Cape Town Sevens Series. World Rugby

A packed Cape Town Stadium for the Sevens Series in the city. Image: Gallo Images.

World Rugby to revamp Sevens Series

World Rugby confirms Sevens Series will be remodelled to include seven rounds, in seven destinations and a reduced number of men’s teams.

Cape Town Sevens Series. World Rugby

A packed Cape Town Stadium for the Sevens Series in the city. Image: Gallo Images.

World Rugby has confirmed the framework for the Sevens Series will be remodelled in 2023 to include seven rounds, in seven destinations and a reduced number of men’s teams.

The remodelled Series will include seven festival style events, in seven iconic global destinations, across seven months, featuring the best 12 men’s and 12 women’s teams and is set to kick off in December 2023 until June 2024.

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Following consultation with the participating nations, the men’s Series will reduce from 16 to 12 teams, aligning with the Olympic competition model and bringing the number of men’s and women’s teams even, while allowing for more optimal match scheduling opportunities.

An annual ‘Grand Finale’ event will take place in the seventh round, which will see the top eight ranked teams after six rounds compete to be crowned Series champions, while the teams ranked ninth to 12th will join the top four ranked teams from the Challenger Series in a high stakes relegation play-off competition which will see four teams secure their places in the next edition of the Series.

The four unsuccessful teams will go into regional competitions to qualify for the next Challenger Series, which comprises of 12 men’s and 12 women’s teams competing in the second level of international rugby sevens.

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In another ground-breaking development, men’s and women’s teams will receive equal participation fees, with a 70 per cent uplift in World Rugby’s investment in participation fees in the new model.

Discussions are ongoing with potential host destinations, following unprecedented hosting interest. Confirmed hosts, competition dates and a new brand identity will be announced in the coming months.

What World Rugby CEO Alan Gilpin about the Sevens Series makeover:

“The reimagined Sevens World Series will be a game-changer for the global growth of the game. Research insights have demonstrated that sevens plays a vital role in reaching and engaging new rugby fans, particularly in emerging rugby nations and with younger audiences. World Rugby is fully committed to the sustainable growth, innovation and success of rugby sevens as a highly impactful and successful Olympic sport with a bright future.

“We have consulted widely with a multitude of stakeholders to achieve our shared aim of making rugby more relevant and accessible to more young people, more of the time, and in doing so growing the reach of rugby while ensuring player welfare is sacrosanct and further cementing the successful positioning of rugby sevens on the Olympic sport programme.

“Moving to full gender parity between the men’s and women’s Series reflects not just our commitment to accelerating the women’s game, but also recognition of the powerful personalities who are inspiring a new generation of fans across the globe.

“The increased promotion pathway opportunity for Challenger Series teams to reach the pinnacle Sevens World Series is also an important development, giving more teams the chance to attain a place at the top table of rugby sevens on an annual basis.”

Current edition of the World Rugby Sevens Series continues in Dubai on 2-3 December and Cape Town on 9-11 December.

World Rugby Sevens Series.jpg.
Fans inside a stadium at a World Rugby Sevens Series tournament. Image: World Rugby/Getty Images.