June 02, 2012
Rugby sevens, also known as seven-a-side or VIIs, is a variant of rugby union in which teams are made up of seven players, instead of the usual 15, with shorter matches. Rugby sevens is administered by the International Rugby Board (IRB), the body responsible for rugby union worldwide. The game originated in Melrose, Scotland, where the Melrose Sevens tournament is still played annually. The game is popular at all levels, with amateur and club tournaments generally held in the summer months. Sevens is one of the most well distributed forms of rugby, and is popular in parts of Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas, and especially in the South Pacific.
Notable international competitions include the IRB Sevens World Series and the Rugby World Cup Sevens. Rugby sevens is also played at some multi-sport events such as the Commonwealth Games, taking place four times (1998 - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2002 - Manchester, England, 2006 - Melbourne, Australia, and 2010 - Delhi, India), each time the gold medal being won by New Zealand.
Rugby sevens is now recognised as an Olympic sport and will make its debut in the 2016 Summer Olympics. This follows a vote by the executive board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to include the sport. That decision was backed at the 121st International Olympic Committee Session in Copenhagen on October 9, 2009