Aim of the game
In a seven-a-side version of rugby union, two teams attempt to score tries or win penalties, moving an oval-shaped ball from player to player by hand, always passing it backwards
Why should you watch this?
Rugby sevens is a fast-paced and action-packed game in which individual skill and incredible teamwork combine with spectacular results
Used to start and restart a game, as well as for conversions and penalties, the player 'drops' the ball on its end before kicking it on the half-volley
If a player drops a catch and the ball goes forward, the referee calls a 'knock-on', and a foul is awarded against their team
A dead-ball situation where three players from each side lock together and, using their feet, attempt to 'hook' the ball back towards their own players whilst pushing their opponents backwards
Impress your friends
Rugby was born in the 1820s when a young pupil at Rugby School in England picked up the ball during a game of football and ran with it
Rugby Sevens was born in 1888 in Melrose, Scotland, created by two butchers – the men's Rugby World Cup Sevens trophy is called the Melrose Cup
The 15-a-side game featured in the 1900, 1908, 1920 and 1924 Olympic Games, but Rio 2016 will see the Olympic debut of rugby sevens
On rugby's Olympic debut at Paris 1900, the attacking flair of the French saw them dismantle Germany and then Great Britain on their way to the gold medal
The New Zealand men's and women's teams won their respective World Cups in 2013, becoming the most successful teams in the history of the competitions
Better known as 'the King' and considered the greatest sevens player of all time, Waisale Serevi captained Fiji to two World Cups in 1997 and 2005
Rugby sevens is played on a full-size pitch – the same as is used for the 15-a-side game – requiring incredible stamina from the players
Fancy dress is practically de rigeur at rugby sevens tournaments, and the carnival atmosphere during games should go down well in Rio
Games last 14 minutes, split into two seven-minute halves. A maximum of five substitutions are permitted per match.
Players may pass the ball from hand to hand as long as they do not pass it forward.
In open play, players may kick the ball:
Upfield, as long as they or someone behind them are first to touch it from their team
Into touch, at which point the opposing team receives a ‘line-out’ (throw-in)
If the player is outside their own 22m line when kicking for touch, the ball must bounce before going out of play otherwise the opposition’s line-out is taken from where it was kicked, rather than where it went into touch.
There are four ways to score points:
Try (5 points): a player runs the ball over the opponent’s goal line and touches it to the ground
Conversion (2 points): a try-scorer has the chance to drop kick the ball over the posts from level with where the ball was touched down
Penalty (3 points): after a serious foul, a team is given the option to ‘kick for goal’ if the posts are within reach
Drop goal (3 points): a player can try for a drop-goal at any point if they feel they are in range and have enough time to set themselves
A penalty is awarded for serious fouls and dangerous play. The team may either kick for goal and three points, or into touch to receive a line-out (throw-in).
For less serious fouls, a ‘scrum’ is awarded, where three players from each side come together, with the aim of getting the ball back to their team-mates to begin another offensive play.