Competition Rules, Format, and Guidelines

scores & brackets

Code of Conduct

All participants, volunteers, match officials and spectators are expected to familiarize themselves with and follow the Personal Code of Conduct. Breaching the Personal Code of Conduct may lead to removal from event at the discretion of the event organizers as determined on a case-by-case basis.

Team Check In

Team representatives must check in at the scorer’s table at least 60 minutes before their first scheduled match.

Eligibility & Roster

Roster size — Teams must limit their rosters to 15 players except in the case of for USA Rugby Qualifier matches which have a roster size of only 12. Note that the roster size does not affect the total substitutions in any one match (see below).

Liability Waiver — Each team must give a roster/waiver form to the tournament director before starting play. Players may also be required to give an active membership number from USA Rugby or a similar national governing body.

One player. One team. One Division. — A player may only play for one team in one division. Any team that plays an individual that is not on the team roster or has played for any other team at the event will forfeit the match.

Seniors Brackets — Players in any “seniors” division must meet the minimum age and weight limits for that bracket (35+, 45+, etc…).

High School/U19 Players — High School teams may not roster players aged 19 years and above. In addition, players with college rugby experience are not eligible for a High School team.

Red Cards — A player sent off with a red card for any reason will be considered OUT of the tournament and not permitted to take part for the rest of the event (see all Disciplinary Guidelines below).


As of June 18, 2016 and following World Rugby Sevens Law Variation 3.4, a team may substitute the same player more than once as long as no more than 5 substitutions are made in total in any one game.

Match Number and Duration

Three (3) matches will be scheduled for each team in the tournament regardless of division. Unforeseen forfeits* may affect the number of matches actually played by each team.

Matches will be played every 20 minutes (i.e. 8:00, 8:20, 8:40, etc…) and will consist of two, 7-minute halves and a 2-minute half-time.

*Any team playing less than three matches due to forfeits should contact the event organizers for a pro-rated refund. 

Team Forfeits

Teams more than 2 minutes late for a scheduled match will forfeit that match.

Competition Format

To provide appropriate competition for all participants, the tournament is organized into divisions based on age, gender and skill-level.

Teams in each division are assigned to pools that will compete in Seeding Rounds (a.k.a. “Pool Play”; round-robin format). Each team will play 3 matches in the Seeding Round (barring unforeseen forfeits) in an attempt to earn advancement to the Playoff Round.

The format of the Seeding Round and advancement to the Playoff Rounds is based on the total number of teams in each division and will be displayed on-site during the event.

Semi-final, championship, and consolation (3rd place) matches will decide first, second, and third place in each division at the discretion of the event organizers.

Ranking at the conclusion of the Seeding Round

Teams are awarded the following points after each match in the Seeding Round:

  • Win — 3 match points
  • Draw — 1 match point
  • Loss — 0 match points

Bonus match points are not awarded.

At the conclusion of a divisional Seeding Round, the teams in each pool are ranked one through four based on their cumulative match points, and identified respectively as winner, runner up, third and fourth. For example, here are the results for a typical 16-team division with four pools of 4 teams:

Sample division & pool results for a 16-team division.

In the event that the match points within a pool for two or more teams are level at the end of the Seeding Round, the following tie-breakers will be used to rank the teams:

  1. Best head to head record
  2. Highest cumulative points scored for among the pool matches
  3. Highest points differential (cumulative points scored for less the cumulative points scored against) among the pool matches
  4. Coin Toss

Playoff Rounds

Semi-final, championship, and consolation (3rd place) matches (where appropriate) will decide first, second, and third place in each division at the discretion of the event organizers.

Four teams from each Division advance to the Playoff Rounds. These teams will be selected in the following order until four teams are selected:

  • Winners of a divisional pool
  • Runner-up in a divisional pool
  • Third in a divisional pool
  • Fourth in a divisional pool

In the event that multiple teams are eligible for advancement, the following tie-breakers will be used to select the teams:

  1. Highest cumulative points scored for among the pool matches
  2. Highest points differential (cumulative points scored for less the cumulative points scored against) among the pool matches
  3. Coin Toss

Sudden Death Playoffs

Matches may not end in a draw in the Playoff Rounds. In case of a drawn match at the end of regulation time a ‘sudden death’ overtime will determine the winner. Sudden death periods will be 5 minutes in duration with a 1-minute break. These periods will continue until a team scores to win the match.

Disciplinary Guidelines

The following guidelines will be used for disciplinary issues:

  • Yellow cards will last for 2 minutes.
  • A player sent off (red card) during any match is ineligible for the remainder of the tournament.
  • Two yellow cards in a single match is a red card.

Qualifier Division (when appropriate)

When the Lakefront 7s has been selected as a USA Rugby National Qualifier event, results will be forwarded to Midwest RFU following the competition who will assign points to the top-placed teams as appropriate. The format and eligibility for the Qualifier may differ from above and all Qualifier matches will be governed by Midwest guidelines.

Frequently Asked Questions


Do players or teams need an active CIPP/membership with USA Rugby?

No. The Lakefront 7s festival is not a sanctioned USA Rugby event (here’s why). Members of USA Rugby will not receive membership benefits such as secondary medical insurance for incidents that occur at the Lakefront 7s festival.

What are my transport/parking options getting to the event?

Parking at the event is $5. Shuttle busses are not available.

What can/can’t I bring to the event?

Pets and weapons are not allowed. Professional photographers and videographers require accreditation.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

No. Teams should arrive at the check-in table, present your Team Name and sign the liability waiver.

What is the refund policy?

A full refund for team registrations will be provided if you notify us of your cancellation 30 days before the day of the tournament. After this time, refunds will not be provided. Full details on refunds are also available.

Do you accept credit cards for concessions and merchandise?


Are ATMs available on site to withdraw cash?


Can I register the day of the event?


How many fields are at the venue?

A lot. Please refer to the venue page for a detailed map.

How many players can each side have?

15 for most teams except USA Rugby qualifying matches which can only have 12 (see also the full competition rules).

Can I just show up and play for any team?

Yes, under limited circumstances. (A) You must include your name and sign the team’s liability waiver, and (B) you must only play for one team on the day of the event.

Why is your event so formal?

With 150+ matches played every year, organization, communication, and on-time execution are paramount. To ensure a smooth event, we have strict policies on registration, kickoff times, scheduling, etc. We believe this also results in a more consistent and enjoyable experience for all participants.