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The IRB Sevens World Series, known officially as the IRB Sevens before the 2006-07 season and also sometimes called the World Sevens Series, is a series of international rugby union sevens tournaments organised for the first time in the 1999-2000 season. The tournaments, run by the International Rugby Board, feature national sevens teams. The series was first formed to develop an elite-level competition series between rugby nations and develop the Sevens game into a viable commercial product for the IRB. In 2005–06, the tour received 1147 hours of air time, 530 of which was live, and was broadcast to 136 countries.[27568] By 2008–09, the hours of air time had exploded to over 3300, with 35 broadcasters airing the series in 139 countries and 15 languages.

Teams compete for the Sevens World Series title by accumulating points based on their finishing position in each tournament. Each season's circuit currently consists of eight tournaments in seven countries, and visits five of the six populated continents. The United Arab Emiratesmarker, South Africa, New Zealandmarker, United Statesmarker, Hong Kongmarker, Australia, Englandmarker and Scotlandmarker each host one event. Depending on the venue and scheduling of the quadrennial Rugby World Cup Sevens, one of the tournaments may be folded into the World Cup. For example, because the 2005 World Cup was held in Hong Kong and scheduled for roughly the same time as the annual Hong Kong Sevens, the Hong Kong Sevens was folded into the World Cup. However, none of the 2008–09 events were folded into the 2009 World Cup, as that year's World Cup fell three weeks after the USA Sevens and three weeks before the Hong Kong Sevens.

Sevens is a stripped-down version of rugby union with seven players each side on a normal-sized field, rather than the normal fifteen. Games are much shorter, lasting only seven or ten minutes each half, and tend to be very fast-paced, open, affairs. 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. 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 and Fiji are traditionally the strongest teams, although South Africa are the reigning season champions; Samoa ran the two favourites very close for the World Series title in the 2006-07 season; England has been a strong contender in recent years; and Argentina, Australia and France have also won tournaments in recent years.


The IRB announced the 2009–10 events on July 8, 2009. While the stops on the circuit remain unchanged from recent years, two minor changes were made to the schedule. The USA event moves from San Diegomarker, its home from 2007 to 2009, to Las Vegas. The Adelaide event will move from its previous slot of one week after Hong Kong to one week before.


Season Rounds Champion Top Scorer Most tries Player of the Year
1999-00 10 (186 points)
2000-01 9 (162 points)
2001-02 11 (198 points)
2002-03 7 (112 points)
2003-04 8 (128 points) Simon Amor
2004-05 7 (116 points) Orene Ai'i
2005-06 8 (144 points) Ben Gollings (343) Timoteo Iosua (40) Uale Mai
2006-07 8 (130 points) William Ryder (416) Mikaele Pesamino (43) Afeleke Pelenise
2007-08 8 (154 points) Tomasi Cama Jr. (319) Fabian Juries (41) DJ Forbes
2008-09 8 (132 points) Ben Gollings (260) Collins Injera (42) Ollie Phillips

2008-09 IRB Sevens World Series

Points Team

Past tables

2007/08]] table
Points Team

2006/07]] table
Points Team

2005/06]] table
Points Team

2004/05]] table
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2003/04]] table
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Season format

Before each season, 12 "core teams" are announced, based on their performances in recent seasons. Each team has a guaranteed place in all of that season's events. The 2009–10 core teams are:

The most recent addition to the roster of core teams was the USA, which replaced its neighbor Canada for 2008–09.

In a normal event, 16 teams are entered; in Hong Kong, 24 teams enter. The participants are the 12 core teams, plus sufficient invitees to fill out the field. The IRB operates satellite tournaments in each continent alongside the Sevens World Series which serve as qualifiers for Series events.

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:

  1. Head-to-head result between the tied teams.
  2. Difference in points scored and allowed during pool play.
  3. Difference in tries scored and allowed during pool play.
  4. Points scored during pool play.
  5. 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 will be awarded for the first time in 2010. 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 quarter-finalists of the bowl.

Prior to 2010, the Hong Kong Sevens saw the six pool winners, plus the two highest-finishing second-place teams, advance to the Cup. The Plate participants were the eight highest-ranked teams remaining, while the lowest eight dropped to the Bowl. The new format for Hong Kong has not yet been announced.

Points schedule

The season championship is determined by points earned in each tournament. The IRB changed the points allocations for all events effective with the 2009–10 competition. In making these changes, it cited two goals:

  • to provide a better balance between the points on offer for the standard 16-team tournament as opposed to those of the only 24-team event, the Hong Kong Sevens
  • at Hong Kong, to provide more rewards for teams outside the top-level Cup competition.

The current points allocations for all events are listed below, with allocations prior to 2009–10 in parentheses.

16-team events (all except for Hong Kong)
  • Cup winner (1st place): 24 points (20)
  • Cup runner-up: 20 points (16)
  • Losing Cup semifinalists: 16 points (12)
  • Plate winner (5th place): 12 points (8)
  • Plate runner-up: 8 points (6)
  • Losing Plate semifinalists: 6 points (4)
  • Bowl winner (9th place): 4 points (2)

24-team event (Hong Kong)
  • Cup winner: 30 points (30)
  • Cup runner-up: 25 points (24)
  • Losing Cup semifinalists: 20 points (18)
  • Losing Cup quarterfinalists: No direct points, but will enter the Plate competition (previously 8 points)
  • Plate winner: 16 points (4)
  • Plate runner-up: 10 points (3)
  • Losing Plate semifinalists: 8 points (2)
  • Bowl winner: 5 points (1)
    • Because of the restructuring of the Hong Kong event to add a Shield competition, the structure of the knockout brackets has not yet been announced.

If two or more teams are level on series points at the end of the season, the following tiebreakers are used to determine placement:
  1. Overall difference in points scored and allowed during the season.
  2. Total try count during the season.
  3. If neither of the above produces a winner, the teams are considered tied.

See also

Notes and references

External links

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