Information from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia—a reliable source for your research. Click to cite:
The IRB Sevens World Series, known officially as the HSBC Sevens World Series since the 2010-11 season through sponsorship from banking group HSBC,1 is an annual series of international rugby sevens tournaments run by the International Rugby Board featuring national sevens teams. The series, organised for the first time in the 1999-2000 season, was formed to develop an elite-level competition series between rugby nations and develop the sevens game into a viable commercial product for the IRB.
Teams compete for the Sevens World Series title by accumulating points based on their finishing position in each tournament. New Zealand had originally dominated the Series, winning each of the first six titles from 1999-2000 to 2004-05, but since then, Fiji, South Africa and Samoa have each won titles.
As of the current 2012–13 season, the season's circuit consists of nine tournaments in eight countries, and visits five of the six populated continents. Australia, the United Arab Emirates, South Africa, New Zealand, the United States, Hong Kong, Japan, Scotland and England each host one event. Argentina was originally planned to begin hosting a tenth event in the 2012–13 season, but that tournament's launch will now be delayed until 2013–14.
One of the World Series tournaments may be folded into the quadrennial Rugby World Cup Sevens, depending on the venue and scheduling of the tournaments. For example, the 2005 Hong Kong Sevens was folded into the 2005 Rugby World Cup Sevens because the two tournaments were scheduled to be held in the same place at the same time. However, no IRB Sevens World Series events have been folded into the Rugby World Cup Sevens since 2005. The 2013 Sevens World Cup, likely to be that event's final edition, will be held more than a month after the end of the 2012–13 World Series.
||This section is empty. You can help by adding to it. (February 2013)
The venues for the IRB Sevens World Series have evolved since the Series' beginning in 1999-2000, but the current format of the tournament emerged in the 2006-07 season, with the same 8 venues hosting every year since then, with the addition of Japan in 2011-12 and Argentina in 2013-14. As of the 2012–13 series, the World Series tour consists of nine legs. The 2011–12 season marked the return of Japan, a former tour stop, to the circuit.2
The IRB announced on 26 June 2012 that the series would return to Argentina, which had last been part of the circuit in 2002.3 However, on 16 August, the Argentine Rugby Union announced that it would delay the launch of its event until the 2013–14 series, citing demands associated with the 2012 entry of the country's 15-a-side team into The Rugby Championship.4
- The Australia 7s was previously held in Adelaide in April until 2011.5
- The South Africa 7s was first held in 1999 in Stellenbosch. It then moved to Durban for the next two editions, and then to George in 2002, where it remained for nine years. The 2011 edition was the first in Port Elizabeth.6
- The USA 7s made its debut in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson, California. It then moved to San Diego in 2007, and to its current Las Vegas location in 2010.
- The Scotland 7s was previously held in Edinburgh at Murrayfield Stadium until 2012, but relocated in part due to trouble filling the 67,000 seat stadium.7
- The Argentina 7s will be held in Estadio Ciudad de La Plata, beginning in 2013-14.
- Recent previous hosts (and their most recent year hosting) include: Paris (2005–06) and Singapore (2005-06).
According to the IRB, the tour received 1147 hours of air time in 2005–06; 530 of which was live, and was broadcast to 136 countries.8 By 2008–09, the hours of air time had increased to over 3,300, with 35 broadcasters airing the series in 139 countries and 15 languages.9 Broadcast time saw further increases for 2009–10, with 3,561 hours of air time (1,143 hours live) carried by 34 broadcasters in 141 countries and 16 languages.10 In 2010–11, 3,657 hours of coverage were aired (1,161.5 hours live), with the same number of broadcasters as the previous season but six new countries added. For that season, Sevens World Series programming was available in 332 million homes worldwide, with a potential audience of 760 million.11
In October 2010, the International Rugby Board announced that they had concluded a 5-year deal with HSBC which granted them status as the first ever title sponsor of the IRB Sevens World Series. Through the accord, HSBC acquired title naming rights to all tournaments in the IRB Series, beginning with the Dubai Sevens on 3 December 2010.1 HSBC has since opted to sub-license the naming rights to individual tournaments, while retaining its name sponsorship of the overall series.
The all-time table of the IRB Sevens World Series shows the accumulated results of every team that has ever participated in the IRB Sevens World Series. The equity issues to include cases of partial participation in the various stages, even in these cases participation is considered total.
Updated to the end of the 2013 Series
Sevens is a stripped-down version of rugby union from Scotland with seven players each side on a normal-sized field. Games are much shorter, lasting only seven or ten minutes each half, and tend to be very fast-paced, open, affairs. The game is quicker and higher-scoring than 15-a-side rugby and the rules are far simpler, which explains part of its appeal. It also gives players the space for superb feats of individual skill. New Zealand has been by far the dominant force in the IRB World Sevens Series, winning eleven out of the 14 seasons. However, in recent years, several other teams have successfully challenged New Zealand's dominance. Fiji, long a power in sevens, were winners in 2005-06; South Africa won in 2008–09; and Samoa claimed the 2009–10 crown. Other strong contenders in recent years have included England, Australia, and Argentina, all of whom have won an event within the last two seasons.13 Many minor rugby nations have become competitive as well. Seven of the current 15 "core teams" that participate in all series events represent nations that are not within the traditional top tier of the 15-man game—Samoa, Fiji, Canada, Kenya, Portugal, Spain, and the USA.
Sevens is traditionally played in a two-day tournament format, with the Hong Kong Sevens (an anomaly as a three-day event) being the most famous. Prior to each season, a group of "core teams" is announced, based on performances in recent seasons. Through the 2011–12 series, the number of core teams was 12.14 The ranks of core teams were expanded to 15 for 2012–13,15 with the three extra teams determined by a 12-team qualifying tournament held as part of the 2012 Hong Kong Sevens.16 Each core team has a guaranteed place in all of that season's events. The 2012–13 core teams are:
Prior to the 2012 qualifying tournament, the most recent addition to the roster of core teams was the USA, which replaced its neighbor Canada for 2008–09.17
The increase in the number of core teams did not directly lead to an increase in the size of the existing tournaments. However, two of the events were expanded because they became part of the IRB's new promotion and relegation system for core teams.
The 2012–13 series is the first to feature a formal promotion/relegation process. The top 12 core teams in the season table after the next-to-last round of the series in Glasgow will retain their status for the following season. The remaining three core teams will be determined in a two-stage qualifying process:18
- The first stage will be a World Series Pre-Qualifier held as part of the Hong Kong Sevens. Two qualifiers from each of the IRB's six regions will compete. The 12 teams will be drawn into three pools, with the top two teams from each pool, plus the top two runners-up, advancing to a quarterfinal round. The winners of the four quarterfinal matches will advance to the final qualifying stage.
- The final stage, the World Series Core Team Qualifier, will be held as part of the London Sevens. The pre-qualifiers will be joined by the winner of the HSBC Asian Sevens Series, plus the bottom three core teams following the Scotland Sevens. The qualifier will be conducted with a pool stage followed by knockout play, with the two finalists and the winner of the third-place match becoming core teams for the following season.
Currently, in a normal event, 16 teams are entered. The Hong Kong Sevens had 24 teams through the 2011–12 series, but will expand to 28 teams in 2012–13; the 15 core teams and the winner of the HSBC Asian Sevens Series will compete for series points, while the remaining 12 teams will be those in the World Series Pre-Qualifier.18 Starting in 2012–13, the season-ending London Sevens will expand to 20 teams, with 12 competing for series points and eight involved in the Core Team Qualifier.18 The IRB operates satellite tournaments in each continent alongside the Sevens World Series which serve as qualifiers for Series events,17 and from 2012–13 also determine the entrants in the World Series Pre-Qualifier.18
In each tournament, the teams are divided into pools of four teams, who play a round-robin within the pool. Points are awarded in each pool on a different schedule from most rugby tournaments—3 for a win, 2 for a draw, 1 for a loss, 0 for a no-show. In case teams are tied after pool play, the tiebreakers are:19
- Head-to-head result between the tied teams.
- Difference in points scored and allowed during pool play.
- Difference in tries scored and allowed during pool play.
- Points scored during pool play.
- Coin toss.
As of the 2009–10 series, four trophies are awarded in each tournament. In descending order of prestige, they are the Cup, whose winner is the overall tournament champion, Plate, Bowl and Shield. In Hong Kong, the Shield was awarded for the first time in 2010.20 Each trophy is awarded at the end of a knockout tournament.
In a normal event, the top two teams in each pool advance to the Cup competition. The four quarterfinal losers drop into the bracket for the Plate. The Bowl is contested by the third and fourth-place finishers in each pool, while the Shield is contested by the losing quarterfinalists of the Bowl.
Originally, the six pool winners of the Hong Kong Sevens, plus the two highest-finishing second-place teams, advanced to the Cup. In 2010 and 2011, a different system was used:21
- The losing quarterfinalists in the Cup competition contested the Plate competition.
- The four remaining second-place teams and the four best third-place teams, which contested the Plate in previous years, competed for the Bowl.
- The remaining eight teams in the competition, which contested the Bowl in previous years, competed for the Shield.
In the transitional year of 2012, the Hong Kong Sevens was split into two separate competitions. The 12 core teams competed for the Cup, Plate and Bowl under a format similar to that of a regular event. The 12 invited teams all competed for the Shield, with the top three sides in that competition also earning core status for 2012–13. From 2013 on, the four trophies in Hong Kong will be contested under the same format used in regular 16-team tournaments. Only the 15 core teams, plus the winner of the HSBC Asian Sevens Series, now compete in the main draw of that event.
A third-place match is now conducted between the losing Cup semifinalists in all tournaments; this was introduced for the 2011–12 series.22
Players in bold are active as of May 1st, 2013
The season championship is determined by points earned in each tournament. The IRB introduced a new scoring system for the 2011–12 series, in which all teams participating in a tournament are guaranteed points. Initially, the IRB announced the new points schedule only for the standard 16-team events; the allocations for the Hong Kong Sevens were announced later.22
Starting with the 2012–13 series, all events except the London Sevens will have 16 teams competing for series points. In London, only 12 teams will compete for series points.
- Cup winner (1st place): 22 points
- Cup runner-up (2nd place): 19 points
- Cup third-place play-off winner (3rd place): 17 points
- Cup third-place play-off loser (4th place): 15 points
- Plate winner (5th place): 13 points
- Plate runner-up (6th place): 12 points
- Losing Plate semi-finalists (joint 7th place): 10 points
- Bowl winner (9th place): 8 points
- Bowl runner-up (10th place): 7 points
- Losing Bowl semi-finalists (joint 11th place): 5 points
- Shield winner (13th place): 3 points
- Shield runner-up (14th place): 2 points
- Losing Shield semi-finalists (joint 15th place): 1 point
If two or more teams are level on series points at the end of the season, the following tiebreakers are used to determine placement:19
- Overall difference in points scored and allowed during the season.
- Total try count during the season.
- If neither of the above produces a winner, the teams are considered tied.
Notes and references