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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 February 2006, 10:36 GMT
Rugby Sevens guide
Simon Amor scores a try for England
Scoring tries upside down is all part of the sevens package
Sevens is said to have originated in Scotland in 1883, when the Melrose Club came up with the idea of a fundraising tournament to fight the threat of closure.

It was not until 1973 that the first international tournament was staged, but sevens hit the big time when it made its first appearance at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998.

Although it uses almost all the same laws as the 15-a-side game, sevens employs a totally different strategy.

England captain Simon Amor, who plays his club rugby for Gloucester, explains all.

BASICS

"The major difference is the number of players on the pitch - seven for each side.

The pitch size is the same size as 15s, but with only half that number of players it means you have to work a lot harder.

Fortunately sevens games do not go on for 80 minutes like normal rugby matches.

During the pool stages of a tournament each half lasts seven minutes, increasing to 10 for the final.

Whoever came up with that idea had clearly never played the game before - running around for 20 minutes is pretty tiring after five pool matches!

SKILLS

We have to work exceptionally hard on our fitness.

It means putting in the extra work on your days off, which is never too appetising when it is cold and raining outside in winter.

RUGBY SEVENS
Two halves of seven minutes each (10 for finals). Not more than one minute interval (two for finals)
Extra time if score level. Two periods of five minutes. First to score points wins.
Conversion must be a drop kick
Team that has scored the try kicks off at the restart
Three per team in a scrum
Two mins for sin bin offences
But then the perks of the job are travelling to places like Australia and Dubai for the IRB World Sevens events, so that definitely is a motivatation running through the wind and rain.

In training we work on short anaerobic sessions - sprinting for a short period of time, with a very quick recovery before doing the same thing all over again.

These are the kind of drills that replicate a sevens match, pushing yourself to the limit even when you are tired.

But we also work on our handling skills at the same time. These are the skills that separate good players from the great in sevens.

WHO'S IT FOR?

Sevens is perfectly suited to any rugby player who has got good hands, quick feet and great defensive skills.

It is possibly not the slower front five (scrum) forwards but it appeals to anyone who has played in the back row or the backs.

Sevens uses a more free-flowing, fluid style of rugby. You will see a lot of one-on-one situations with players attacking space. It is more exciting than a 15-man game at times.

There is also a lot less kicking and emphasis around the set-pieces like the scrum and line-out.

If there are any weaknesses in your all-round game, it is exposed a lot more in sevens than in 15s because of the extra space."





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