The Runner Sports

An Innovative Format To Appear In 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens

With the first ever Rugby World Cup to be held on American soil less than one year away, organizers are preparing a never-before-seen structure to best display the international rugby sevens talent arriving in San Francisco, California. The event, which is scheduled for the weekend of July 20-22 and is to be held at the landmark AT&T Ballpark, includes both men’s and women’s competition across 40 teams.

RWC 2018 Format Men’s:

The men’s sphere of the competition will be represented by 24 teams playing across three days. The top eight squads –based on the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens– will be automatically be qualified through to the round of 16 and seeded based on their HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series rankings. Seeds 9-14 will be seeded based on their HSBC sevens rankings. Seeds 15-24 will qualify and seed based on their regionally qualifying tournaments. Starting Friday, teams seeded 9-24 will compete to qualify for the subsequent round; seeds 1-8 automatically qualify and will not need to play Friday. The eight victorious teams on Friday will then graduate to a round of 16 on Saturday, where they encounter the top eight seeds. Losers from Friday will move to a Bowl competition of their own.

On Saturday, the winners of the round of 16 will progress through to the championship with the losers moving on to a Challenge competition. On Sunday, the Bowl, Challenge, and Championship competitions, each with eight teams, will experience quarterfinal, semifinal, and final matches similar to the structure in the regular HSBC Sevens World Series.

RWC 2018 Format Women’s:

The lady’s sphere of the competition will be held on Saturday and Sunday and feature 16 teams. Instead of a qualifying round, there will be a round of 16 identical to the format of the men’s, from which eight winning teams will progress to a championship and eight losing teams will move on to a Challenge competition.


When asked to reflect on this change of format from traditional structures, World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper explained that with the success of Rugby Sevens in the Summer Olympics, and the action-packed HSBC Sevens World Series, it became crucial to reevaluate the role of the Sevens World Cup.

In an interview with Rugby World Cup, Gosper reflected that “As a result of these success stories [Olympic Sevens, HSBC Sevens], there is an opportunity to examine what Rugby World Cup Sevens is and where this great tournament sits in the hearts and minds of players and fans around the world. We want to make sure it is a special event with its own identity that provides a unique experience to fans, teams and viewers, something different to what they see on the series or at the Olympics.”

Thus it is that this new Sevens World Cup structure offers an innovative new format that will attempt to contain the deluge of sevens rugby talent that will be flooding San Francisco a year from now. Tickets to the Sevens World Cup 2018 are on sale through the World Cup website and The Runner Sports will be following all the action as we draw closer to this historic event.

Eric Sweigert

Eric Sweigert

Currently a teacher-athlete up in Northern California, I was first introduced to rugby in college (go Aggies) and haven't looked back. Nowadays you can find me teaching American History and writing about a sport that provided many good memories and more than enough stitches.
Eric Sweigert