Traditionally, sevens was considered a bit of fun to wind down the season. Nowadays, however, it is seen as an extension to the season with more and more sevens activities taking place. 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.
It truly is a global sport with a huge worldwide following, and as such, will be making its debut in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
- Seven-a-side contact rugby
- Three-man scrums (instead of eight)
- Tournaments generally held in the summer months
- Seven-minute halves, one-minute half-time
- Recognised at international level
The key factor in sevens is that, as the name cleverly suggests, there are only seven players in each team. This means more ground for each person to cover, but also more possession of the ball for each player.
There are just three people in a scrum and two or three in a lineout, whereas in the full game there can be up to eight players in each.
As a result, technical offences are less common and play is faster and freer flowing. In addition, set pieces are a lot simpler to understand, which is great if you can’t get your head around all those scrum laws!
With fewer players on the pitch, there is plenty of space for individuals to show off their skills. It is a game that really exploits the basics of rugby – running, passing, tackling and decision-making. To be successful you need speed, skill and stamina.
Speed and stamina the key
Speed is probably the greatest asset in becoming a star on the sevens scene, but you cannot rely on individual flair. Teams have fewer players to cover the pitch, so it is important that everybody works together in unison.
The aim is to create as much space as possible for your team-mates and to outmanoeuvre opposition defenders using nifty footwork, such as a swerve or a sidestep.
It is important to keep possession, so you have to look after the ball well. That means working hard in the contact area. If you lose the ball in the tackle or if you miss a tackle, it will probably mean a try for the opposition.
You cannot rely on other people to have it covered as they might in the 15-man game. There really is no place to hide in sevens!