IRB Women's Sevens World Series
|Current season, competition or edition:
2013–14 IRB Women's Sevens World Series
|No. of teams||12|
|Most recent champion(s)||New Zealand|
|Most titles||New Zealand (2)|
The IRB Women's Sevens World Series is a series of international rugby union sevens tournaments for women's national teams run by the International Rugby Board. It debuted in the 2012–13 season as a successor for the IRB Women's Sevens Challenge Cup held in 2011-12.
The series, the women's counterpart to the IRB Sevens World Series, is intended to provide elite-level women's competition between rugby nations and develop the Sevens game in advance of the creation of an Olympic sevens competition in 2016.
As with the men's Sevens World Series, teams compete for the title by accumulating points based on their finishing position in each tournament. The inaugural 2012–13 series consisted of four tournaments on three continents. The first two events were hosted by the United Arab Emirates (specifically Dubai) and the United States, both of which host events in the men's version. The other two events were hosted by China and the Netherlands.
For the second series in 2013–14, five tournaments took place; a sixth had initially been announced, but never materialized. All nations that hosted events in 2012–13 hosted in the second season, with the added event hosted by Brazil.
The series expanded to six events for 2014–15. The Dubai, Brazil, USA, and Netherlands events remain on the schedule. China will not be on the 2014–15 schedule. New rounds of the series will be hosted by Canada (specifically in Greater Victoria) and London.
The events for the first season were officially announced by the IRB on 4 October 2012.
|IRB Women's Sevens World Series Itinerary (2012–13)|
|UAE (Dubai)||The Sevens (50,000)||Dubai||30 November – 1 December 2012||2012–13||Results|
|USA||BBVA Compass Stadium (22,000)||Houston||1-2 February 2013||2012–13|
|China||Guangzhou University City Stadium (50,000)||Guangzhou||30-31 March 2013||2012–13|
|Netherlands||NRCA Stadium (10,000)||Amsterdam||17-18 May 2013||2012–13|
For the 2013–14 season, one tournament was added, and one of the events from the inaugural season moved to a new site:
- The new Brazil Women's Sevens was held at Arena Barueri in São Paulo (capacity 35,000).
- The USA Women's Sevens moved from Houston to the Atlanta suburb of Kennesaw, Georgia, with the tournament hosted by Fifth Third Bank Stadium (capacity 8,300).
Details of the new events for 2014–15 are as follows:
- The Canada Women's Sevens will be held at Westhills Stadium in Langford, British Columbia (permanent capacity 1,600, though temporary seating may be added).
- The London Women's Sevens will be held at the Twickenham Stoop (capacity 14,816) with finals to be played at the adjacent Twickenham Stadium (capacity 82,000).
Unlike the men's Sevens World Series, which enjoys title sponsorship by banking giant HSBC, the Women's Sevens World Series does not yet have a title sponsor.
|Season||Rounds||Champion||Top Scorer||Most tries||Player of the Year|
|2012–13||4||New Zealand||Portia Woodman (105)||Portia Woodman (21)||Kayla McAlister|
|2013–14||5||New Zealand||Emilee Cherry (195)||Emilee Cherry (33)||Emilee Cherry|
Sevens is a stripped-down version of rugby union, invented in Scotland in the 19th century, 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. Sevens is traditionally played in a two-day tournament format.
Prior to the inaugural season, a group of "core teams" that are guaranteed places in all series events was announced. This concept is taken directly from the men's series. Unlike the men's series, which features 15 core teams as of the 2012–13 season, the women's series began with only six. The initial core teams were:
Brazil was invited to participate in all events for the 2013–14 series. This was part of an IRB initiative to help jump-start women's rugby development in the country, which is set to host the 2016 Summer Olympics.
For the 2014–15 series, the number of core teams increased to 11, and qualification was extensively revamped, changing to a system more similar to that currently used in the men's World Series. The top seven teams in the 2013–14 series retained core team status. Four additional core teams will be determined in a 12-team qualifying tournament to be held in Hong Kong on 12–13 September 2014. The IRB has not yet determined full details of the qualification system for future series. Going into the 2014–15 qualifying tournament, the following sides will be core teams:
Unlike the men's series, which features 16, 20, or 28 teams in each tournament, the women's series features 12 teams in each tournament. The remaining participants are invited on the basis of regional tournament rankings.
Each tournament uses a format similar to that of the men's series, adjusted for the lower number of teams, with pool play followed by three separate knockout tournaments. The IRB did not initially announce whether the women's series would follow the men's practice of conducting tournaments for multiple trophies of varying prestige. In the end, it chose to follow the men's practice, although with minor adjustments. Since each women's tournament has only 12 teams, as opposed to the 16 that compete for series points in all events of the men's series, the fourth-level Shield trophy is not contested in the women's series. Both series offer a Cup trophy to the overall winner, with lower-level Plate and Bowl trophies also contested.
One significant difference between tournament formats in the men's and women's series is that in the women's series, the losers of the Plate and Bowl semi-finals play in classification matches. In the men's series, the only semi-final losers who play a classification match are those in the Cup tournament.
The season championship will be determined by points earned in each tournament. The points schedule is similar to that of the men's IRB Sevens, with the differences noted in the previous section.
|Cup third-place play-off winner||3rd||16|
|Cup third-place play-off loser||4th||14|
|Plate seventh-place play-off winner||7th||8|
|Plate seventh-place play-off loser||8th||6|
|Bowl 11th-place play-off winner||11th||2|
|Bowl 11th-place play-off loser||12th||1|
Should teams finish equal on series points at the end of the season, the tiebreakers are the same as those in the men's series:
- Overall scoring differential in the season.
- Total try count in the season.
- If neither produces a winner, the teams are tied.
Notes and references
- "Schedule announced for 2013/14 Women's Series" (Press release). International Rugby Board. 22 August 2013. Retrieved 2 October 2013.
- "Host cities announced for women's series" (Press release). International Rugby Board. 31 July 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
- "IRB announces Women's Sevens World Series" (Press release). International Rugby Board. 4 October 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
- "Women's Sevens Series places up for grabs" (Press release). International Rugby Board. 8 July 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
- "IRB Women's Sevens World Series: Rules". International Rugby Board. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
- "IRB Sevens World Series: Rules". International Rugby Board. Retrieved January 4, 2013.