June 02, 2012
There are several variations in laws which apply to Rugby Sevens, primarily to speed up the game and to account for the reduced number of players. The main changes can be summarised as follows:
Seven players per team on field (instead of 15).
Five substitutes, with only three interchanges (instead of 7 and 7).
Seven minute halves, though ten minute halves are allowed in the final of a competition (instead of forty minute halves).
One minute half-time, two minutes in finals (instead of ten minutes).
Matches drawn after regulation are continued into Extra Time, in 5-minute periods.
All conversion attempts must be drop-kicked (instead of having the option to place-kick).
Conversions must be taken within 40 seconds of scoring a try (instead of 60 seconds).
Three player scrums (instead of eight players).
Kick-offs: in sevens, the team which has just scored kicks off, rather than the conceding team, as in fifteen-a-side.
Yellow cards net a 2-minute suspension (instead of 10 minutes).
Suspensions are more severe in Sevens than in Fifteens. The team plays a man down for 1/7 of the match instead of 1/8, and losing 1 man out of 7 opens up more space than 1 man out of 15.
Referees decide on advantage quickly (where one play usually ends advantage, not true in fifteens).
In major competitions, there are additional officials present (in-goal touch judges) to judge success of kicks at goals and hence the game is not delayed waiting for touch judges to move into position to judge conversion attempts.