Not held in other editions
| Event type

Rugby Sevens, Men

Date9 – 11 August 2016
LocationEstádio de Deodoro, Parque Olímpico de Deodoro, Deodoro, Rio de Janeiro
Participants151 from 12 countries
FormatRound-robin pools advance teams to single-elimination tournament of eight teams.

There were no real surprises amongst the qualifiers for the inaugural Olympic rugby sevens tournament until the final qualifying tournament when Samoa, who had recently won one of the World Series events, were upset by Spain. The format used saw 12 teams sorted into three pools of four teams. The top two teams in each pool were joined in the quarter-finals by the two third place teams with the best records.

Group A was the most straightforward with tournament favourites Fiji joined in qualifying for the knockout stages by Argentina who held out to defeat the USA with a late score. Group B saw three teams finish level on 7 points but South Africa’s two blowout wins over France and Spain saw them qualify at the top of the pile with the French in the other automatic qualifying position. Australia went through as best third place team.

All this was overshadowed by the remarkable events that occurred in Group C and, in particular, the game between rank outsiders Japan and New Zealand, who were the reigning world champions. Japan scored early but when the New Zealanders took the lead early in the second half it seemed that normality had been restored. New Zealand, however, missed the conversion after the second try and a triple substitution reinvigorated Japan, with one of the substitutes scoring the equalizing try. The conversion from Japan was successful and they held out for an implausible victory. The New Zealanders, by now suffering from a spate of injuries, were also defeated by Great Britain and qualified for the quarter final only on the narrowest tie-breaker ahead of the USA.

The pattern of results in the group phases decreed that the pairing that seemed the most likely final, New Zealand versus Fiji, was instead to be played as the first of the quarter-finals. The depleted New Zealanders fought bravely but the Fijians ran out winners by 12 to 7. Japan caused another upset by defeating France, South Africa revenged their group stage defeat to Australia and Great Britain also progressed after their game with Argentina remained scoreless until a British try in the fifth minute of sudden death extra time.

The two semi-finals were contrasting affairs. Fiji overcame Japan by 20 to 5 scoring 4 tries with only a solitary Japanese reply but the second semi-final was a great deal closer. South Africa scored an early unconverted try, Great Britain replied but importantly their conversion was good and they held off desperate pressure to win 7-5 and book a place in the final.

The final would then be a clash between Great Britain, the country which had pioneered the sevens version of the sport, and Fiji, who had taken this form of the game more closely to their hearts than any other. All pretence that this was to be an equal struggle disappeared in the early stages when the Fijians cut loose with series after series of powerful running and intricate passing. By halftime the Pacific islanders had 29 unanswered points on the board and were probably already ordering gold polish. The scoring slowed after the break but Fiji ran out comprehensive winners by 43-7. This was Fiji’s first ever Olympic medal after 64 years of competition and was greeted with a public holiday on their home islands.The Japanese fairy-tale, meanwhile, did not have a happy ending as they were crushed in the bronze medal game by South Africa

American Carlin Isles took advantage of weaker competition in the consolation bracket to finish as the tournament’s top try scorer whilst Terry Bouhraoua of France scored more points than any other player. While most of the players either took a well-deserved rest after the tournament or returned to fifteen a side competition America’s Nate Ebner returned to his American football career with the New England Patriots and, within a month, was playing in his team’s season opening game.

2Great BritainGBR5011592–93Silver
3South AfricaRSA40212136–38Bronze
5New ZealandNZL3039107–85
9United StatesUSA3029107–65

Preliminary Round (9 – 10 August 2016)

Round-robin pools.

Group A (9 – 10 August 2016)


Match #1 1 09 Aug 13:00ARG 17 – 14USA 2
Match #2 09 Aug 13:30FIJ 40 – 12BRA
Match #3 09 Aug 18:00USA 26 – 0BRA
Match #4 09 Aug 18:30FIJ 21 – 14ARG
Match #5 10 Aug 13:00ARG 31 – 0BRA
Match #6 10 Aug 13:30FIJ 24 – 19USA

Group B (9 – 10 August 2016)


Match #1 09 Aug 11:00FRA 31 – 14AUS
Match #2 09 Aug 11:30RSA 24 – 0ESP
Match #3 09 Aug 16:00AUS 26 – 12ESP
Match #4 09 Aug 16:30RSA 26 – 0FRA
Match #5 10 Aug 11:00FRA 26 – 5ESP
Match #6 10 Aug 11:30AUS 12 – 5RSA

Group C (9 – 10 August 2016)


Match #1 09 Aug 12:00GBR 31 – 7KEN
Match #2 09 Aug 12:30JPN 14 – 12NZL
Match #3 09 Aug 17:00GBR 21 – 19JPN
Match #4 3 09 Aug 17:30NZL 428 – 5KEN
Match #5 10 Aug 12:00JPN 31 – 7KEN
Match #6 10 Aug 12:30GBR 21 – 19NZL

Classification Round 9-12 (10 August 2016)

Classification matches for 9th to 12th place.

Match #1 10 Aug 16:00USA 24 – 12BRA
Match #2 10 Aug 16:30ESP 14 – 12KEN

Quarter-Finals (10 August 2016)

Winners of each match advanced to semi-finals.

Match #1 10 Aug 17:00FIJ 12 – 7NZL
Match #2 10 Aug 17:30JPN 12 – 7FRA
Match #3 10 Aug 18:00GBR 5 – 0
Match #4 10 Aug 18:30RSA 22 – 5AUS

Classification Round 5-8 (11 August 2016)

Classification matches for 5th to 8th place.

Match #1 11 Aug 13:30NZL 24 – 19FRA
Match #2 11 Aug 14:00ARG 26 – 21AUS

Semi-Finals (11 August 2016)

Winners of each match advanced to gold medal match.

Match #1 11 Aug 14:30FIJ 20 – 5JPN
Match #2 11 Aug 15:00GBR 7 – 5RSA

Final Round (11 August 2016)

Medal and placement round.

Match 1/2 11 Aug 19:00FIJ 43 – 7GBR
Match 3/4 11 Aug 18:30RSA 54 – 14JPN
Match 5/6 11 Aug 18:00NZL 17 – 14ARG
Match 7/8 11 Aug 17:30FRA 12 – 10AUS
Match 9/10 11 Aug 13:00USA 24 – 12ESP
Match 11/12 11 Aug 12:30KEN 24 – 0BRA


Conversions Made
Conversions Attempted
Penalty Goals
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Red Cards