Rugby 7s: It's Awesome

Rugby sevens, the seven-a-side form of fifteen-a-side rugby union, is taking the world by storm. A global game, sevens is played throughout the South Pacific, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas. It has been a fixture of the Commonwealth Games since 1998, although that has been won all four times by New Zealand. Now Rugby Sevens has reached the pinnacle, with its introduction as an Olympic Sport.

Rugby Legends

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Sevens games are much shorter and there is extra space from fewer players, rugby sevens is known for its open running and quick scoring. The players themselves are renowned for their running lines, passing and handling skills. Many famous players cut their teeth in rugby sevens, such as:

All Blacks:

  • Jonah Lomu
  • Christian Cullen
  • Zinzan Brooke

Wallabies:

  • George Gregan
  • Joe Roff

England:

  • Lawrence Dallaglio
  • Matt Dawson

South Africa

  • Bryan Habana

Argentina:

  • Augustin Pichot

Just to name a few

Rugby Sevens Promotional Film

Rugby Sevens: A Spectator's Favourite

Because of the exciting nature of the game, rugby sevens is a fantastic spectator sport. Game results are more unpredictable in rugby sevens, with less of a gap between the best teams, unlike in rugby union which is traditionally dominated by a few teams at a time.

Live audiences love rugby sevens. The short length of each game, only fifteen minutes, allows entire tournaments to be played over a weekend. Tournaments will often have second or even third tier of finals, such as a plate final, allowing teams who are knocked out early still remain active in the tournament.

For all these reasons, rugby sevens tournaments are known for their festival, mardi gras-like atmosphere, with lots of dressing up and partying. Stadiums are usually filled with groups of people dressed in outrageous themes and dancing in the aisles.

Rugby Sevens at the Olympics

In 2009 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted to include Rugby Sevens at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Previously the premier competition for Rugby Sevens had been the Rugby Sevens World Cup, a four-yearly tournament contested since 1993. 16 teams vywe for the world cup following a vigorous qualifications schedule. However, as a condition of Olympic entry the 2013 Rugby Sevens World Cup will be the last.

Should Rugby Sevens Be an Olympic Sport?

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Rugby Union versus Rugby Sevens

The Similarities between Rugby Union and Rugby Sevens:

  • The tackle ball/ruck and lineout is the same, but with fewer players contesting.
  • The scrum is the same, but instead of nine players on each side, there are only three.
  • In both rugby union and sevens, tries are worth five points plus a two point conversion. Penalties and drop goals are worth three points.
  • The same sized field is used for both, 100m by 70m.

The Differences Between Rugby Union and Rugby Sevens

  • Seven players on each side instead of 15.
  • Each half of rugby sevens is seven minutes, with a half time break of one minute. For a tournament final, each half is often extended to ten minutes each with two minutes for half time. Rugby Union has 40 minute halves and 10 minutes for half time.
  • Yellow cards take a player out of the game for 2 minutes instead of 10. However, this represents a much larger percentage of the overall game so is a harsher penalty.
  • The team who has just scored kicks off in sevens instead of the other way around in rugby union.
  • Conversions must be drop kicked in sevens but can be place kicked in rugby union.


The Hong Kong Sevens Tournament

The Hong Kong Sevens Tournament is the crown jewel of the IRB Sevens World Series. Running since 1976, it was one of the first international rugby tournaments in the world. It takes place on the last weekend of March, from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening. Since 1982 it has been played at the Hong Kong Government Stadium.

In a tournament series full of parties, atmosphere and fancy dress, the Hong Kong Sevens Tournament is the one everyone wants to be at. The infamous South Stand holds the most raucous of party goers, and is even restricted to R18.

While the other tournaments on the sevens circuit are contested by 16 teams, Hong Kong is a 24 team event. It is also worth more points for a tournament win, 30 instead of 24. Including the 2010 tournament, Fiji have won the most Hong Kong Sevens , with 12, New Zealand have won 9, Australia 5 and England 4.

For more information about the Hong Kong Sevens, check out this article.

Hong Kong Sevens Tries

IRB Sevens Series Winners

Season
Series Winner
1999-00
New Zealand
2000-01
New Zealand
2001-02
New Zealand
2002-03
New Zealand
2004-05
New Zealand
2005-06
Fiji
2006-07
New Zealand
2007-08
New Zealand
2008-09
South Africa
2009-10
Samoa
Ben Gollings - England
Ben Gollings - England

Ben Gollings - Record Rugby Sevens Points Scorer

With over 2400 points and still climbing, Ben Gollings international sevens scoring records may never be surpassed.In 2006 he bacame the first player to score 1500 points, and in 2009 the first to score 2000. No other player is close to either landmark. He is second on the all time try scoring list, behind Argentina's Santiago Gomez Cora.

Ben Gollings debuted for the England Sevens team in 2000.

IRB Sevens Series Top Point Scorers

Player
Country
Points
Ben Gollings
England
2455
Waisale Serevi
Fiji
1310
Santiago Gomez Cora
Argentina
1178
Uale Mai
Samoa
1174
Amasio Raoma
New Zealand
1124
Tomasi Cama
New Zealand
1028
William Ryder
Fiji
987
Fabian Juries
South Africa
925
Mzwandile Stick
South Africa
855
Nasoni Roko
Fiji
847
Lolo Lui
Samoa
842
Mikaele Pesamino
Samoa
822
Lavin Asego
Kenya
739
Simon Amor
England
721
Stefan Basson
South Africa
691
Pedro Leal
Portugal
657
Orene Ai'i
New Zealand
656
Peter Miller
Australia
631
Philip Mack
Canada
591
Karl Tenana
New Zealand
575
Tafai Ioasa
New Zealand
561
Nigel Hunt
New Zealand
559
Dave Moonlight
Canada
553
Emosi Vucago
Fiji
543
Justin Wilson
New Zealand
543
Santiago Gomez Cora - Argentina
Santiago Gomez Cora - Argentina

Santiago Gomez Cora - Top Sevens Try Scorer

Santiago Gomez Cora leads the rugby sevens try scoring list with 230 tries. He is third all time point record holder, behind Ben Gollings and Fijian rugby legend Waisale Serevi.

Cora has also played for the Argentina Rugby Union international team at full back.

IRB Sevens Series Top Try Scorers

Player
Country
Tries
Santiago Gomez Cora
Argentina
230
Ben Gollings
England
208
Fabian Juries
South Africa
179
Mikaele Pesamino
Samoa
158
Uale Mai
Samoa
132
Nasoni Roko
Fiji
123
Karl Tenana
New Zealand
113
Amasio Raoma
New Zealand
112
Tafai Ioasa
New Zealand
111
Peter Miller
Australia
107
Dave Moonlight
Canada
107
Richard Haughton
England
106
William Ryder
Fiji
105
Marius Schoeman
South Africa
103
Rob Thirlby
England
101
Zar Lawrence
New Zealand
100

About the Author

I am based in New Zealand and enjoy writing about rugby, movies and music and am also interested in property investment and travel. I operate a rugby blog and a site dedicated to Tarantino movies and merchandise and contribute to a Property Investment Tips site.

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Comments 2 comments

rich_hayles profile image

rich_hayles 5 years ago

Great for fans but will it ever take off like 20/20 has in cricket? I really hope so as it's fantastic to watch.


M A Williams profile image

M A Williams 5 years ago from New Hampshire Author

Hi Rich. 20/20 cricket has really taken off over the last year or so, and there is heaps of money in it for players on the IPL contracts. With the introduction of Rugby Sevens into the Olympics we are already seeing countries who previously only showed a cursory interest in 7s now starting to invest some big money into it. For example, a sleeping giant like China or even India with their population bases could take the the sport to the next level.

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