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What Is Sevens?

Argentina take advantage of a split defence in the 2009 London Sevens

Photo: Getty Images

Rugby sevens is a fast-paced, highly-skilled, stripped-down variant of rugby, with the emphasis on running rugby, fast handling and scoring tries.  With the set-pieces abbreviated, the game moves quickly from end-to-end, creating an entertaining spectacle.

The game is played on a full-size pitch, but with only seven players on each team, the game’s elusive runners have space to wreak havoc with side-steps, rapid running and killer lines.

A full list of the rugby sevens rule variations and the layout of HSBC World Sevens Series tournaments is available on the IRB website.

Grooming the future greats

Rugby sevens has taken on increased importance in the international game, and is often a great place to watch the future stars of test match rugby earn their stripes. Legendary rugby icons such as New Zealand wing Jonah Lomu and Australia’s record appearance holder George Gregan first pulled on their nations colours in a sevens tournament. 

James Rodwell of England hands off a Scottish player 

Photo: Matt Impey

Closer to home, Wales stars Lee Byrne and James Hook played sevens for Wales and England backs Ugo MonyeDavid Strettle and Tom Varndell all made significant contributions during previous HSBC World Sevens Series campaigns.

Learning the game

Rugby sevens is a great way to get involved in rugby, especially for those learning the game. Focussing on handling, support play, footwork the game imparts many of the skills rugby requires.

The RFU Leisure Rugby pages have information on how to start playing sevens and advice on how the RFU can help you run sevens events at your club.