Rugby sevens is having a moment right now. The sport was little more than a side-show to conventional rugby five years ago. But ever since the IOC decided to include it as an official sport at the Games, it’s been going strong.
In traditional rugby, each team has fifteen players who bruise it out to score tries and conversions for 80 minutes. But in rugby sevens, there are only seven players and the rules are slightly different.
If you’re looking at the rugby scores this week and wondering how the sport works, then read on to find out more.
The Matches Are Shorter
Fitting a full-scale rugby tournament into a tight Olympic time frame is virtually impossible. The matches are long, and organizing enough fixtures for the event is challenging, even if you use the same stadiums over and over again.
So the IOC decided to opt for rugby sevens. These matches have halves that are just seven minutes long with half-time breaks of two minutes. This makes the game even shorter than five-a-side football where matches last around 20 minutes.
Scrums in seven-person rugby tend to move around a lot more than in regular rugby union. That’s because one team can more easily outpower another based on the strengths and weaknesses of the individuals involved.
In general, scrums in sevens are just a tool to restart play. In conventional rugby, they are an entire side game in themselves.
The Goal Is Still To Score Tries And Conversions
Despite changes to the format of the game, the goal is still the same: to score tries and conversion. Players must take the ball over the opposing team’s goal line or kick the ball through the posts.
Players Score Tries Faster
In rugby sevens, play tends to be fast-paced. As a result, players tend to score tries much faster. So even though the halves only last a few minutes, that’s usually enough time for teams to put a score on the scoresheet.
As a spectator sport, rugby sevens is often more enjoyable than regular union. That’s because tries and conversions occur more rapidly than they would otherwise.
It’s Ideal For Multi-Day Tournaments
Because games in rugby sevens are so short, players can play on consecutive days and hosts can construct more elaborate tournaments. It also reduces the amount of time that players spend in the sin bin. This means that players are more likely to remain on the pitch because there are fewer incidents.
Fans Like To Dress Up For Matches
Rugby sevens has an interesting fan culture where spectators will dress up to watch their favorite team play. Since the sport became more popular, we’ve seen all sorts of sartorial splendor, including fans dressing up like a bunch of bananas.
Needless to say, rugby sevens is a real crowd pleaser. And now that it has official Olympic endorsement, it’s going from strength to strength. Fixtures are popping up all over the world, including in places like London, the US and Hong Kong.