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Rugby 7s Rules: Seven Regulations

Playing rugby 7s rules has similarities to playing a game of rugby union (or league). This page highlights seven regulations that make sevens rugby a fast-moving tournament game!

SEVENS RUGBY: Rugby 7’s, also known as rugby sevens, comes from the rugby union 15’s game. Likewise, there are men, women, and children’s unisex teams.

The game plays out on a standard rugby union pitch. But, rugby 7s rules and regulations have some differences to the union game.

Rugby 7’s ruling body is the International Rugby Board (IRB). The pinnacle of sevens rugby rules has to be the Hong Kong Rugby 7s Tournament.

The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series plays in 10 cities around the world.

The HK Rugby Sevens rules is an international competition where each tournament plays in knockout stages. Find further information and details about the HSBC Rugby Sevens World Series below.

1. Aim of Rugby 7s

Rugby 7’s objective is about speed, more speed, and even more speed! It is a fast, free flowing game with less emphasis on power or tactical kicking.

The emphasis on more speed, running, and passing is what differentiates rugby sevens rules from rugby union rules and regulations. This makes the 7s game explosive and very enjoyable to watch.

2. Rugby Sevens Positions, Pitch, and Equipment

Rugby sevens player positions and roles are:

  1. Prop (left side)
  2. Hooker
  3. Prop (right side)
  4. Scrum-half
  5. Fly-half
  6. Centre
  7. Wing

The game plays out on the standard rugby union size pitch. They do not use the smaller pitch for rugby league rules. The ball is the same specification as the one used in rugby union equipment.

The player equipment includes the standard studded boots, mouth guard, and shin pads. Players also wear a ‘box‘, aka a jockstrap in rugby terminology, for added protection.

Some players use strapping to help support mild or recurring injuries. Others wear some rugby safety gear such as skull caps and mild padding under their shirt. Unlike American Football regulations there is no extra padding worn by rugby 7’s players.

3. General Rules and Regulations of Rugby Sevens

  • Rugby 7s Rules and RegulationsA maximum of 7 players per team play on the field at any time.
  • Rugby 7’s rules allow five substitutes. But, only 3 players can get substituted during a game.
  • Playing time consists of two seven minute halves. The exception is for tournament finals which allow 10 minutes of play in each half.
  • The regulations in sevens rugby give the teams a two minute half-time break.
  • A ‘sudden death‘ comes into effect in matches that get drawn at the end of rugby 7s regulation time. As a rule, sudden death play consists of multiples of 5-minute periods.
  • All conversion attempts are dropkicks.
  • Rugby sevens conversions rules say they must get taken within 40 seconds of scoring a try.
  • Players must kick any penalties awarded within 30 seconds.
  • Unlike rugby union scrum rules only three players battle out scrums in the 7’s game.
  • The team which has scored kicks off to restart play (not the conceding team).
  • Receiving a yellow card means the player gets a 2-minute suspension in the ‘sin bin‘.
  • As a rule, extra in-goal judges and officials get used to judge the success of kicks at the goal.

4. Scoring in Rugby 7’s: Rugby Sevens Points System

  • Two points for converting a try.
  • Three points for penalties and for drop goals.
  • Five points for scoring a try.

5. Fouls in Rugby Sevens

There is no difference between rugby 7s and 15s for foul penalties. But, most get taken as quick taps rather than a set kick or a scrum.

Fouls can be any other action the referee considers to be ‘contrary to good sportsmanship‘. That can include slowing the game down or preventing a prompt restart.

6. Refereeing Rugby 7s and Officials

  • Referee (check out the role of rugby union referees and officials)
  • Leading Assistant Referee
  • Trailing Assistant Referee
  • Two In-Goal Judges (one on each goal line)

7. Winning a game of Rugby 7

Winning a game has no differences in general rules and regulations of rugby 7’s to rugby union 15’s. The winners of sevens rugby games would be the team who scores more points than the opponent.

HSBC Rugby Sevens World Series

How do you win the HSBC Rugby Sevens World Series?

First of all you must qualify. Then you will play 10 tournaments around the world trying to win the highest ranking medals. Teams add up the total number of gold, silvers, and bronze along with 4th place positions from the series.

The team with the highest number of gold medals wins the series. If it is a draw, it goes to the team with the highest silvers etc. The lowest placed team gets relegated.

HSBC Rugby Sevens Qualifiers

If you are not one of the core fifteen teams you will need to win the ‘Asia Sevens Series‘ in the previous year.

HSBC Rugby Sevens Tournament Pools

There are four pools and each pool has four teams. Scoring is 3 points for a win, 2 points for a draw, and 1 point for a loss. Teams score 0 points for a no show.

The top two teams from each pool go forward to the quarter finals. If there is a tiebreak then the head-to-head result between the tied teams counts. This gets followed by the point’s difference.

HSBC Rugby 7s Knockout

The winners of the quarter finals go through to the semi-finals. The winners then go on to play in the final. The winner of the final wins the tournament gold medal. The loser gets the silver. The losers of the semi-finals play for the bronze medal and 4th place position.

Rugby 7s Rules and Regulations: 7 Key Differences in Sevens Rugby Rules