Rugby union sevens is sanctioned by the International Rugby Board (IRB), and is played under substantially the same rules and on a field of the same dimensions as the 15-player game.
While a normal rugby union match lasts upwards of 80 minutes, a normal rugby sevens match lasts in the vicinity of 14 minutes (allowing for injury time and so forth). Competition finals last somewhat more than 20 minutes; each half in a competition final is 10 minutes instead of the normal 7 minutes. This allows rugby tournaments to be completed in a day or a weekend. However, sevens scores are generally comparable to union scores; scoring occurs with much greater regularity in sevens, owing to the fact that the defenders are more spaced out than in rugby union.
The only major rule change from rugby union regarding events on the field is that conversions must be drop goals.
Rugby sevens developed in Scotland in 1883 [ read more... ]. Owing to the speed by which matches are resolved and the minimal personnel requirements, there is hope that sevens will be accepted for Olympic competition (it has been in the Commonwealth Games since 1998) and spread amongst nations that are not traditional powers in rugby union.
One of the best known sevens competitions is the Hong Kong Sevens, which now makes up part of the IRB World Series.
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"One of the best known sevens competitions is the Hong Kong Sevens, which now makes up part of the IRB World Series."