Rugby sevens at the Rio 2016 Olympics: All you need to know

Rugby Sevens
Olympic Games on the BBC
Venue: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Dates: 5-21 August Time in Rio: BST -4
Coverage: Watch on BBC One, BBC Four, Red Button and up to 24 HD video streams on mobile, desktop and connected TVs, plus follow on Radio 5 live and via live text commentary.

How does it work?

It's an Olympic debut for this small-sided version of the 15-a-side game with - you guessed it - seven players per team.

There are 12 teams each in the men's and women's tournaments, split into three pools. The top two in each pool, plus the two best third-placed teams, qualify for the quarter-finals. Matches are two seven-minute halves, with the scoring system identical to 15-a-side rugby union.

Players must pass the ball backwards using their hands, though a kick can travel forward, and the objective is to outscore your opponents to win the game. Five points are awarded for a try, and three each for a penalty or a drop goal.

Though this is the first time sevens has appeared at an Olympics, rugby union featured regularly at the Games until 1924.

Who are the favourites?

Fiji's men won this year's World Series and their first Olympic medal could be gold. Their coach is Englishman Ben Ryan.

Australia won the women's World Series at a relative canter. New Zealand's men's and women's teams both won the last World Cup in 2013. South Africa's men surprised New Zealand to win 2014 Commonwealth gold.

What about the British prospects?

Britain's men's and women's teams are both seeded fourth. The World Series results of the respective England teams provide the best form indicator, as their players make up the bulk of the squads.

The men rested senior players at various points in the World Series and ended eighth. The women were fourth, with one victory and two third-place finishes in the five-round series.

When is it on?

Sevens will take place in the first week of the Olympics, from 6-11 August.

I didn't know that...

With the best English and Welsh players unavailable, Britain's 1908 Olympic silver medal was actually won by Cornwall, selected to represent the country having won the English County Championship.

Previous British medallists

Two silvers, in 1900 and 1908.

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