- Women’s competition increases to eight rounds
- Six tournaments will be combined men’s and women’s events
- Los Angeles announced as the location for USA men’s tournament
- Record-breaking audience engagement figures with over 198 million video views in 2019
- World Series 2020 serves as crucial build-up for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
- The women’s series begins in Glendale, Colorado, USA on 5-6 October, 2019
World Rugby has confirmed the schedule for the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2020 in what will be the biggest season to date, with Fiji and New Zealand fighting to retain the men’s and women’s titles respectively.
The women’s competition will increase from six to eight rounds for the first time in the history of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, with six of those being combined men’s and women’s events, while the men’s circuit will once again be contested across 10 rounds.
Following a record-breaking Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 in San Francisco, the men’s competition will once again travel to the United States where it will be hosted in Los Angeles.
The move from Las Vegas will see the two-day event return to the home stadium of the MLS side, LA Galaxy and the NFL's LA Chargers, Dignity Health Sports Park in California - the same venue earmarked to host rugby sevens in the LA 2028 Olympic Games.
Ireland are welcomed as one of the 15 core men’s teams for 2020 while Brazil will join the 10 other core women’s teams after both sides earned qualification for next season’s world series in Hong Kong in April this year. As in previous years each round of the series will include an invitational team to complete the line-up of 16 men’s and 12 women’s teams.
The 2019 series acted as the principal qualification route for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games with the men’s and women’s teams finishing in the top four earning automatic qualification. To date, eight men’s and seven women’s teams have qualified for Tokyo as the regional qualification competitions continue before the last places are decided at the Olympic repechage tournament scheduled to take place in June 2020.
The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2020 will serve as crucial build-up to Tokyo as rugby sevens prepares to make its second appearance in the Olympic Games programme following its successful introduction at Rio 2016, which attracted 30 million new fans to the shortened format of the game worldwide.
Sevens is experiencing exponential growth and as well as breaking records on the pitch, the men’s and women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2019 reached all-time fan engagement figures with over 198 million video views, a 65 per cent increase on 2018.
The women’s series opener will be hosted in Glendale, Colorado, USA on 5-6 October, 2019 in what will be the second time that the standalone event has kicked off the season.
Rounds two and three are combined events alongside the men’s series, taking place in Dubai, UAE on 5-7 December, 2019 and in Cape Town, South Africa on 13/14-15 December, 2019 where the women will play at the Cape Town Stadium for the first time.
In the new year both the men and women will travel to Hamilton, New Zealand where they will play their third combined event on 25-26 January before both travelling to Sydney, Australia for 1-2 February.
The first standalone men’s competition of 2020 will take place in Los Angeles, USA on 29 February to 1 March followed by Vancouver, Canada a week later on 7-8 March.
The fifth dual men’s and women’s event will be hosted in Hong Kong from 3-5 April before the eighth round of the men’s series is hosted in Singapore on 11-12 April.
The penultimate stop on the women’s circuit will take place in Langford, Canada on 2-3 May with the ninth men’s round being hosted at Twickenham Stadium in London, England on 23-24 May.
The men’s and women’s competitions will both culminate in Paris, France on 30-31 May at the Stade Jean-Bouin.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont commented: “2020 is going to be the biggest year on record for the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, with more women’s and combined events than ever before, and with the series acting as key preparation for those teams competing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“2019 was a hugely successful season for rugby sevens, with not only the quality of rugby on the pitch setting new and even higher standards, but with record-breaking audience engagement figures with our online video content, which received over 198 million views.
“This is extremely encouraging as we enter a new era for rugby sevens which promises to bring fans even more excitement both on and off the field.”
On the Los Angeles tournament, Beaumont added: “We are delighted that Los Angeles will again host the USA round of the men’s competition after such a successful Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 in San Francisco, which reached record attendance and broadcast figures.
“Rugby sevens is growing rapidly in popularity in the United States, and with both men’s and women’s USA teams finishing in the top two last season, taking the event to Los Angeles will provide us with a great opportunity for us to reach new audiences as we look ahead to the LA 2028 Olympic Games.”
HSBC Global Head of Brand Partnerships Jonathan Castleman said: “Our decade long partnership with the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series remains one of the most successful elements of our global partnership programme.
“With the dates for next season now confirmed, it is a great opportunity to look ahead. Particularly pleasing is the increased number of joint men’s and women’s legs - a change we worked collaboratively with World Rugby on over recent years as part of our broader efforts to support the growth of the women’s game. 2020 also marks the return of rugby sevens at the Olympics.
“Following its successful debut at the Rio 2016 Games, the sport is dynamic, growing and is an increasing presence in new markets all over the world. We can’t wait to see how it can make the most of the opportunity to shine on the global stage once again. We continue to be immensely proud of our role working alongside World Rugby to enable the success of sevens and are excited about the growth still to come.”
Captain of reigning champions New Zealand, Sarah Hirini commented: “We are really excited about the changes that have been made to the sevens schedule - especially having an official home tournament for the first time in history.
“Having eight rounds is a huge step forward for the women’s game and having six of them alongside the men will be great for the exposure of the game. On top of that we have the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games in our sights following the Series – it’s going to be a massive season!”
USA Rugby CEO Ross Young added: "We first want to congratulate the City of LA on the awarding of the event from World Rugby. We are very excited that the United States will be involved in the next four-year cycle.
"We are looking forward to connecting with the city and beginning the collaboration to support the March event where we can, and make it a success for all the fans, teams and stakeholders."
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2020 schedule:
5-6 October, 2019: Infinity Park, Colorado, USA – women’s standalone event
5-7 December, 2019: The Sevens, Dubai, UAE – combined men’s and women’s event
13-15 December, 2019: Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town, South Africa – combined men’s and women’s event
25-26 January, 2020: FMG Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand – combined men’s and women’s event
1-2 February, 2020: Bankwest Stadium, Sydney, Australia – combined men’s and women’s event
29 February – 1 March, 2020: Dignity Health Sports Park, Los Angeles, USA – men’s standalone event
7-8 March, 2020: BC Place Stadium, Vancouver, Canada – men’s standalone event
3-5 April, 2020: Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong – combined men’s and women’s event
11-12 April, 2020: National Stadium, Singapore – men’s standalone event
2-3 May, 2020: Westhills Stadium, Langford, Canada – women’s standalone event
23-24 May, 2020: Twickenham Stadium, London, England – men’s standalone event
30-31 May, 2020: Stade Jean-Bouin, Paris, France – combined men’s and women’s event
27 July-1 August, 2020: Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Tokyo, Japan
*All fixture details correct at time of publication/subject to change