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A Comprehensive Guide To Long Sevens Rugby: History, Rules, Strategies, And More

By admin Jun14,2024


Rugby sevens, often referred to as Sevens, is a fast-paced, high-energy variation of rugby union that has captured the hearts of fans worldwide. Unlike traditional rugby union, which features 15 players on each team, Sevens is played with just seven players per side. This format allows for more space on the field, leading to a game that is both thrilling and strategically demanding. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the history, rules, strategies, and cultural significance of long Sevens games, providing you with a deep understanding of this dynamic sport.

The Origins of Rugby Sevens

Rugby sevens originated in the Scottish Borders town of Melrose, where the first-ever Sevens tournament was played in 1883. The Melrose Sevens, as it is known, was created by Ned Haig, a local butcher, and rugby player, who sought to raise funds for his club. The format quickly gained popularity due to its fast-paced nature and has since become a staple in the calendar, with numerous tournaments held globally.

The Appeal of Sevens

The appeal of Sevens lies in its simplicity and excitement. With only seven players on each side and matches lasting just 14 minutes (two halves of seven minutes each), the game is incredibly fast-paced and requires quick thinking and athleticism. This shorter format means that tournaments can be played over a single weekend, making it a perfect fit for both players and spectators.

Rules of Rugby Sevens

While Sevens follows many of the same rules as traditional union, there are several key differences that set it apart:

  1. Number of Players: Each team consists of seven players, with three forwards and four backs.
  1. Match Duration: Matches are much shorter, typically lasting 14 minutes (7-minute halves) with a 2-minute halftime break. In knockout stages or finals, the halves may be extended to 10 minutes each.
  1. Scoring: The scoring system remains the same as in union, with tries worth 5 points, conversions worth 2 points, and penalty and drop goals worth 3 points.
  1. Scrums and Lineouts: Scrums in Sevens involve three players from each team, compared to eight in traditional. Lineouts also have fewer players, usually involving just two or three jumpers.
  1. Kickoffs: The team that scores kicks off to the opposition, a rule that encourages continuous play and scoring opportunities.

Strategies in Sevens

The open nature of Sevens demands unique strategies and tactics. Here are some key strategic elements:

  1. Speed and Agility: With more space on the field, speed and agility are paramount. Players must be quick on their feet, capable of making rapid direction changes, and able to exploit gaps in the defense.
  1. Ball Handling and Passing: Accurate and quick passing is crucial in Sevens. Players often use looping passes and offloads to keep the ball moving and outmaneuver the opposition.
  1. Fitness and Stamina: The fast pace of Sevens requires exceptional fitness levels. Players must be able to maintain high-intensity effort throughout the match, with minimal rest periods.
  1. Support Play: Effective support play is essential. Players need to be aware of their teammates’ positions and provide options for offloads or quick passes to maintain the momentum of the attack.
  1. Defensive Organization: Despite the open nature of the game, solid defensive organization is vital. Teams often employ a “sweeper” system, where one player stays back to cover potential breakaways.

Notable Sevens Tournaments


Several high-profile Sevens tournaments have become highlights of the rugby calendar, attracting top teams and enthusiastic fans from around the world. Some of the most notable tournaments include:

  1. Hong Kong Sevens: One of the most prestigious and popular Sevens tournaments, the Hong Kong Sevens is known for its electrifying atmosphere and high-quality competition.
  1. Dubai Sevens: Held annually in Dubai, this tournament is part of the World Rugby Sevens Series and features teams from around the globe.
  1. Rugby World Cup Sevens: This tournament, held every four years, brings together the best Sevens teams in the world to compete for the ultimate prize.
  1. Olympic Games: Rugby Sevens made its Olympic debut at the Rio 2016 Games and has since become a key part of the Olympic program, showcasing the sport to a global audience.

The Global Impact of Rugby Sevens

Rugby sevens has grown significantly in popularity over the past few decades, thanks in part to its inclusion in the Olympic Games and the expansion of the World Rugby Sevens Series. This global circuit features tournaments in cities across six continents, bringing the sport to new audiences and promoting its growth.

The Role of Women in Sevens

Women’s rugby sevens has also seen remarkable growth, with increasing participation and visibility. The Women’s World Rugby Sevens Series mirrors the men’s series, and the inclusion of women’s Sevens in the Olympic Games has further boosted its profile. Women’s tournaments, such as the Dubai Sevens and the Sydney Sevens, attract top teams and showcase the skill and athleticism of female players.

Cultural Significance

Rugby sevens has a unique cultural significance in many countries, particularly in the Pacific Islands. Nations like Fiji and Samoa have embraced Sevens as a national sport, with Fiji’s gold medal win at the 2016 Rio Olympics being a source of immense pride and celebration. The sport’s fast pace and emphasis on skill and flair resonate with the cultural values of these nations.

The Future of Rugby Sevens

The future of rugby sevens looks bright, with continued growth and expansion on the horizon. The sport’s inclusion in the Olympic Games has opened up new opportunities for funding and development, while the World Rugby Sevens Series continues to attract top talent and large audiences. Additionally, initiatives to promote youth participation and grassroots development are helping to ensure the sport’s long-term success.

How to Get Involved in Rugby Sevens

For those interested in getting involved in rugby sevens, there are several ways to do so:

  1. Playing: Many rugby clubs offer Sevens programs for players of all ages and skill levels. Joining a local club is a great way to learn the game, improve your skills, and meet new people.
  2. Coaching: If you have a passion for the game and experience in rugby, consider becoming a coach. Coaching Sevens can be a rewarding way to share your knowledge and help develop the next generation of players.
  1. Officiating: Refereeing Sevens matches requires a deep understanding of the rules and a keen eye for the fast-paced action. Training programs are available for those interested in becoming match officials.
  1. Supporting: If playing or coaching isn’t for you, simply supporting your local Sevens teams by attending matches and cheering them on can make a big difference. The vibrant atmosphere of Sevens tournaments is something every rugby fan should experience.


Rugby sevens is a thrilling and dynamic sport that offers a unique blend of speed, skill, and strategy. Its growing popularity around the world is a testament to its appeal, and its inclusion in major events like the Olympic Games has elevated its profile even further. Whether you’re a seasoned rugby fan or new to the sport, Sevens has something to offer. From its rich history and cultural significance to its fast-paced action and strategic depth, rugby sevens is a game that continues to captivate and inspire. So, get involved, watch a match, or pick up a ball and experience the excitement of Sevens for yourself.

By admin

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