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Tokyo 2020 Olympics kicks off on 27 July to 1 August at the Tokyo Stadium.

The men's and women's rugby sevens competitions will take place at the iconic Tokyo Stadium, a Rugby World Cup 2019 host venue. The men’s sessions will take place July 27–29 with the women's sessions happening July 31 – August 1, 2020.

Tokyo Olympics Nomination Criteria

Nomination Criteria for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Rugby 7s. Men Click here

Nomination Criteria for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Rugby 7s. Women Click here

Olympic History

In 1932, a Scottish man based in Canada, Mr. W. Hastie Cochrane, was unsuccessful in his bid to get rugby sevens into the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. The reason given was that two exhibition sports were already picked: American Football and Lacrosse.

Rugby sevens was one of five sports — golf, karate, roller sports, rugby, and squash — that submitted a proposal to the IOC at the 117th IOC Session meeting in Singapore in 2005 for inclusion in the 2012 games. The IOC stated that no sport would be added unless others were dropped. However, the selection of two sports out of the five nominees as potential 2012 sports went to squash and karate, as determined by a voting procedure. 

Most recently, rugby sevens competed with golf for two available spaces in the 2016 Olympics. The final decision was made at the IOC Session in Copenhagen in October 2009. The IRB used a number of high-profile people and events to influence the IOC to include sevens at the 2016 games. In March 2009, two senior delegates from the IOC attended the 2009 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai at the invitation of the IRB. The event attracted 78,000 fans over the three days and saw Wales crowned Men’s World Champions and Australia won the first ever Women's World Cup.

Along with the World Cup, the IRB enlisted some of rugby’s biggest names to assist in the bid. In March 2009, Jonah Lomu and Lawrence Dallaglio were announced as ambassadors for the bid and in April 2009 Waisale Serevi was unveiled as an ambassador to coincide with the Oceania National Olympic Committees' general assembly. May 2009 saw the IRB announce that they would drop the Rugby World Cup Sevens in order to improve the chances of the sport being included. The benefit of this move would be to make the Olympics the premier event in international rugby sevens.

As well as rugby sevens, baseball and softball, which were dropped from the Olympic programme in 2005, karate, squash, golf and roller sports (inline speed skating) were all seeking to be included in the 2016 games and leaders of the seven sports made formal presentations to the IOC executive board in June 2009.[6] A new system was in place at this session in which a sport now needs only a simple majority rather than the two-thirds majority that was required before.

On 13 August 2009 it was announced that the IOC executive board was recommending rugby sevens for inclusion in the 2016 Olympic Games and on 9 October 2009 the full IOC, at its 121st IOC Session in Copenhagen, voted to include rugby sevens in the 2016 games.

Separate competitions for men and women will be held, using a similar format to the existing IRB Sevens World Series. The IRB had originally proposed including 12 teams of each sex, the same number as other team ball sports events. During the IRB's presentation at the IOC Session, two IOC members asked why only 12 teams were included. IRB Chief Executive Mike Miller responded, "We followed the guidance of the Executive Members of the IOC, but if the IOC feels we should have more teams, we will add more."


Twelve rugby teams participate in the men’s and women’s competitions, qualifying through one of the four following routes:

Four teams qualify by finishing in the top four in the World Rugby Sevens Series.

Six teams qualify by finishing first in their respective continental championships — Europe, Africa, Oceania, Asia, South America, and North America.

The host country qualifies automatically.

The last qualifying place goes to the team that wins an inter-continental competition.

Competition format

Both the men’s and women’s competition consist of two parts — pool play followed by a knockout round.[citation needed] For pool play, the twelve teams are divided into three pools of four teams each. Each team plays the other three teams in the pool once. At the end of pool play, the eight best teams — the top two from each group plus the two best third-place finishers — qualify for the quarterfinals, while the other four teams move to a consolation bracket.[citation needed] The knockout rounds proceed through the quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals. The winner of the finals earns the gold medal and the finals runner-up earns silver. The two losing semifinalists play a third-place playoff to determine who earns the bronze medal.

Olympic Medals Men


Gold - Fiji

Silver - England

Bronze - South Africa

Olympic Medals Women


Gold - Australia

Silver -New Zealand

Bronze - Canada