World Rugby

World Rugby to review qualifier

Romanian referee Vlad Iordachescu had to be led away from Spanish players who were furious with the way he officiated their 18-10 defeat last month, which seemed to have ended their hopes of qualifying for the tournament in Japan next year.

Rugby Europe last week delayed a decision on the contentious encounter after Romania and Belgium were accused of fielding ineligible players during the Rugby Europe Championship.

Barrett scoops World Rugby's top prize again

The skilful fly-half joins All Blacks great Richie McCaw as the only player to have retained the award, while Barrett, McCaw and the great Dan Carter are the only three to have won the prize more than once.

Barrett enjoyed another stellar year in international rugby, helping New Zealand retain the Rugby Championship, while he was also a part of the side that drew a thrilling series with the British and Irish Lions 1-1.

Fiji 7s still searching for consistency

After the highs of winning in Hong Kong, Fiji were upset 24-19 by the United States in the Cup quarter finals in Singapore before series leaders South Africa prevailed 19-14 in their fifth place semi final encounter.

"We've just got to learn to be a little bit more consistent," said Baber.

"We came up against a good American side in the quarter final and they reacted far better than we did and in the South Africa game going down to six men hurt us badly.

South Africa still have "homework" to do ahead of Singapore

With teams still getting in their recovery training after the three tough days in Hong Kong, they've had time to look back on what was and what could have been.

Not least for USA captain Madison Hughes, who led his side to extra-time in the semi-finals against series leaders South Africa, before a mistake cost them the game.

“We were really disappointed, as they are a fantastic team," said Hughes.

Kenya out to defend crown in Singapore

It's difficult to fathom just how much natural talent Kenya's sevens players have.

They are not full time professional rugby players, with some working in agriculture, TV production, public relations and medicine to name but a few professions.

 It's a highly qualified team off the pitch and on the pitch Kenya reached a new pinnacle in 2016 when they won their first ever world series tournament in Singapore.

Fiji complete Hong Kong 7s three-peat

The Fijians dominated South Africa 22-0 in the final, helped by two tries from Kalione Nasoko.

Fiji has now won five of the last six tournaments in Hong Kong.

Captain Osea Kolinisau acknowledged the successful history but told World Rugby it didn't play a big part in their build-up this week.

"We weren't focusing on doing it three times," Kolinisau said.

"We said that we were going to take it as if we were searching for [our] first title in the series and I am glad that everybody was up to par and everybody did their job."

Doping concern in professional rugby

Fourteen out of 42 athletes banned by UK Anti-Doping the in the past two years are rugby players from England and Wales.

Martin Johnson who led England to World Cup victory in 2003 said there is good reason to be worried about the increasing use of banned substances.

"When i started playing did i think anyone around the international team was using drugs? no chance."

Johnson said drugs being more available on the internet and the lucrative professional era have been a major contributing factor in the increase.

England, France agree to tour Pacific in rugby calendar shake-up

From 2020, the current June international window will move to the first three weeks of July to allow Super Rugby to be completed prior to the start of the test programme.

There will also be a minimum of a 39 percent increase in matches between top and second-tier nations between 2020 and 2032, including a commitment from England and France to play in the Pacific.

NZ Rugby welcomes new international window

World Rugby has promised more tests between top and second-tier nations and announced changes to the timing of international windows in a new global calendar to run from 2020 to 2032.

The current June international window will move to the first three weeks of July to allow the Southern Hemisphere club championship, Super Rugby, to be completed prior to the matches.

New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew said the 2020-2032 international schedule secured a long-coveted July window.

Fiji 7s put focus on discipline

World Rugby has brought in a tougher approach to dangerous tackling this year, with zero tolerance for reckless or accidental tackles that make contact with a players head.

Fiji coach Gareth Baber said Fijian players have grown up tackling a certain way and it can take time to make adjustments.

He said yellow cards have proved costly for them in recent World Series tournaments and it's something they've worked hard to address for this weekend's event in Las Vegas.

"When you get in the heat of battle obviously you fall back on your habit," he said.