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2018 in figures: Part 2 - International Sevens

In the the second of our two articles we look back on 2018 from a statistical point of view, this time looking at with international* sevens.

​2018 was World Cup year and New Zealand - with a 96% record over the whole year - were the winners.

The growth of sevens continued in 2018 with more nations (99) playing sevens rugby during the year than ever before, playing a total of 729 internationals* (more than for every year other than 2015), including six nations making their debut – Bolivia, Brunei, Lebanon, Nauru, Qatar and Syria – the largest number of debutants in a single year since 2013.

Overall 138 countries have now fielded an international women’s sevens team since the first tournament in 1997.

Sevens is obviously centred around the four-year Olympic cycle, and in 2018 - two years away from the Games - it was notable that there were over 120 more games than in 2014. With most Olympic qualification tournaments taking place next year it appears very likely that 2019 will see a new high in the number of internationals, and probably teams.

Seven teams played fifty or more games in the year – with England (55 matches) the most active. France played 52 games, and Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Russia and Spain played 50, and - perhaps unsurprisingly - the top 12 most active sevens teams were the teams that played in the 2017/18 World Series.

This illustrates the biggest and perhaps most urgent problem faced by World Rugby when it comes to growing the number of competitive teams. Teams outside the World Series not only struggle to find opportunities to play against the top teams, they struggle to play a significant number of international games at all.

Only ten non-World Series teams managed to play 20 or more games in international tournaments in the year – Brazil and Wales (25), Hong Kong and Kazakhstan (24), Belgium (23), Kenya and Mexico (22), and Singapore, South Korea and Thailand (21). Major teams such as the Netherlands played only 16 competitive international games, South Africa only 15, and Scotland (who will be competing for a place in the World Series next year) just 12. Many teams attempt to make up for this by entering invitational events in tournaments such as Dubai, but such events are often of a variable and unpredictable quality, and perhaps of limited use when preparing for a life in the World Series.

Only Qatar – in their debut year – ended with a 100% record, but they only took part in one tournament. New Zealand, on the other hand, played the best in the world and lost just two of their 50 games – an astonishing performance that, perhaps, we all to easily take for granted.

The following table summarises all international results taking place in recognised tournaments in 2018. Obviously, the rankings are somewhat unrealistic as – apart from the World Series – most teams rarely play outside of their regions, but it is perhaps a guide for how good a 2018 each team had.

 

 

P*

W

D

L

F

A

%

1

Qatar

4

4

0

0

71

24

100.00%

2

New Zealand

50

48

0

2

1576

321

96.00%

3

Netherlands

16

14

0

2

587

120

87.50%

4

Denmark

6

5

0

1

162

19

83.33%

5

Croatia

6

5

0

1

153

31

83.33%

6

Malaysia

6

5

0

1

124

24

83.33%

7

Philippines

6

5

0

1

120

34

83.33%

8

Georgia

6

5

0

1

117

49

83.33%

9

Australia

50

40

0

10

1314

535

80.00%

10

Ukraine

12

9

0

3

343

115

75.00%

11

Trinidad & Tobago

6

4

1

1

198

32

75.00%

12

Dominican Republic

6

4

1

1

121

29

75.00%

13

Morocco

4

3

0

1

89

43

75.00%

14

St Lucia

4

3

0

1

71

32

75.00%

15

Colombia

17

12

1

4

381

201

73.53%

16

Tunisia

5

3

1

1

104

34

70.00%

17

France

52

36

0

16

1143

651

69.23%

18

Argentina

16

11

0

5

437

166

68.75%

19

Brazil

25

17

0

8

678

333

68.00%

20

India

6

4

0

2

164

37

66.67%

21

Guam

6

4

0

2

110

51

66.67%

22

Romania

12

8

0

4

221

168

66.67%

23

Turkey

6

4

0

2

94

82

66.67%

24

Laos

6

4

0

2

80

73

66.67%

25

Canada

44

29

0

15

971

705

65.91%

26

Japan

45

29

0

16

970

748

64.44%

27

Kenya

22

14

0

8

454

290

63.64%

28

Sweden

19

12

0

7

398

197

63.16%

29

Belgium

23

14

1

8

340

285

63.04%

30

Samoa

5

3

0

2

127

74

60.00%

31

Venezuela

5

3

0

2

75

54

60.00%

32

Andorra

5

3

0

2

70

68

60.00%

33

Sri Lanka

15

9

0

6

192

277

60.00%

34

Madagascar

7

4

0

3

121

113

57.14%

35

China

47

26

1

20

924

723

56.38%

36

Kazakhstan

24

13

1

10

533

263

56.25%

37

Switzerland

11

6

0

5

177

235

54.55%

38

Paraguay

12

6

1

5

250

207

54.17%

39

Russia

50

26

0

24

1054

764

52.00%

40

United States

39

20

0

19

800

718

51.28%

41

Hong Kong

24

12

0

12

450

356

50.00%

42

Bahamas

6

3

0

3

107

88

50.00%

43

Uzbekistan

6

3

0

3

72

60

50.00%

44

Réunion

2

1

0

1

33

31

50.00%

45

Bulgaria

6

3

0

3

94

112

50.00%

46

Botswana

5

2

1

2

42

78

50.00%

47

Italy

11

5

1

5

142

201

50.00%

48

Hungary

12

6

0

6

171

240

50.00%

49

Uganda

7

3

1

3

59

130

50.00%

50

Ireland

50

24

0

26

863

811

48.00%

51

Czechia

19

9

0

10

340

295

47.37%

52

England

55

25

1

29

1100

971

46.36%

53

Guyana

6

2

1

3

93

79

41.67%

54

Chile

6

2

1

3

70

115

41.67%

55

Scotland

12

5

0

7

186

276

41.67%

56

Fiji

47

19

0

28

832

882

40.43%

57

Cook Islands

5

2

0

3

68

69

40.00%

58

Zimbabwe

5

2

0

3

55

95

40.00%

59

Lithuania

5

2

0

3

43

84

40.00%

60

Luxembourg

5

2

0

3

39

82

40.00%

61

Wales

25

10

0

15

365

568

40.00%

62

Germany

18

7

0

11

180

319

38.89%

63

Thailand

21

8

0

13

258

371

38.10%

64

Israel

10

3

1

6

91

242

35.00%

65

Spain

50

17

1

32

552

932

35.00%

66

Lebanon

3

1

0

2

34

25

33.33%

67

Malta

6

2

0

4

67

117

33.33%

68

Peru

12

4

0

8

152

214

33.33%

69

Moldova

6

2

0

4

43

108

33.33%

70

South Africa

15

5

0

10

210

300

33.33%

71

Norway

12

4

0

8

122

286

33.33%

72

Mexico

22

7

0

15

228

617

31.82%

73

Zambia

5

1

1

3

58

99

30.00%

74

Poland

14

4

0

10

156

275

28.57%

75

Finland

18

5

0

13

173

314

27.78%

76

Papua New Guinea

18

4

0

14

173

501

22.22%

77

Uruguay

12

2

1

9

108

338

20.83%

78

Senegal

5

1

0

4

32

122

20.00%

79

Barbados

5

1

0

4

58

159

20.00%

80

Pakistan

5

1

0

4

20

139

20.00%

81

New Caledonia

5

1

0

4

38

180

20.00%

82

Singapore

21

4

0

17

144

576

19.05%

83

Austria

16

3

0

13

112

395

18.75%

84

Slovakia

6

1

0

5

65

86

16.67%

85

Bermuda

6

1

0

5

59

171

16.67%

86

Nepal

6

1

0

5

32

145

16.67%

87

Indonesia

12

2

0

10

74

381

16.67%

88

Guatemala

7

1

0

6

49

210

14.29%

89

Costa Rica

7

1

0

6

15

229

14.29%

90

Portugal

10

1

0

9

46

290

10.00%

91

South Korea

21

2

0

19

158

599

9.52%

92

Latvia

10

0

1

9

70

328

5.00%

93

Panama

1

0

0

1

14

27

0.00%

94

Saint Lucia

2

0

0

2

5

27

0.00%

95

Syria

3

0

0

3

12

68

0.00%

96

Mauritius

6

0

0

6

44

134

0.00%

97

Slovenia

5

0

0

5

32

141

0.00%

98

Brunei

5

0

0

5

15

148

0.00%

99

Curaçao

5

0

0

5

0

309

0.00%

*What is an “international sevens” is even less well defined as “what is a test match”. For the purpose of this review we only include games between national sides, playing as the national team, against other national teams in publicly-reported international tournaments. The games we have included can be found in the Scrumqueens international sevens database

99 teams played international sevens in 2018 - a new record

There were over 120 more internationals played in 2018 than there were at the same point in the Olympic cycle four years ago

England were the most active international sevens team in 2018, playing 55 games.

Even the most active teams outside of the World Series only played half as many games in 2018 as most teams inside the Series