A Brief History Of Rugby Sevens
The sport of rugby originated in the United Kingdom and over time has evolved into a worldwide sport. Throughout the evolution of the sport, variations of the game have been created. One particular variation is known as Rugby Sevens which is a variation of Rugby Union, but is played with only seven players instead of the traditional 15-player game.
Sevens originated in the Scottish town of Melrose in 1883. A committee was meeting to discuss fund related matters when Ned Haig, a butchers apprentice, proposed running a tournament as a means to raise funds. However, in order to run a successful tournament, the teams would have to be condensed into smaller teams of seven. Coincidentally, seven clubs participated in the seven-a-side tournament and the match was a huge success.
Rugby Sevens has similar rule structures to Rugby Union but it is formatted to fit seven players per side rather than 15. One of the most glaring differences is the time limit. A typical Rugby Union match lasts about 80 minutes but a Sevens match averages about 14 minutes with time allowed for injuries and has two seven minute halves. Competition matches are slightly longer. Each half in a competition match is 10 minutes for a total of 20 minutes per match. Only five substitutes are allowed, with only three interchanges. Instead of the traditional eight player scrums in rugby union, only three players are allowed during scrums.
The primary goal of rule changes in a Rugby Sevens is to speed the game up. Most matches result in similar scores as Union matches due to the fact that there are more openings on the field with fewer players. Sevens has the advantage of being able to complete a tournament in little more than a weekend or even a day. Additional officials are usually present during matches to prevent the game from slowing down when goal kicks are judged. For these reasons Rugby Sevens is considered as an exciting spectacle even for those who are not found of either Union of League.
Rugby sevens has a few major tournaments, the most prestigious being the World Cup. The event is sponsored by the International Rugby Board (IRB) and takes place every four years. The first event took place in 1993 in Scotland to commemorate the birthplace of the sport. However, the last World Cup tournament will take place in 2013 due to the inclusion of Rugby Sevens in the 2016 Olympics.