Excitement levels increased this week as the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2022 schedule was unveiled.

Following hot on the heels of an enthralling Olympic Games in Tokyo, the 2022 Series will renew old rivalries while breaking new ground.

Fiji and New Zealand, who won men’s and women’s Olympic gold, will head into the Series full of confidence, as will South Africa and Great Britain, who excelled during the recent events in Canada.

It promises to be a thrilling six months full of twists and turns, and ahead of the first event next month we bring you up to speed with everything you need to know about the 2022 Series.

When will the Series take place?

It was confirmed this week that the 2022 Series will get underway with a combined men’s and women’s event in Dubai, behind closed doors, on 26-27 November, 2021.

The Sevens Stadium will then welcome fans for a second event on 3-4 December, and there will be 10 men’s and seven women’s rounds in total over six months.

Toulouse will play host to the final women’s event on 20-22 May, 2022, where the women’s Series champions will be crowned.

One week later, the men’s Series will come to its conclusion in London as the curtain comes down on the season at Twickenham.

Which teams will compete in the Series?

Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Fiji, France, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, USA and Wales are the 16 men’s core teams for the 2022 Series.

Great Britain will compete in the opening two rounds of the men’s and women’s Series in Dubai, as part of the standing agreement to play the calendar year 2021.

Thereafter, it will revert to national unions and England, Scotland and Wales will compete separately on the men’s Series, and England will take part on the women’s Series.

Alongside England, the core women’s teams after the Dubai events will be Australia, Brazil, Canada, Fiji, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Russia, Spain and USA.

Where will the Series be played?

Following the two combined events in Dubai, the Series will move to Europe where men’s and women’s rounds will be held in Malaga on 21-23 January and Seville the following week.

The men’s Series will then travel to North America for rounds in Vancouver on 26-27 February and Los Angeles on 5-6 March.

Hong Kong is scheduled to host a combined men’s and women’s event on 1-3 April, and the men will remain in Asia for an event in Singapore the next weekend.

A women’s standalone event will be held in Langford, Canada on 30 April-1 May before the final combined event of the Series takes place in Toulouse on 20-22 May.

The men’s Series champions will be crowned the following weekend as the final event of the 2022 Series is held in London on 28-29 May.

Will there be any new venues in 2022?

Yes, three new venues will host rounds during the 2022 Series — all of which will be combined men’s and women’s events.

First up is Malaga, which will welcome the teams in January. The Andalusian city, that sits on the Costa del Sol, previously hosted a men’s test match when Spain beat Uruguay 33-16 in 2016.

Sevilla will then host its first Series event on 28-30 January. Around 200km inland from Malaga, Andalusia’s capital previously staged seven Spain men’s 15s matches between 1985 and 2005.

The final women’s, and penultimate men’s, event will take place in Toulouse in May. A hotbed of French rugby, the Pink City will host five matches during Rugby World Cup 2023.

How will the Series champion be decided? 

Noting that Great Britain will compete in the opening two rounds, a points system will be developed that promotes fairness for all competing teams, including those who comprise Great Britain. 

This will also recognise situations where teams may not be able to participate in any rounds owing to COVID-19.

Who won the titles in 2021?

South Africa were crowned men’s 2021 Series champions having won 12 matches out of 12 to secure the event titles in both Vancouver and Edmonton.

New Zealand were unable to play in those events in Canada due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, and the 2020 Series champions will hope to pick up in Dubai where they left off 19 months ago.

Great Britain dominated the Fast Four tournaments in Vancouver and Edmonton, remaining unbeaten across the two events to win both.

Like their male counterparts, New Zealand’s Black Ferns Sevens will hope to defend the crown they claimed in 2020 when the team won four of five events.