Posted February 10th, 2011



The Origins of Rugby Sevens:

While the iRB deserves credit for creating a World Sevens Series to spread the game of Rugby around the globe, it is a 19th century Scottish butcher and his apprentice who were the real architects of what modern day fans now know as Sevens Rugby.


In 1883, a Rugby Committee met in the small Scottish town of Melrose to consider organizing an athletics meeting or Sports Day to raise funds at the end of the Rugby season.  It was at this meeting that the local butchers apprentice and Melrose 20-a-side quarterback, Ned Haig, suggested having a Rugby Tournament as part of the Sports Day Venue.


To run a Tournament for 20-a-side Teams was, however, considered unworkable and it was at this point that Ned's boss, David Sanderson, mentioned playing in a Tournament over the Border that required reduced numbers of players in each Team.


Subsequently, on the 28th of April, 1883, seven Clubs took part in the Melrose seven-a-side Tournament, with the time of each match limited to 15 minutes.  The Tournament was an instant hit with the public and about 1,600 tickets were sold on the day. Fittingly, Haig and Sanderson (Captain) were members of the Melrose Team that eventually won the competition.  The victory, though, was not without controversy.


Sanderson led the Melrose Team from the field after personally scoring the first try in extra time, while the Gala Team protested that the full period of extra time had not been played.  Gala's protests proved fruitless, with the Melrose Team steadfast in their opinion that it was their Tournament and they were, therefore, the ones that made the rules.


The popularity of Rugby Sevens has continued to grow apace since the Tournament in Melrose.  It is worth noting, though, that the idea of a Sevens Tournament is not the only legacy of the Melrose butcher and his apprentice.  Today, the World Sevens Series still follows the rule that the first Team to score in extra time is the winner of the match.



Rugby Sevens is a variant of Rugby in which only seven players per side are featured. 


Rugby Union Sevens Rules:


Rugby Union Sevens is sanctioned by the International Rugby Board (iRB), and is played under substantially the same rules and on a field of the same dimensions as in 15s, i.e., 15 players per side.


While a normal Rugby Union match lasts upwards of 80 minutes, a normal Rugby Sevens match lasts in the vicinity of 14 minutes (allowing for injury time and so forth).  Competition Finals last somewhat more than 20 minutes; each half in a Competition Final is 10 minutes instead of the normal 7 minutes.  This allows Rugby Tournaments to be completed in a day or a weekend.  However, Sevens scores are generally comparable to Union scores; scoring occurs with much greater regularity in Sevens, owing to the fact that the defenders are more spaced out than in Rugby Union.


The only major rule change from Rugby Union regarding events on the field is that conversions must be drop goals.


Rugby sevens developed in Scotland in 1883.  Owing to the speed by which matches are resolved and the minimal personnel requirements, Rugby Sevens has been accepted for Olympic competition (it has been in the Commonwealth Games since 1998) and it is hoped that the game spread amongst nations that are not traditional powers in Rugby Union.


One of the best known Sevens Competition Tournaments is the Hong Kong Sevens.


The iRB World Series Tournaments: 

Country website:

iRB web page


Country website:

iRB web page


December 3rd & 4th, 2010

7he Sevens


Hong Kong

March 25th, 26th & 27th, 2011

Hong Kong Stadium

South Africa

December 10th & 11th, 2010

Outeniqua Stadium, George



April 2nd & 3rd, 2011

Adelaide Oval

New Zealand

February 4th & 5th, 2011

Westpac Stadium, Wellington



May 21st & 22nd, 2011

Twickenham, London


February 12th & 13th, 2011

Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas



May 28th & 29th, 2011

Murrayfield, Edinburgh


Play Rugby 7s Links: 



Click on any of the links below . . .

Workout 1 by Manheimer

Workout 2 by Manheimer

Sprint drills by Manheimer

YouTube Body by Manheimer

All Blacks training for Hong Kong 7s

From the NFL to USA 7s - Mike Craigwell

USA Rugby Sevens Interview

USA Rugby Sevens Comments

Play of the Day - USA at Australia 7s - 2010

Paul Emerick Rugby CV/Resume

Sevens and the Olympic Games

Fastest Players:

USA Sevens Eagles Players

World's Fastest Players

iRB World Series Top 10 Tries of the season so far - starting from the 3rd of December, 2010, in Dubai



Rugby 7s Knowledge Resources:  QUICK GUIDE TO RUGBY LAWS  |  iRB's GUIDE FOR BEGINNERS




ONLY the Captain may speak to the Referee  |  Profanity during match play is forbidden  |  Matches last 14 minutes (7 minute halves)

During a 7s Tournament the Championship Match is 20 minutes (10 minute halves)

The ball can ONLY be passed backwards  |  Players play BOTH Offense and Defense  |  EVERY player can run with the ball

No huddles, no timeouts, no downs, just open play similar to Basketball and Soccer

There are 7 Players per side on the pitch, i.e., 3 Forwards and 4 Backs that play on each starting side, with a potential of 2 substitutes

Every Player can score  |  The Forwards form the scrum and lineouts  |  Backs are primarily open field runners

In 7s all seven players are open field runners once a lineout or scrum is over

A 'Try' = 5 points, which is similar to a Touchdown in football  |  Conversion kicks = 2 points, which is similar to a football extra point

Penalty kicks = 3 points, which is similar to football field goals

Tacklers MUST wrap & engage below the shoulders  |  NO BLOCKING FOR A RUNNER WHO HAS THE BALL

Once a runner passes the ball, the runner can NOT be tackled

Those substituted can NOT return to the field, unless it is a BLOOD substitute

Post hand-shaking lines are done in honor of the Game, both Clubs, and the Referee