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|Sport||Rugby union sevens|
|Instituted||1993 (men), 2009 (women)|
|Number of teams||24 (men), 16 (women)|
|Holders|| New Zealand (men)|
New Zealand (women) (2018)
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.
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. 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. 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. 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 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. 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.
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. The adoption of rugby sevens and golf was recommended to the full International Olympic Committee council by its executive board in August 2009. The International Olympic Committee voted in 2009 for rugby sevens to become a medal sport at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.
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. The IRB intended that the exposure to rugby from hosting the World Cup Sevens would accelerate the growth of rugby in Russia.
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.
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. Following the IRB's announcement, several nations officially announced their intention to bid to host the 2018 tournament – including the United States and Wales. 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.
Mar del Plata, Argentina
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
San Francisco, United States
Cape Town, South Africa
|2001||New Zealand||Jonah Lomu|
|2013||New Zealand||Tim Mikkelson|
|2018||New Zealand||Scott Curry|
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.
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. 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.
Results by nation
|Papua New Guinea||21st||1|
United Arab Emirates
San Francisco, United States
Cape Town, South Africa
Results by nation
|Papua New Guinea||15th||1|
- World Rugby Sevens Series
- World Rugby Women's Sevens Series
- Rugby sevens at the Summer Olympics
- Hong Kong Sevens
- Rugby World Cup
- Women's Rugby World Cup
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- "Tietjens backs sevens Olympic bid", ESPN, (13 August 2009), Retrieved 29 March 2011
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- John Duce, (27 Mar 2011). "New Zealand Beat England 29–17 to Win Hong Kong Rugby Sevens", Bloomberg, Retrieved 29 March 2011
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- "USA Rugby to bid for 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens". Usarugby.org. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
- "WRU bid to host 2018 Sevens World Cup". Wru.co.uk.
- "USA to host Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018". Worldrugby.org.
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- Clutton, Graham (18 March 2009). "Wales Sevens coach Paul John rings changes ahead of World Series in Hong Kong" – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
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- "Sevens heaven - The best in the business".
- "Serevi, Vunibaka still stand tall". Fijisun.com.fj. Retrieved 10 August 2018.