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When and Where Is It On?
The Rugby World Cup Sevens will take place from September 9 to September 11 at Cape Town Stadium in South Africa. It will be the first time the tournament has been held on the African continent.
Cape Town Stadium has a capacity of 55,000 people. It is worth noting that Cape Town is at sea level, so players, especially those coming from the Northern Hemisphere, won't have to adjust to high altitudes as in the likes of Johannesburg and Pretoria. The weather at this time of the year is quite mild, although rain showers will be a possibility.
What countries are playing?
📍 Africa: South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Kenya.
📍 North America: United States, Canada, Jamaica.
📍 South America: Argentina, Uruguay, Chile
📍 Asia: Hong Kong, South Korea
📍 Europe: England, France, Scotland, Germany, Ireland, Portugal, Wales
📍 Oceania: Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Samoa, Tonga
What's the format?
The tournament is a knockout format from the beginning, but teams who exit in the pre-round of 16 enter the Bowl tournament, while teams exiting in the last 16 enter into the Challenge tournament. This means that there will be three champions: the Bowl champions, the Challenge champions and the Championship champions. Confused? Well, we are going to focus our attention on the Championship, which crowns the World Cup winners.
|Match 1||Ireland v Portugal|
|Match 2||Canada v Zimbabwe|
|Match 3||Samoa v Uganda|
|Match 4||Scotland v Jamaica|
|Match 5||Kenya v Tonga|
|Match 6||Wales v South Korea|
|Match 7||Hong Kong v Uruguay|
|Match 8||Germany v Chile|
|Round of 16|
|Match 9||England v Winner of Match 1|
|Match 10||France v Winner of Match 2|
|Match 11||USA v Winner of Match 3|
|Match 12||New Zealand v Winner of Match 4|
|Match 13||Argentina v Winner of Match 5|
|Match 14||Fiji v Winner of Match 6|
|Match 15||Australia v Winner of Match 7|
|Match 16||South Africa v Winner of Match 8|
|Match 25||Winner of M9 v Winner of M16|
|Match 26||Winner of M10 v Winner of M15|
|Match 27||Winner of M11 v Winner of M14|
|Match 28||Winner of M12 v Winner of M13|
|Match 29||Winner of M25 v Winner of M28|
|Match 30||Winner of M26 v Winner of M27|
|Winner of M29 v Winner of M30|
Round of 16 - England v Ireland
The reward for Ireland, if they get past Portugal in the preliminary round, is a last-16 tie with England, who have made the final for the past two years. This will be a huge match for Ireland against their old rivals and they have the capability of causing an upset if on song.
Quarter-final - New Zealand v Argentina
The odds suggest that a quarter-final between New Zealand and Argentina is very likely. New Zealand will be heavy favourites to beat either Scotland or Jamaica in the last 16, and the same could be said for Argentina when they play either Kenya or Tonga.
Semi-finals - New Zealand v England
The way the draw has worked out this year means that there can be no repeat of the last two finals between New Zealand and England, but they can meet at the semi-final stages.
Who are the favourites to win?
Pictured: South Africa celebrates victory and a gold medal in South Africa vs New Zealand game. Source: Sport In Pictures. 27th July 2014.
New Zealand have won the last two editions of the tournament and are the most successful team in its history with three titles, so much of the attention will be on them once more.
But the last major sevens tournament was the 2020 Olympics (held in 2021), when defending champions Fiji won gold by beating New Zealand 27-12 in the final. The small Pacific Island nation are one of the most exciting teams in the world to watch and won't fear anyone in the tournament. They have won the World Cup on two occasions, in 1997 and 2005. In the last two editions they have been beaten at the semi-final stage.
The host nation South Africa must also be shown plenty of respect. They were beaten in the 2018 semi-finals by England, but have been in very good form in the past season. They won four sevens events in Dubai (twice), Malaga and Seville in the 2021-22 series to earn them top seeding heading into a World Cup on home turf.
Australia can also never be discounted. Yet, to win the World Cup, they have been runners-up on two occasions and won the latest World Seven Series event in London. It would be no surprise to see an Aussie lifting the trophy.
Sevens is a variant of rugby union with the main difference being that teams have seven players rather than 15, with matches lasting for seven minutes each half. Played on the same size pitch as the 15-a-side game, it means that there is plenty of space to attack and the action is fast and frenetic. A huge number of sprints are required in a match, so the five permitted substitutions must be well-timed.
All of the sevens' rules are designed to make the match as fast and exciting as possible. A conversion must be drop-kicked instead of using a kicking tee; and penalties are usually taken with a quick-tap instead of a kick for touch and a lineout.
A scrum is done with three players per side in one row instead of eight players forming three rows, as in the 15-a-side game. It means that there are fewer restarts and the ball generally enters and exits the scrum very quickly.
Due to the limited number of players, when a player is tackled and a ruck is formed, the ball tends to exit the ruck more quickly, as the attacking team generally has only three players involved in the ruck – the tackled player, one support player, and one scrum-half. You seldom end up with a maul, common in 15-a-side, when the ball is held up off the ground.
This is one of the fast-paced matches in the world whose nature invites a level of unpredictability. Compared to rugby union, there is much more emphasis on gunning for tries than relying on penalties to accumulate points. Field position also matters less compared to when there are fifteen players a side, as players can and do run the length of the pitch to score tries.
All of this means in-running betting is a risky business as a team could be dominating possession only for an interception to result in the opposing team bagging a runaway try. The penalty for errors with the oval ball are severe in sevens, so it often pays to side with those teams who have experience at this level and the cauldron of a big stadium atmosphere.
The markets will fluctuate dramatically throughout the tournament, so it is always worth surveying all bookmakers to get the best value for your money when placing bets.
Rugby World Cup Sevens Betting Tips: The Basics
If gambling on this tournament, customers have a range of options to choose from on the host of sites that will be offering odds on the action.
The Outright Win Bet
Most simply, you are betting on the winner of the tournament. This can be in the form of an each-way bet or a straight win bet. It is worth researching the place terms being offered by bookmakers for this tournament, but typically they will offer four places, meaning that if your team get to the semi-finals, you win the place part of your bet.
Punters can also bet on any individual match during the tournament. There will be a huge choice of match markets, such as first tryscorer, handicap betting, half/full-time score, and so on. These side markets can provide better returns than betting on the victor.
There are 52 matches taking place in the men's tournament alone, so having a stake in too many of them can be a problem. Due to the nature of the draw, the fancied teams are all likely to go safely through to the quarter-finals without any hiccups, so it could be worth watching the last-16 matches before making any outright bets, as these will allow you to gauge the in-form teams without their results dramatically affecting their overall odds to lift the trophy.
Punters should also take into account the results of the final World Sevens Series event in Los Angeles from 27-28 August before the World Cup. This will be the last competitive outing for the sides before the big tournament and should give a strong indication of how they are matching up.
Find Me a Winner!
Although the odds haven't been released as yet for the tournament, Fiji look to be a very solid bet to go all the way this time and lift the trophy. No country is more fanatical about the game than the Fijians and they will have been thinking about this tournament ever since winning the Olympics in Tokyo.
Rugby World Cup Sevens FAQs
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about the Rugby League World Cup Sevens:
52 games in the men's competition alone presents plenty of opportunities to find some value bets. The danger, though, is how quick and fast the matches come and go. The advice is to be selective about your bets and calculated about the risks involved; use odds comparison websites; and keep track of the latest offers and promotions from each bookmaker's site.
There have been many cases of players crossing over from Sevens to Rugby Union with great success. Current Ireland star Hugo Keenan, for example, played for the Ireland Sevens before making a breakthrough at Leinster and then getting capped for the senior team. Many players have also combined an interest in the two forms. New Zealand legend and former NRL player Sonny Bill Williams, for instance, has at various stages represented his country in rugby union, rugby sevens and rugby league.
Rugby has always been a minority sport in the USA, but the suspicion has always been that they could become a major force if they pumped some resources into it. One would think that the kind of strong, quick and agile athletes that excel in American Football would also be well suited to the physical demands of Rugby Sevens. Recent years have seen the USA Eagles look at those who didn't quite make the grade in the NFL and this could become a growing trend in the future. While the Eagles might not be ready to win this year's World Cup, they do have the potential, given their huge population, to dominate the sport in the years to come.