England, France and New Zealand Axed as Hosts in Rebranded World Rugby SVNS Tournament Format

London, Paris, Hamilton removed while Australian leg moves from Sydney to Perth

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World Rugby has announced eight tournaments for the 2023/2024 rugby sevens season, removing three major rugby playing nations as hosts in a rebranded tournament focused on growing the fan base and revenues.

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Earlier in the year World Rugby had announced the axing of the Hamilton 7’s in New Zealand and the addition of the Madrid 7’s in Spain.

Rebranded SVNS rugby, the announcement confirms that the Paris and London legs will no longer be part of the World Series as the number of tournaments drops from ten to eight.

Another surprise move is the Australian leg of the series – moving from Sydney to Perth.

World Rugby Chief Revenue and Fan Engagement Officer Richard Heaselgrave has said, the new format is about entertainment and simplifying the product for both rugby fans and people new to the sport with the new vision being, “Food, music and mass participation at seven iconic venues around the world, venues you would want to go to.”

“We wanted to look at not just the size of the events that could be staged at a venue, but also to introduce the sport to new markets,” said Heaselgrave.

In other changes the rugby sevens (SVNS) world series will run four stand alone tournaments.

The World Series has been rebranded SVNS

In the past, teams have been required to play back to back weekends, however, next season, only Dubai-Cape Town and Vancouver-Los Angeles are played in back to back weekends.

Perth, Hong Kong, Singapore and Madrid will be stand alone tournaments. Teams will fly in, play and fly back home.

The 2023/2024 rugby sevens world series is set to be the most competitive season ever with the number of teams being cut from 16 to 12.

This means 3 pools of 4 at every tournament. This will result in highly competitive pools where we could see three or even four heavy hitters all in one pool.

The new format according Heaselgrave will grow the fan base and increase revenues to be reinvested into the sport with an increase of up to 70% income for players.

The change that is leaving most fans confused about is the suggestion that the last leg in Madrid would be a “grand final” event.

It has been said, although not yet officially announced by World Rugby, that only the Top 8 will be invited to play the last tournament of the season in Madrid, and the winner of the “grand final” round will be crowned the 2023/2024 World Rugby 7’s champions, despite the points table.

The new format addresses gender inequalities and assures men and women are paid equally. Tournament conditions are also assured to be the same for both men and women in the new format.

However, there is no move by World Rugby to address extreme inequalities that exist between the much more resourced developed nations, and the struggling Tier 2 rugby nations where players are paid less than 25% of their counterparts in more developed countries.

2023/2024 Season Tournaments:

Dubai, UAE: 2-3 December, 2023 followed by Cape Town, South Africa: 9-10 December, 2023.

Perth, Australia: 26-28 January, 2024

Vancouver, Canada:  23-25 February, 2024

Los Angeles, USA:  2-3 March, 2024

Hong Kong: 5-7 April 2024

 

Singapore: 3-5 May 2024

Madrid, Spain: 31 May-2 June, 2024

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Daniel M Limā