Rugby sevens is the closest thing rugby union and rugby league fans will get to 'normal' rugby at the Olympics 2020 in Tokyo.


While New Zealand, known as the All Blacks (men) and the Black Ferns (women), often tend to dominate the 15-a-side game in world rugby, Fiji (men) and Australia (women) are the defending Olympic champions heading into Tokyo.

Rugby sevens takes place between July 26th and July 31st at the Tokyo Stadium.

There will be two matches a day over six days with the men's competition taking place first, followed by the women's. has broken down everything you need to know about the rugby sevens, from which nations are involved to how many Team GB athletes are competing. Plus check out what's on with our guide to the Olympics on TV today.

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When is rugby sevens at the Olympics?

Rugby sevens runs takes place from Monday 26th July until Saturday 31st July.

The men's competition will run first, with two days of pool games before the medal and placing matches. The women's contest starts on Thursday 29th and runs similarly for the last three days of the rugby sevens contests.

Check out our guide on how to watch Olympics 2020 or see Olympics on TV today for more details, timings, and exclusive expert analysis from some of the biggest names in world sport over the coming weeks.

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Find out how you can watch the Tokyo 2020 Olympics closing ceremony.

What are the rules of rugby sevens at the Olympics?

Rugby sevens is played on the same field of play as the 15-a-side game, with pitch dimensions that are 100m x 70m.

With fewer players on the pitch, rugby sevens is often seen as a faster-paced game with more running, more tackles and more tries.

Matches consist of 14 minutes, comprised of two seven-minute halves.

Teams are made up of three forwards and four backs, and each team may nominate and use up to five replacements during a game.

A try is worth five points, a conversion is worth two, while drop goals and penalty goals are worth three.

How to qualify for rugby sevens at the Olympics

In June, the 12 men’s and 12 women’s teams were allocated to three pools of four, according to rankings based upon performances in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and other World Rugby sanctioned tournaments over the past two years.

The top four placed teams in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2019 qualified directly for Tokyo, while Japan were awarded their place as host nation.

The remaining seven teams qualified via regional tournaments and the World Rugby Sevens Repechage in Monaco.

At Tokyo 2020, both the men's and women's tournaments follow the same format.

Both competitions will see three pools of four lock horns. The top eight finishers go into the quarter-finals, followed by semi-finals, and a final. The losing semi-finalists play for the bronze medal.

Men's Pools

Pool A

New Zealand
Republic of Korea

Pool B

Great Britain

Pool C

South Africa

Women's Pools

Pool A

Great Britain
New Zealand
Russian Olympic Committee

Pool B


Pool C


Which Team GB athletes will compete in Olympic rugby sevens?


  • Dan Bibby: England
  • Alec Coombes: Edinburgh and Scotland
  • Alex Davis: England
  • Robbie Fergusson: Glasgow Warriors and Scotland
  • Harry Glover: England
  • Ben Harris: Saracens
  • Oliver Lindsay-Hague: England
  • Ross McCann: Scotland
  • Max McFarland: Scotland
  • Tom Mitchell: England
  • Dan Norton: England
  • Ethan Waddleton: England


  • Holly Aitchison: Saracens Women and England
  • Abbie Brown: Loughborough Lightning and England
  • Abi Burton: Wasps FC Ladies and England
  • Deborah Fleming: Saracens Women and England
  • Natasha Hunt: Gloucester/Hartpury and England
  • Megan Jones: Wasps FC Ladies and England
  • Jasmine Joyce: Bristol Bears Women and Wales
  • Alex Matthews: Worcester Warriors Women and England
  • Helena Rowland: Loughborough Lightning and England
  • Celia Quansah: Wasps and England
  • Hannah Smith: Scotland
  • Emma Uren: Saracens Women and England

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