Rugby Sevens - Men - Argentina - Canada THE CANADIAN PRESS

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Sport Overview

Known for its speed and power, rugby sevens challenges teams to score points by driving the ball into the opponent’s goal area or kicking the ball through the goal posts. Teams try to advance the ball by running it forward and passing laterally or backwards to teammates to avoid tackles. This game is fierce, fast and physical and features some of the most intense battles for ball possession and field position anywhere in sport.

Women’s rugby sevens will make its Pan Am Games debut in Toronto in 2015 and will be part of the Olympic program in Rio in 2016.


Rugby sevens is derived from rugby union and originated in Melrose, Scotland, in 1883. A local club wanted to organize a sports tournament to raise funds but found that 20-a-side teams were unworkable, and reduced the number of players on each team to seven and shortened the match to 15 minutes. The tournament was a hit and the starting point for rugby sevens.

How it works

Rugby sevens teams are made up of seven players instead of 15 as in rugby union. Its shorter matches consist of two seven-minute halves. This full-contact game is played on a standard rugby union playing field measuring 100 metres by 70 metres (109.4 yards x 76.6 yards). Players run while holding the ball, and cannot pass the ball forward — it can only be passed laterally or backwards. Teams score points by either kicking the ball through the goal posts or touching the ball down in the other team’s goal area.


When a ball carrier is held up by an opposing player and a player from his own team.

Formed when two opposing players meet over a ball that is on the ground.

A scrum is a way of re-starting the game. It is formed when forwards from both teams bind together and push against each other as they try to compete for the ball.

When an attacking player is first to ground the ball in the opponent’s in-goal, a try is scored: five points.

Conversion goal
When a player scores a try, it gives the team the right to attempt to score a goal by taking a kick at the goal. This also applies to a penalty try. This kick is a conversion kick and can be a place kick or a drop kick: two points.

Additional Information

Additional Information