Rugby sevens at the 2016 Summer Olympics

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This article deals with rugby sevens at the 2016 Summer Olympics. For rugby sevens at subsequent Summer Olympics, see Rugby sevens at the Summer Olympics. For the 15-a-side version of the game at the Olympics until discontinued in 1924, see Rugby union at the Summer Olympics. For the background to the re-introduction of rugby, see History of the efforts to re-include rugby into the Summer Olympics.
Rugby sevens
at the Games of the XXXI Olympiad
Rugby union pictogram.svg
Dates August
«Inaugural event
1924 (Rugby fifteens)
2020»

Rugby sevens at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro is scheduled to be held in August and the competition will take two days.[1] This is the first time rugby sevens will be played at the Olympics, though rugby union was last played at the 1924 Summer Olympics.

Changes[edit]

Though rugby has not been featured in the Olympics since the 1924 Summer Olympics in any form, the IOC chose to re-introduce the seven-a-side version of the sport for the games.[2] The sports will feature for at least this and the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Format[edit]

The usual laws of rugby sevens will apply.[2]

Venue[edit]

The original plan to stage rugby matches at the São Januário Stadium will have to be scrapped because the club in charge of the venue missed the deadline to present its project. The Organising Committee revealed that they may now move the sport into the João Havelange Stadium, which it would have to share with athletics competitions. [3] It has since been announced that the Rugby competition will take place in a temporary arena at the Deodoro Zone, shared with the Modern Pentathlon.

Qualification[edit]

Brazil men’s and women’s teams will automatically qualify for the events. Qualification will begin with the 2014–15 IRB Sevens World Series and 2014–15 IRB Women's Sevens World Series, where the 4 teams at the top of the standings will qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games. In June–September 2015, each of the six regional rugby unions will have an Olympic qualification event, where one team from each region will qualify. The final spot will be determined by a repechage tournament. It comprise 16 teams from the regional qualifiers: 4 from Europe, 3 from Africa, 3 from Asia, 2 from Oceania, 2 from North America and 2 from South America.

To solve the problem of Great Britain competing as one union in the Olympics and as several in International Rugby (England, Wales, Scotland), should one team qualify (England, Wales or Scotland) then Great Britain will be awarded a spot in the Olympic Games. The three British unions agreed in advance of the 2013–14 men's and women's Sevens World Series that their highest-finishing teams in that season would represent all three unions in the first stage of qualification in both 2014–15 series. The England men's and women's teams earned the right to represent the British unions in that stage of their respective competitions.[4] Should either England team finish in the top four of its respective series in 2014–15, or any of the three British unions qualify in a later stage, the unions will then decide the composition of the Great Britain team. Please note that Northern Ireland is part of the Irish Rugby Football Union.[5] [6][7]

Note that the world governing body for the sport, the International Rugby Board, will rename itself World Rugby (WR) effective 19 November 2014.[8]

Men's tournament[edit]

Means of qualification Date of completion Venue1 Berths Qualified
Host nation 2 October 2009 N/A 1  Brazil
2014–15 IRB Sevens World Series 17 May 2015 Various (nine locations) 4
Confederation of African Rugby Various (home and away) 1
Asian Rugby Football Union Various (home and away) 1
Rugby Europe Various (home and away) 1
North America Caribbean Rugby Association Various (home and away) 1
Confederación Sudamericana de Rugby Various (home and away) 1
Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions Various (home and away) 1
WR Preliminary Competition – Intercontinental Various (home and away) 1
Total 12

Women's tournament[edit]

Means of qualification Date of completion Venue1 Berths Qualified
Host nation N/A N/A 1  Brazil
2014–15 IRB Women's Sevens World Series 23 May 2015 Various (six locations) 4
WR Preliminary Competition – Africa Various (home and away) 1
WR Preliminary Competition – Asia Various (home and away) 1
WR Preliminary Competition – Europe Various (home and away) 1
WR Preliminary Competition – North America Various (home and away) 1
WR Preliminary Competition – Oceania Various (home and away) 1
WR Preliminary Competition – South America Various (home and away) 1
WR Preliminary Competition – Intercontinental Various (home and away) 1
Total 12

Competition schedule[edit]

The competition will run at an as yet unknown date in August.

Other issues[edit]

The international structure of rugby union with respect to Great Britain and Ireland is similar to that of association football, but with its own unique features. In football, the four Home Nations within the United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) all field separate national teams, which led to a controversy over how to field a combined Great Britain football team at the 2012 Olympics. The Republic of Ireland fields its own national team in football. In rugby union, the three Home Nations that share the island of Great Britain also have their own national teams. Ireland, by contrast, is not divided for rugby purposes—the sport is organised on an All-Ireland basis, with a single governing body for the entire island.[9] Great Britain will get a chance to field a combined team.[10]

This structure led to some minor issues regarding participation of a Great Britain team in the qualifying stages of the 2016 Games. Due to a tradition of cooperation between the governing bodies of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales—especially during the quadrennial tours of the Southern Hemisphere by the unified British and Irish Lions 15-a-side team—these were far less contentious than in football; as early as 2011, the IRB endorsed the concept of a united Great Britain team for the 2016 Games.[11]

In August 2012, a provisional plan was announced by which England, Scotland and Wales would all be able to qualify as a Great Britain sevens team for the 2016 Games. The first qualifying stage is planned to be the 2014–2015 men's IRB Sevens World Series and IRB Women's Sevens World Series, with the top four teams of each sex at the end of that season advancing to the Games. All three nations are "core teams" that participate in every event of the men's IRB Sevens; the IRB Women's Sevens began in 2012–2013 with England as one of the six core teams.[12] Qualifying will continue with regional tournaments and a final worldwide Olympic qualifier. Should any of the three teams finish in a qualifying spot at any stage, Great Britain will send a team to the Games. The final composition of a Great Britain team would then be determined by the three nations and the British Olympic Association.[10] However, in appearing to acquiesce to the IRFU’s demand that all Irish players regardless of whether they are British or Irish citizens play for Ireland rather the Great Britain, the British Olympic Association has demonstrated an inconsistency of approach and, arguably, hypocrisy in view of its stance towards a GB football team.

Another issue was to make Brazil's automatically qualifying team competitive.[13] In an attempt to address this for the women's tournament, the IRB announced in August 2013 that Brazil would be an invited core team in the IRB Women's Sevens World Series for at least the 2013–14 season.[14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Rugby sevens venue for Rio 2016 Olympics in doubt". insidethegames.biz. 1 November 2012. Retrieved 23 November 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Rugby". Rio 2016. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  3. ^ "Rio organizers forced to change 2016 rugby venue". sportsillustrated.cnn.com. 1 November 2012. Retrieved 23 November 2012. 
  4. ^ "England nominated to qualify GB for Olympics" (Press release). International Rugby Board. 11 July 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  5. ^ http://www.irb.com/newsmedia/mediazone/pressrelease/newsid=2070257.html#olympic+rugby+sevens+qualification+confirmed
  6. ^ http://www.irb.com/mm/document/aboutirb/irborganisation/02/06/18/19/120327ljrugbysevensplanfinal.pdf
  7. ^ http://www.insidethegames.biz/sports/summer/rugby-sevens/1013475-rio-2016-qualifying-system-for-rugby-sevens-revealed
  8. ^ "IRB to change name to World Rugby" (Press release). International Rugby Board. 28 August 2014. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  9. ^ "History of IRFU". Irish Rugby Football Union. Retrieved 27 August 2012. "From 1874 to 1879 there were two Unions. The Irish Football Union had jurisdiction over Clubs in Leinster, Munster and parts of Ulster; the Northern Football Union of Ireland controlled the Belfast area. . . . In 1879 the two Unions agreed to amalgamate on the following terms:
    (i) A Union to be known as the Irish Rugby Football Union was to be formed for the whole country.
    (ii) Branches were to be formed in Leinster, Munster and Ulster.
    (iii) The Union was to be run by a Council of eighteen, made up of six from each province." 
  10. ^ a b Degun, Tom (25 May 2012). "Exclusive: UK Home Nations can qualify a British rugby sevens team for Rio 2016". insidethegames.biz. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  11. ^ "International Board backs British Olympic sevens team". BBC Sport. 6 April 2011. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  12. ^ "IRB announces Women's Sevens World Series" (Press release). International Rugby Board. 4 October 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  13. ^ "Lapasset Presents Plans for Rugby Sevens at Rio 2016". Aroundtherings.com. 2012-08-09. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  14. ^ "Schedule announced for 2013/14 Women's Series" (Press release). International Rugby Board. 22 August 2013. Retrieved 2 October 2013.