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The sport of rugby can trace its origins back to medieval times in a number of European countries, but it was between 1845 and 1848 that the modern rugby codes were established by pupils from a school in the English town of Rugby and the University of Cambridge. In 1871, the first national federation was formed, and in 1886, the International Rugby Board (now known as World Rugby) was set up.

Brief overview of the rules

Although over the years the sport of rugby has given rise to a raft of variants – including rugby league, beach rugby and flag rugby – the two main forms of the game remain 15-player rugby union and rugby sevens. All variants share the same basic rules for tackles, backward passes and scrums, which differ in accordance to the number of players on the pitch. Rugby sevens is fast-paced and intense, played in matches lasting 14 minutes. It is an exceptionally testing version of the sport, in which players make more sprints and score more tries than in rugby union. Points are scored in the same way as rugby union – 5 points for a try, 2 points for a conversion, and 3 points for a drop goal or a penalty.

Olympic history

The history of rugby at the Olympic Games stretches over several periods. Rugby union was first included when the Olympic Games were revived, and more recently the seven-player version has been favoured. In 1900, 1908, 1920 and 1924, a rugby union tournament appeared on the Olympic programme, won by France, Australasia (combing players from Australia and New Zealand), and twice by USA. Since the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, rugby made its grand return to the Olympic stage in the sevens format. The women’s tournament was won by New Zealand in 2021, while Fiji took gold in the men’s competition.

Events in 2024

Paris 2024’s rugby tournament will take place between the 24th and the 30th of July.

  • Rugby sevens tournament (women’s / men’s)

Venue in 2024

The rugby events will take place in the Stade de France.

International organisation

International federation : World Rugby

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