Rugby sevens is a variant
of rugby football in which only seven players per side feature.
Both rugby league and rugby union have sevens versions.
Rugby union sevens is sanctioned by the International Rugby Board
(IRB), and is played under substantially the same rules and on
a field of the same dimensions as the 15-player game.
While a normal rugby union match lasts upwards of 80 minutes,
a normal rugby sevens match lasts in the vicinity of 14 minutes
(allowing for injury time and so forth). Competition finals last
somewhat more than 20 minutes; each half in a competition final
is 10 minutes instead of the normal 7 minutes. This allows rugby
tournaments to be completed in a day or a weekend. However, sevens
scores are generally comparable to union scores; scoring occurs
with much greater regularity in sevens, owing to the fact that
the defenders are more spaced out than in rugby union.
The only major rule change from rugby union regarding events on
the field is that conversions must be drop goals.
Rugby sevens developed in Scotland in 1883 [ read more... ]. Owing
to the speed by which matches are resolved and the minimal personnel
requirements, there is hope that sevens will be accepted for Olympic
competition (it has been in the Commonwealth Games since 1998)
and spread amongst nations that are not traditional powers in rugby
One of the best known sevens competitions is the Hong Kong Sevens,
which now makes up part of the IRB World Series.
Hong Kong Sevens
Rugby league may also be played under seven-a-side rules, though
this is less common as an alternative when compared with Rugby
league nines (played on a 9-a-side basis). The game is substantially
the same as full rugby league, however scrums involve only three
players per team, and all kicks at goal must be made by drop-kicks.
The major tournament is the World Sevens, played prior to the start
of the National Rugby League season in Sydney.