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2023: 7s internationals highest since 2019

There were over 800 international sevens matches in 2023 taking the game back to the levels last seen in 2019

International sevens is firmly back to a level of popularity not seen since 2019. 817 sevens internationals were played in 2023, up by 23% compared to 2022 and 76% compared to 2021 Only 2019 saw more games played, when there were 840.

The number of teams playing have still not quite reached the pre-COVID peak of 102 in 2018 and 100 in 2019, but nonetheless 95 teams took the field during the year, including two who made their international debuts – Libya and the Wallis & Futuna Islands - becoming the 150th and 151st international sevens nations.

Much of the year was devoted to Olympic qualification. In the end New Zealand, Australia, Ireland and USA won through as the top four qualifiers through the 2023 World Series, joining the hosts France. They were later joined by Brazil, Canada, Great Britain, South Africa, Fiji and Japan as regional qualification tournament winners. The 12th place will be decided in a tournament next year.

Other major tournament winners were:

World Series: New Zealand
World Series Challenger: South Africa

African Sevens: South Africa
Arab Sevens: Tunisia
Asian Games: China
Asian Sevens: Japan
Asian Trophy: United Arab Emirates
Central American & Caribbean Games: Colombia
European Championship: France
European Trophy: Ukraine
European Conference: Switzerland
European Games: Great Britain
Games of Small States of Europe: Andorra
Indian Ocean Island Games: Madagascar
Oceania Sevens: Australia
Pacific Games: Fiji
Pan American Games: United States
Rugby Americas North Championship: Canada
SE Asia Sevens: Thailand
South American Sevens: Argentina

The teams:

The 95 teams to play international sevens in 2023 were:

Algeria, American Samoa, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivorie (Ivory Coast), Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, DR Congo, Egypt, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Great Britain, Guam, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Laos, Latvia, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nauru, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Réunion, Romania, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Wallis & Futuna, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Eighteen teams that played in 2022 did not play 2023:
* Africa: Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon and Lesotho, Namibia
* Asia: Indonesia, Nepal and Sri Lanka
* Europe: England, Scotland, Wales. Monaco and Russia).
* North & Central America: Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic and Guatemala),
* Oceania: Vanuatu.

In addition to the two debutants (Libya and the Wallis & Futuna Islands), 15 teams played in 2023 that did not play in 2022:
* Africa: Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivorie (Ivory Coast), Mayotte# and, Réunion#
* Asia: Iran, Jordan#, Laos#, Qatar, Syria and Uzbekistan#
* Europe: Ukraine
* Oceania: American Samoa# and Nauru#
* South America: Venezuela#
(# First games since before 2020).

Most active teams:

Seven teams played more than 50 games in 2023:

France: 60 games; Great Britain: 58; Fiji: 57; Japan: 57; Spain: 53; Ireland: 52; Brazil: 51

Needless to say that were all World Series teams. The busiest teams from outside the World Series were:

Colombia: 41 games; Hong Kong: 36; Poland: 35; Thailand: 33; China: 31; Belgium: 30. Czechia: and Papua New Guinea: 30.

Most successful teams:

Two teams had 100% records in 2023 – Switzerland and Ukraine – although they took part in just one and two tournaments respectively, playing six and twelve games. Argentina (83.3%), Andorra and the United Arab Emirates (80%) also dominated the two tournaments they took part in.

Of the teams that played in more than two tournaments the most successful were:

New Zealand – Played 48, Won 46 (95.83%)
China – Played 31, Won 25, Drawn 1 (79.37%)
Australia – Played 49, Won 37 (75.51%)
France – Played 60, Won 41, Drawn 1 (67.77%)
United States – Played 46, Won 31 (67.39%)
Belgium – Played 30, Won 19 (63.33%)
South Africa – Played 27, Won 17, Drawn 1 (61.82%)