Dubai Rugby Sevens facts

Don’t have a clue what everyone’s screaming about? Here’s the lowdown in seven bite-sized chunks

1 Sevens is a shortened version of rugby union. The rules are the same in each version. Traditionally, players who excel in the sevens league will also spend time in a country’s 15s team, normally in the fast, winger positions.

2 There are seven players to a team, instead of 15, but matches are still played on a full-size pitch, so there is more space to play with and more tries to be had.

3 Each match is seven minutes per half, with a two-minute break in between. Finalists play 10 minutes each way with the same half-time break. If knockout matches are still undecided, five minutes of extra time are played until one side wins.

4 Dubai is the opening tournament of the IRB Sevens World Series, with competitions in South Africa, New Zealand, the US, Australia, Hong Kong, England and Scotland to follow through to May 2010.

5 South Africa are the reigning champions of Dubai and the World Series (much to England’s dismay after losing to them in 2008).

6 The Dubai Sevens tournament is split into three days. Day one is when local and invitational teams compete; day two (the first day of the full competition) focuses on the pool stages, involving the 16 international sides; and day three sees the successful sides from day two compete for four trophies.

7 The jargon
A try (five points) is scored when a player touches the ball down behind the goal.

A conversion (two points) occurs when the kick that follows the try goes between the posts.

A penalty (three points) is when the ball is kicked between the posts following an opposition infringement.

A drop-goal (three points) is when a player drop-kicks the ball between the posts from open play.

The Cup: The top two teams from each pool progress to the Cup final, with the winners named Dubai champions.

The Plate: The four losing Cup quarter-finalists compete for the Plate.

The Bowl: The third and fourth-place finishers from the initial pool stages battle for this.

The Shield: Whoever loses in the Bowl quarter-finals plays finally for the Shield.

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