomberg, Retrieved 29 March 2011
  7. IRB.com, Russia to host Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013, May 12, 2010, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 October 2014. Retrieved 17 June 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. Sallay, Alvin (29 Mar 2011). "IRB under pressure to save World Cup Sevens", South China Morning Post
  9. IRB.com. Future of Rugby World Cup Sevens confirmed, June 12, 2013, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 August 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. "USA Rugby to bid for 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens". Usarugby.org. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  11. "WRU bid to host 2018 Sevens World Cup". Wru.co.uk.
  12. "USA to host Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018". Worldrugby.org.
  13. "Hong Kong Sevens - Fiji's Waisale Serevi Is Sixth Member of 'The Hong Kong Magnificent Seven'". hksevens.com.
  14. Clutton, Graham (18 March 2009). "Wales Sevens coach Paul John rings changes ahead of World Series in Hong Kong" via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  15. "Mooloos set to lose Tim Mikkelson to sevens". Stuff.
  16. "Sevens heaven - The best in the business".
  17. "Serevi, Vunibaka still stand tall". Fijisun.com.fj. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
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