Well, I guess if you have got this far, you probably know quite a bit about the rules of rugby. But then again, you might not, and that’s no bad thing- as we should all be in the business of making sure that everyone knows how the game is played. It’s just more enjoyable to watch that way.
So apologies if you are reading this and you are knowledgeable about these kinds of things. You probably know your way around the rule book better than us. You can always skip the page.
For those of us that need a reminder every now and then, here is a very basic run down of the rules of rugby sevens. Only the salient points, mind- we don’t want to get too bogged down here.
The Long Game: 15s
Sevens is a variant of rugby union fifteens, of course. And the main rules you need to know are the following:
- You can only pass the ball backwards or laterally
- The aim is to move the ball down the field and score. Of course, you have to get past your opponents first!
- You can only move the ball forward by running with it, or kicking it.
- If you knock a ball on with you arm, play is restarted with a scrum to the other side
- You score as follows: try (5), penalty (3), drop goal (3), conversion following a try (2)
- If a ball is kicked out of play, a throw-in is taken where the ball went into touch. The side that last touched the ball ocntest, the other side throw in.
- Tackles must be below the neck, you can’t push, use your shoulders, or trip with you feet. You can trip with your hands (a tap-tackle).
- Contesting the ball on the floor is called rucking.
- Contesting the ball on your feet is called mauling.
- Players may be sent off (with a red card) or sin-binned temporarily (yellow) for foul play.
The Short Game: 7s
Right, this is what we are really interested in: the rules of rugby sevens. Let’s run through the main differences:
- Each half is 7 minutes, except for finals which may be 10.
- Drawn matches go into extra tie, which run for 5 minutes a pop.
- All conversion attempts must be drop-kicked. This speeds up the play.
- Conversions must be kicked within 40 seconds of scoring a try
- Scrums have 3 players (instead of 8).
- In sevens restarts, the team which has just scored the try kicks off. It’s the other way round in 15s. (Possession is King in 7s)
- Players can be sin binned for 2 minutes (instead of 10) when they receive a yellow.
Well, that’s the basics. We haven’t gone into massive detail, as you wouldn’t have read it anyway. The best way to pick up the rules is to watch lots of games!