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The rules of rugby sevens


Rugby sevens is a cut down version of rugby union, played with seven players rather than the usual 15. As the size of the field is not reduced, the extra available space usually leads to frantic high-scoring affairs over the course of a game's 14 minute duration.

While fundamentally being the same as its big brother, rugby sevens dispenses with much of the brute force and concentrates on fast breaks and generally a score every three minutes on average.


Points can be scored in the following ways:

A try - the ball is carried over the scoring line and touched down to score five points.

A conversion - an attempt to kick the ball between the upright posts after a try to add an extra two points.

A penalty - if an offence is committed within kicking range, the team with the ball may opt to attempt to kick the ball between the uprights for three points.

A drop goal - an attempt to kick the ball through the uprights in general play, the ball must be dropped to the ground and kicked as its point touches the field with a successful kick bringing three points.

The ball progresses up the field carried by the team in possession and can be passed backwards to supporting players. If a passed ball travels forwards or is dropped and knocked forward (knock-on) during this advance the ball is brought back into play by the defending team via a scrum.


A scrum is formed by the three forwards of each team binding together, interlocking heads and pushing. The scrum-half then 'feeds' the scrum in between the two sets of forwards and the hooker from both sides (the centre forward) attempts to strike it back towards his team-mates to win the ball.


When the ball travels out of bounds along the touchline it is brought back into play via a lineout. Two, occasionally three, players from each team form parallel lines while a member of the team that didn't put the ball out throws it back in between them.

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