Sherman Pride Rugby 101
Rugby sevens is a variant of rugby union in which teams are made up of seven players, instead of the usual 15, with shorter matches. Rugby sevens is administered by the International Rugby Board (IRB), the body responsible for rugby union worldwide. The game is popular at all levels, with amateur and club tournaments generally held in the summer months. Sevens is one of the most well distributed forms of rugby, and is popular in parts of Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas, and especially in the South Pacific.
Notable international competitions include the IRB Sevens World Series and the Rugby World Cup Sevens. Rugby sevens is also played at some multi-sport events such as the Commonwealth Games, taking place four times (1998 – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2002 – Manchester, England, 2006 – Melbourne, Australia, and 2010 – Delhi, India), each time the gold medal being won by New Zealand.
Rugby sevens is now recognized as an Olympic sport and will make its debut in the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Rugby sevens is sanctioned by the IRB, and is played under substantially the same laws and on a field of the same dimensions as the 15-player game. While a normal rugby union match lasts at least 80 minutes, a normal sevens match consists of two halves of seven minutes with a one-minute half-time break. The final of a competition can be played over two halves of ten minutes each, with a half-time break of two minutes. (In the IRB Sevens World Series, only the Cup final, which determines the overall winner of an event, is played with 10-minute halves; all finals for lower-level trophies are played with 7-minute halves.) This allows rugby tournaments to be completed in a day or a weekend. However, sevens scores are generally comparable to union scores; scoring occurs much more frequently in sevens, since the defenders are more spaced out.
Many sevens tournaments have a competition for a cup, a plate, a bowl, and a shield, allowing many teams of different standards to avoid leaving empty handed.
The Hong Kong Sevens tournament has been especially important in popularising the game in Asia, and rugby sevens has been important as a form of international rugby "evangelism", hence is perhaps the most widely played form of the game, with tournaments in places as far apart as Bogota and Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Kenya, Singapore and Scandinavia, as well as the countries in which rugby union is well known.
Sevens is played on a standard rugby union playing field as defined in the International Rugby Board's handbook. The field measures up to 100 metres (330 ft) long and 70 metres (230 ft) wide. On each goal line are H-shaped goal posts.
Teams and positions
Teams are composed of three forwards, one scrum half and three backs.
Scrums are composed of just three players from each team. Because of the speedy nature of the game, good sevens players are often backs or loose forwards in fifteens rugby.
Rugby sevens positions
Rugby Sevens Positions are numbered as follows:
Only 5 subs may be brought to a game, and only 3 subs made per game. (e.g. #1-7 start the game; #8 prop, #11 scrum-half, and #13 center can be substituted during course of the game, but only a total of five active substitutes may be on the bench)
Variations to the Laws of the Game
A sevens scrum
There are several variations in laws which apply to Rugby Sevens, primarily to speed up the game and to account for the reduced number of players. The main changes can be summarised as follows:
- Seven players per team on field (instead of 15).
- Five substitutes, with only three interchanges (instead of 7 and 7).
- Seven minute halves, though ten minute halves are allowed in the final of a competition (instead of forty minute halves).
- One minute half-time, two minutes in finals (instead of ten minutes).
- Matches drawn after regulation are continued into Extra Time, in 5-minute periods.
- All conversion attempts must be drop-kicked (instead of having the option to place-kick).
- Conversions must be taken within 40 seconds of scoring a try (instead of 60 seconds).
- Three player scrums (instead of eight players).
- Kick-offs: in sevens, the team which has just scored kicks off, rather than the conceding team, as in fifteen-a-side.
- Yellow cards net a 2-minute suspension (instead of 10 minutes).
- Suspensions are more severe in Sevens than in Fifteens. The team plays a man down for 1/7 of the match instead of 1/8, and losing 1 man out of 7 opens up more space than 1 man out of 15.
- Referees decide on advantage quickly (where one play usually ends advantage, not true in fifteens).
In major competitions, there are additional officials present (in-goal touch judges) to judge success of kicks at goals and hence the game is not delayed waiting for touch judges to move into position to judge conversion attempts.