What is the format for the Olympic rugby competition?

The Olympic rugby competition (rugby sevens) includes a men’s and women’s tournament. In both tournaments, 12 teams contest a pool round, followed by a single-elimination knockout stage.  

How does Olympic rugby pool play work?

The 12 participating teams are divided into three pools of four. Each team plays three preliminary matches, one against each opposing team in its pool. Wins are worth 3 points, draws are worth 2 points and losses are worth one point toward the preliminary rankings. 

Once all pool round matchups have transpired, the top-two teams in each group advance to the knockout stage, along with the best two third-place finishers. If teams are tied in ranking points, the first tiebreaker is the result of the head-to-head matchup between the tied teams. If the teams did not meet in a match, or if the match ended in a tie, aggregate points margin is considered to determine the higher ranked team. 

How does the Olympic rugby knockout stage work?

The single-elimination bracket begins with the quarterfinal round. Teams are seeded as follows: 

  • Group A winner vs. Second-best 3rd-place finisher 
  • Group C runner-up vs. Group B runner-up 
  • Group C winner vs. Group A runner-up 
  • Group B winner vs. Best 3rd-place finisher 

Winners of the quarterfinals advance to the semifinals. Winners of the semifinals advance to the gold medal match, while losers of the semifinals play for bronze. Eliminated teams also play additional classification matches to achieve a final Olympic ranking.