Everything to Know About Rugby Sevens at the Tokyo Olympics
Not a lot knows this, but rugby is among the newly reintroduced sports in the Olympics since it left during 1924. Ever since its comeback last 2016 at Rio de Janeiro, rugby has seen a surge of popularity and support from all around the world.
During the last event from the men’s division, Fiji secured their first-ever Olympic medal as they competed against Great Britain. On the other hand, Australia’s women’s team triumphed over New Zealand. With these memorable wins, it was no surprise that the sport had attracted more audiences.
Indeed, the renewed interest in the games has left many waiting for this year’s Olympics in Tokyo. If you’re a fan or just plain interested in what’s going to happen at Tokyo 2020, you’ve come to the right place! Below, we’ve written down everything you have to know about this year’s Olympic rugby sevens games.
What is Rugby Sevens?
Rugby sevens is one of the three variations of rugby. Just as its name suggests, the game only has seven players, unlike the typical 15-player rugby union. The goal of the sport is for the team to obtain more scores than their opponent. Moreover, players can score through a conversion, try, penalty kick, and drop goal—the same way as a rugby union game.
Furthermore, because this type of rugby has fewer players, it is played at a much faster pace. In fact, the whole game lasts only a total of 14 minutes, a stark contrast to rugby union’s 80-minute match. Due to this, more games can be played in a day which makes it possible for a tournament to be finished in just one day.
The sport has a lot in common with rugby union, with some exceptions. For example, rugby sevens has no drawn matches. Instead, those matches that finish all-square get an extra 5-minute play until either team gets a try. In addition, players who get a yellow card are only suspended from the game for two minutes instead of ten.
When and Where Will It Be Held?
A lot of fans rejoiced when the Olympics finally announced the scheduled matches for this year’s rugby sevens games in Tokyo. The reigning men’s Olympic champions Fiji will open the event on July 26 as they compete against Japan. The whole rugby sevens matches are set to last for six days, which means that it ends on Saturday, July 31st.
Like many events, the game will be held at Tokyo Stadium, which boasts a 49,970 seating capacity. However, due to COVID safety protocols, organizers have announced that they will only allow a maximum of 10,000 spectators for every venue.
Moreover, since there are only a few days left until the rugby sevens event, several TV stations and streaming companies have announced that they will be covering the matches. So, if you are interested, you can watch the live stream online or through your television.
If you’re from Australia and you want to experience watching a live local rugby match soon, then you’re in luck! You can witness the Knights v Titans game on August 26 at the Mcdonald Jones Stadium. For tickets and other important information, you can visit mcdonaldjonesstadium.com.
Which Teams Will Compete?
There are 12 teams for both men’s and women’s divisions competing for this year’s Olympics, grouped into three pools of four teams. As mentioned, the first rugby match will be played by Fiji and Japan on the first day.
The event will last for six days, with two sessions played per day. Moreover, the Men’s finals are set for July 28, while the Women’s gold medal match is happening on “Super Saturday,” July 31st.
For the poolings, New Zealand, Korea, Australia, and Argentina are the countries under Pool A. With this scheduling, the antipodean rivalry between New Zealand and Australia has been highlighted, as they are both set to face each other on July 27.
Moreover, there is a lot of excitement as four of the top teams from the last Rio Olympics, Fiji, Japan, Great Britain, and Canada, are together in Pool B. Lastly, playing in Pool C is South Africa, Ireland, United States, and Kenya.
As for the women’s competition, the event will start on July 29, with France competing against Fiji. Under Pool A, we have the Russian Olympic Committee, Great Britain, New Zealand, and Kenya.
Interestingly, Pool B is the only group with no Olympic debutants. France, Fiji, Canada, and Brazil all qualified from impressive wins from the Rio Olympics in 2016 and the World Rugby Sevens Repechage in Monaco. Finally, the United States, China, Australia, and Japan are all scheduled to compete under Pool C.
The Olympics is one of the most awaited sports events for both athletes and fans worldwide. With various international rugby teams competing at such a massive stage, there’s no doubt that there is a lot of excitement towards the event.