Sevens Overview

There are several variations in laws which apply to Rugby Sevens primarily to speed up the game and to account for the reduced number of players.

The iRB Seven-a-side Law Variations can be found here.

The main changes are summarised below:

  • The game is played by 7 players on each side consisting of three forwards and four backs
  • Games take place between two teams for a total of 7 minutes each way with a 1 minute half time break. In the final of a competition this is increased to 10 minutes each way with a 2 minute half time break
  • In the event of a draw at the end of a game sudden death extra time is played whereby 5 minute 'halves' are played until one of the teams scores a try.
  • The scoring system is the same as the 15 a side game, 5 points for a try, 2 points for a conversion and 3 points for a penalty or drop goal
  • All conversions must be taken within 40 seconds (as oppoed to 60 secs for 15 a side) of the try being scored and must be taken as a drop goal rather than a place kick
  • Kick offs: the team which has just scored kicks off, rather than the conceding team, as in 15 a side.
  • A player receiving a yellow card is sent to the sin bin for a 2 minute interval (counted as time in play, not real time) rather than 10 minutes
  • Scrummaging takes place between 3 forwards. These forwards bind together and interlock their heads in the same way a front row in the full version of rugby would.
  • Lineouts also take place between two (sometimes 3) players with a player from the team who didn't knock or carry the ball over the touchline (unless kicked from a penalty where it is the team that kicked it out) responsible for throwing the ball back in (usually the hooker)
  • Each team is only allowed 5 reserves per game, and can only make 3 changes during the course of the game