1. Seven players per side
The name of sport is a pretty good indicator of how many players you can have on a team. The size of the field remains the same though, and this is why sevens matches are so exciting to watch – there is more emphasis on running, passing, and crafty footwork, making each game much more explosive.
2. Look out for those quick kicks!
Scoring in sevens is called a ‘try’ and is worth 5 points. To secure a try, a player touches the ball on the ground in their opponent’s dead ball area behind the goal. But it is not over after that! Every try earns a conversion kick, which must be taken within 30 seconds as a drop goal rather than a place kick.
3. Even the yellow card penalties are quicker
Penalties are often given when players try to slow down play or compete for the ball illegally. To keep to the format, players receiving an infraction, or yellow card, only sit on the sidelines for two minutes rather than the usual 10.
4. The clock keeps the game exciting
Sevens matches only run for a short time. Unlike other forms of rugby, which can sometimes take more than 80 minutes for a game to finish, sevens matches last for only 14 minutes, with each half going on for seven minutes.
5. Reserves are limited to 5 and 5
Sevens is a high-energy game and players tire out quickly. Each team is only allowed 5 reserves per game, and they are permitted to make five substitutions. Unlike rugby union, a player can re-enter the match after he or she has been subbed out.
6. Bare bones scrums
When the ball moves forward illegally, play stops and a scrum is formed. We have all seen huge scrums during regular rugby games, where a large group of players interlock their bodies to fight for the ball. In sevens matches, these tests of will are limited to three players per side.
7. It is a party, so have fun!
Perhaps the important rule of all – unlike the traditional home and away format that governs most rugby matches, the sevens game is often played in festival-like, knock-out, and fun-filled competitions. Rugby sevens is as much about having a good time and socialising as it is about tries and scrums.
Getting excited? If you have not done so already, you can purchase tickets for the upcoming Safari Sevens which is taking place from 9th to 11th November. Now that you know the rules, you will definitely enjoy the action put on by the participating teams.