Mastering Rugby 7s Positions – Sevens Rugby Player Roles

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Rugby 7s is essentially just a different variety of rugby, although they share a similar name, rugby 7s, and its positions are quite different from the traditional game. In rugby union, a standard match involves 15 players on each side, whereas rugby 7s features only 7 players per team, as implied by its name. Also, in rugby 7s, the halves are notably shorter, leading to a more intense and faster-paced game.

Rugby 7s player positions differ slightly from those in rugby union. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the positions on a rugby 7s team, providing a clear grasp of each player’s role.

Key Takeaways For Rugby Sevens

  • Rugby 7s is a distinct variant of rugby, featuring only 7 players per team, as opposed to the traditional 15 players in rugby union. This leads to faster-paced and more intense matches.
  • Rugby 7s positions are different than those in the traditional 15s.
  • In 7s there are two main categories of players, forwards and backs.
  • Forwards consist of loosehead and tighthead props and a hooker.
  • The back consists of a scrum-half, fly-half, center, and winger.
Rugby 7s Positions
Rugby 7s Positions

Difference Between Rugby 15s vs 7s

Forwards and backs play quite different roles in a rugby 7s contest than they do in a traditional rugby game. For example, in rugby 7s, three forwards bind into the scrum as opposed to eight in 15-a-side rugby.

In open play, the defensive formation consists of a six-defender line with one sweeper behind the line. The attacking team uses all seven players against the defending team’s six, requiring the attacking team’s backs to focus on ball movement to establish a numerical advantage. Furthermore, the defending team may face increased pressure if they commit players to the ruck after a tackle, thereby leaving fewer defenders and more space for the attacking team to exploit.

Because the processes for performing set pieces in rugby 7s differ from those in 15s, the role of forwards changes dramatically, resulting in a faster speed of play. Scrums in 7s, for example, involve three players creating a single row rather than the usual eight forming three rows. As a result, scrums form faster, require fewer restarts, and the ball leaves the scrum at a faster pace. Similarly, if a tackle results in a ruck formation, the ball usually exits the ruck quickly since the attacking team usually only engages three men in the ruck – the tackled player, one support man, and one scrum-half.

Rugby 7s Positions

Forwards and Backs

As we already mentioned, rugby 7s team positions are split between forwards and backs, much like in a traditional 15s-a-side variety. A rugby 7s team consists of three forwards (a hooker and two props) and four backs (a scrum-half, a fly-half, a center, and a winger). While overall player skills are necessary for all positions, some roles require particular skills in order for the team to be effective and victorious. Thus, different players have separate offensive and defensive roles.

With a better grasp of the differences between forwards and backs in the game, as well as the differences between a rugby 7s competition and a 15-a-side rugby union match, let’s go deeper into the individual positions within rugby 7s. This will give you a thorough understanding of each player’s particular responsibilities.

The Forwards

In the game of rugby 7s, each team has 3 forwards:

Loosehead And Tighthead Prop

Scrums in rugby 7s feature a total of three players from each team. In these scrums, three forwards from one team (two props and a hooker) push against three forwards from the other team. Props are very important when it comes to attacking play.

Props or prop forwards are the two forwards who are positioned on the scrum’s outer edges. They are given this designation because their major responsibility is to “prop up” the scrum. The loosehead prop occupies the left side of the scrum in a rugby 7s scrum, whereas the tighthead prop occupies the right side. The hooker occupies the center ground. Aside from their various scrum locations, the tasks of the loosehead prop and the tighthead prop in a rugby 7s match are very similar.

Props are frequently some of the most powerful and physically intimidating players on the field. They are often strong runners who are also entrusted with lifting in lineouts and engaging in rucks. While many props in international matches show exceptional agility, they are among the slower athletes in 7s rugby. Furthermore, props are typically the heaviest players on the field.

Differences Between Loosehead And Tighthead Props In Rugby Sevens

In the sevens format, there are a few noteworthy differences between loosehead and tighthead props aside from their roles in the scrum. In contrast, in 15-a-side rugby, the prop positions are highly specialized. It’s unusual for fifteens players to switch between tighthead and loosehead positions.

In sevens, both props normally run slower than their teammates, yet international rugby occasionally features particularly fast props. Furthermore, props in sevens tend to be physically larger than their teammates. When a team uses a lighter or taller player as a prop, it’s customary for them to take part in the lineout jumps, with the heavier prop giving the lift.

In order to master rugby 7s positions you must understand what every role does in detail. Discover everything there is to know about the role of props in this article.


It’s worth mentioning that scrums in rugby 7s are often shorter, with less focus on aggressive drives. However, a powerful attack can still provide a strategic advantage. If the team chooses this strategy, the hooker works with the props to apply pressure and maybe catch the opposition off guard.

If the hooker’s team wins the scrum, they will quickly withdraw to provide support for the halfback. Simultaneously, the hooker for the opposing team leaves the scrum to take a defensive posture.

In order to master rugby 7s positions you must understand what every role does in detail. Discover everything there is to know about hookers’ role here.

The Back

Scrum Half

The scrum-half is one of the most versatile players in sevens rugby. True to their name, their primary responsibility during scrum time is to feed the ball into the scrum. Hookers are less likely to handle line-out throws in sevens. This duty has been delegated to the scrum-half, who frequently rushes into position to collect the ball from the player who made the catch. A Scrum person is viable both for attack, defense, and switch plays.

Aside from set-piece situations, the scrum-half plays an important role in open play. They, together with the flyhalf, orchestrate the team’s offensive maneuvers. Scrum-halves are continually looking for ways to bridge the gap between the forwards and backs. Their position entails assisting the forwards as well as passing the ball to the fly-half or center. They are also expected to exploit gaps in the opposing defense and make quick runs down the field. In defensive situations, scrum-halves frequently serve as sweepers, intercepting any opposition team’s break attempts.

In order to master rugby 7s positions you must understand what every role does in detail. Discover everything there is to know about the scrum half position in this article.


This position is also known by many other names, including stand-off, out-half, and second five-eighth. In sevens rugby, fly-halves frequently perform the role of playmaker, demonstrating great passing and running talents. With these skills, they aim to dictate the course of attacks and maneuver their team into situations where they outnumber the opposition’s defenders in a specific area of the field. To accomplish this, the fly-half typically situates themselves in the middle of the pitch, granting them options on both sides when receiving the ball from the scrum half.

It is significant to note that all positions in a sevens rugby squad require good passing and running abilities. In the traditional setup, the fly-half also handles the majority of kicking duties, including key tasks like executing restart kicks, which are essential in the context of sevens rugby. In rugby 7s, restarts are strategically significant. The usual objective is to send the ball high and target a specific area of the field. If the fly-half can sustain the ball in the air long enough, their teammates may reach the designated spot before the opponents.

In order to master rugby 7s positions you must understand what every role does in detail. Discover everything there is to know about the fly-half position here.


During offensive movements in sevens rugby, centers serve as a vital link between the flyhalf and the winger. They frequently make the final pass in wide plays, propelling the winger into open space. While all backs must be fast, centers are set apart by their greater stature, which allows them to efficiently carry the ball into contact. Some wingers have excelled in 15-a-side but may lack the top-end speed required for international sevens. In such instances, they may switch to center in sevens rugby.

Centers are also very important on defense. They have a clear view of the opposition’s offensive strategy developing across the pitch from their midfield position. Effective communication between the center and teammates is essentially for setting up a proper defensive formation. While speed is a prerequisite for all backs, centers are typically characterized by their larger physical stature, enabling them to engage in demanding contact situations.

In order to master rugby 7s positions you must understand what every role does in detail. Discover everything there is to know about the part of a center player in this article.


In traditional 15-a-side rugby, the wingers may have limited opportunity to interact with the ball over the entire eighty minutes.

The winger’s traditional role is to position himself near the touchline, ready to receive the decisive pass that propels them towards the try line. Despite being the same size, the field in 7s rugby is covered by much fewer defensive players. As a result of this dynamic, the lone winger on a team is far more involved in offensive plays.

Players at this position in 7s rugby must be extremely quick-footed given the function they play. A winger must be physically strong. After all, they must be capable of eluding oncoming defenders while also assisting defensively by making tackles when necessary.

In order to master rugby 7s positions you must understand what every role does in detail. Discover everything there is to know about the winger here.


Do rugby sevens players play 15-a-side?

Not necessarily. As rugby 7s is a variant of rugby union where each team consists of only 7 players the playstyle is different requiring different types of training and physical abilities.

Are there rucks in 7s?

Yes, there are rucks in rugby sevens. A ruck occurs when a player is tackled and goes to the ground with the ball. Teammates then compete with the opposition to secure possession of the ball.

Can you tackle in rugby 7s?

Yes, tackling is a fundamental aspect of rugby sevens. Players are allowed to tackle opponents to try to gain possession of the ball.

What does 15s mean in rugby?

“15s” or “XV” in rugby refers to the traditional format of the game, where each team fields fifteen players. This is the standard version of rugby played at the international and domestic levels.

How do you get good at rugby 7s?

Getting good at rugby sevens involves a combination of regular practice, honing fundamental skills such as passing, tackling, and evasive running, understanding tactical aspects of the game, maintaining fitness levels, and participating in competitive matches and tournaments.

Does World Rugby organize a cup for 7s?

Yes. Rugby World Cup Sevens (RWCS), is a prestigious international tournament exclusively for the rugby sevens format.

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