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Rio 2016: What to expect from rugby sevens

The Rio Olympics will have two new sports that didn't feature at London 2012: golf, returning to the Games after a 112-year hiatus and bereft of some of its biggest names, and rugby sevens. The former will swing into action under a cloud of pessimism but sevens could be a leading light, adding excitement and colour as a whole new audience is exposed to the game. Not sure what to expect? Here's a handy guide:

What is sevens?

USA Sevens head coach Mike Friday has this question nailed:

"Sevens is a highly skilled, fast moving, high impact attacking team ball game of seven versus seven on a full-size pitch," he said. "It is a game played at high speed, has 'one on one' big tackles, footwork and agility aplenty.

"The complexities of the set piece laws within the laws of rugby have been removed making it an easy introduction to the new supporter experiencing the game for the first time as they look to understand and enjoy the collisions, ball skills and spatial manipulation to control the ball and pitch."

What happens during a match?

• Two teams, consisting of seven players each, seek to score a try (5 points) and then add the conversion (2 points) via a drop-kick.

• Each half lasts seven minutes with the match ending when the ball goes out of play or a team scores. This is extended to 10 minutes each way in the final.

• The teams are usually made up of two or three forwards (two props and a hooker who form the front-row in a scrum) and four backs (scrum-half, fly-half, centre and winger/fullback).

• Infringements can lead to a yellow card which sees the offending player sin-binned for two minutes.

What terms do I need know?

Try: A team is awarded 5 points when the ball is grounded by a player across the opposition's try line.

Conversion: The team which scores a try then has the opportunity to add a further 2 points by kicking the ball between the posts from a spot in line with the try mark.

Drop-goal: The ball is dropped to the floor by the player and then kicked towards the posts.

Knock-on: The ball has to be passed backwards for the team to move forward. When a player spills the ball forward, the game is restarted by a scrum to the opposing team.

Scrum: The method for restarting the game after a knock-on. The two groups of forwards pack down, three on three, to compete for the ball, which is put into the middle of the two sets of players.

Lineout: When the ball goes over the touchline, the game is restarted by the ball being thrown back onto the field; both teams line up towards the infield either side of the hooker throwing the ball in.

Where and when will the tournament be held at Rio 2016?

Where: Deodoro Stadium

When: The women's sevens is scheduled to be played across Aug. 6-8 and the men's Aug. 9-11.

What are the groups?

Men's sevens

Pool A: Fiji, USA, Argentina, Brazil

Pool B: South Africa, Australia, France, Spain

Pool C: New Zealand, Great Britain, Kenya, Japan

Women's sevens:

Pool A: Australia, USA, Fiji, Colombia

Pool B: New Zealand, France, Spain, Kenya

Pool C: Canada, Great Britain, Brazil, Japan

How did they qualify?

For the men's event, Brazil qualified as hosts while Fiji, Great Britain, New Zealand and South Africa booked their places at Rio by finishing in the top four of the annual World Sevens Series. Argentina, USA, France, Japan, Australia and Kenya secured their spots by winning their regional qualifying tournaments and Spain were the final team to book their place in Rio by winning the last qualifying tournament in June.

For the women's event, Brazil qualified as hosts while top-four finishes in the World Series booked spots for Australia, Canada, Great Britain and New Zealand. The regional champions were Columbia, USA, France, Kenya, Fiji and Japan while Spain won the final qualifying tournament in Ireland.

Who are the favourites?

Fiji are expected to rule on the men's side and headed to Rio as favourites after winning the 2016 World Sevens Series. But they will face fierce competition from the USA, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain. Kenya will also have aspirations of a gold medal after winning their first leg on last season's Sevens Series.

On the women's side, Australia are the favourites after dominating the recent Sevens Series but Fiji, New Zealand, Canada and Great Britain will all be hot on their heels.