Seven-a-side Rugby : Fewer Rucks, fewer Mauls, more Rugby!
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Introduction Outcome Goals: Attack - Defense - Performance Goals: Attack - Defense - Frequent Errors - Team Selection - Conclusion

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Performance goals in detail: Attack



  1. Gaining possession
  2. Retaining possession
  3. Creating space
  4. Penetrating
  5. Supporting Play

    • Kick-offs
    • The Kicking team

      See Diagram (14) - Kick-offs

      • Positioning of players

      • Kicking options
      The first type of kick aims to recover the ball in the air while contesting it with the opponents. It relies on the kicker placing the ball accurately and with sufficient height, for team-mates to arrive in time forthe ball to be contested i.e. the conventional kick-off.

      To be successful, this type of kick needs a firm surface so that the kicker can get sufficiently under the ball to kick it high and shallow. A successful chasing pattern is to have one player running down the 15 metre line, the second ten metres from the touchline and the scrum-half running down the touchline. By positioning in this way, all lateral options are covered. The positioning of the scrum-half allows this player to move towards loose ball from the outside, enabling a pass to be made further infield without turning and wasting time. When the ball is contested it can easily be deflected in any direction. To cope with this, supporting players should position themselves, so they can move into a deflection made by team-mates or opponents. It is worth analysing deflections from a number of matches, to determine the distance and direction that the ball is deflected.

      In Sevens, teams will not wish to commit too many players to contesting the kick-off, as this will leave space that may be easily exploited by opponents, should the kick-off be lost. As a rule, one player should follow the jumper, while being sufficiently far enough away to enable a deflection to be reacted to and yet close enough to support, should the ball be caught. Another player may be placed i n a si m i la r position on the opposition's side to ta ke advantage of deflections made by them. Once possession has been gained it should be passed from the congested area to space. This space will give those committed to the kick-off, time to regroup.

      The playmaker should be in mid-field so that the left and right options are available once play gets underway. This kick creates space because in contesting the ball it enables the opposing players to be held in space.

      Once it is won the ball can be passed to take advantage of the players bunching in this area. There are a number of kicks that can be made to space. All are based on the positioning of opposition players. The kicker should recognise the opportunity and exploit it immediately. There are a small number of available examples of the most frequently used kicks. Amongst these are:

      • The grubber-kick that just crosses over the ten - metre line directly ahead of the kicker.

      • The kick to the opposite side of the field to where most players are positioned.

      • A long-kick to isolate the catcher. By chasing to a pattern the catcher can be isolated and forced into touch. Chasers should force the catcher towards touch and position to cut off a long pass infield.
      If a team has a 'weak link' at kick-offs it can be worthwhile to play to that player, the players position on the field determining the type of kick.

      Receiving Team

      See Diagram (14) - Kick-offs

      To contest the ball the receiving team should position to move towards the ball, not back to recover it. Be aware of the positioning of the opposition. The kick will be made to the side of the field at which they have the greatest numbers. The best pattern is four up and three back. In so doing they will be moving forward and in balance, when they take the ball. if possession is gained, the ball carrier will immediately be in a position to attack the defence. The positioning of team mates in depth and spread across the field will create options.

      To avoid a player becoming isolated when a long kick-off is made, team-mates must hurry back to support in depth. However, they must not bunch as this reduces passing options that will clear the ball to lateral space, away from opponents. Usually, there will be time to bring the ball forward before the opposing team defends. This should be done quickly so that the greatest amount of territory is gained. In this case, the defence may loose its shape and bunch, offering counter-attacking options to the team being kicked to. Finally, when a long-kick is made, time is available to trap the ball with the foot, avoiding handling errors. If the ball does bounce, it should be recovered by a player moving back, to avoid a handling error. However, this player should then pass to a player moving forward.

      It is advisable to reserve one of the front positions for the player who has attempted the conversion as they will be needed in the defensive pattern, immediately the kick-off has taken place. When the ball has been won the blind-side is an effective place to attack. This is because the defence will anticipate an attack where space is greatest, leaving gaps on the flanks. This will draw the defence towards the touch-line, creating the full width of the field to continue the attack.

    • Dropouts
    • Because drop-outs can be taken quickly anywhere along the 22- metre line and need only cross the line for the ball to be in play, they offer a number of options. All are dependent on getting the ball quickly to the kicker standing close to the 2-2 metre line. Team-mates touching down must quickly pass or kick the ball to this player, to gain time to make the kick.

      Amongst the kicking options are:

      • Kick the ball just over the 22-metre line, recover it and immediately pass it to a team mate in a better position, with more time and space to begin an attacking move.

      • Kick long into space and use a well-organised chasing pattern to either contest the ball or reduce the opposing ball carriers attacking options.
      The chasing pattern for all long kicks should be based on the following:

      • The player who is most likely to make the first tackle should position inside the ball carrier, so the player can only run to the narrower side of the field. By positioning to one side it is easier to make a tackle, as the ball carrier can only run to one side.

      • Players should move up in an arrowhead formation, with the tackler at the point and the remaining players on a slight angle. This enables them to easily see what happens. It also puts them in a position to recover the ball, should it be kicked behind the first defender.

      • No player should be ahead of a team-mate who is closer to the position of the ball. A player ahead of a team-mate will create a gap in the defence.

      • Assist in regaining possession when there is an opportunity to do so. This occurs when the ball carrier is isolated from team-mates. if, however, there is support for the ball carrier, other defenders must initially assume the tackler will complete the task. If it is not completed, supporting players are still in a position to assist. However, if more than one defender is committed to the tackle, a pass to a team-mate may allow the opposing team to attack in space.

      Depending on the circumstances of the match the drop-out may be made to touch. Of course, this must not be on the full. However, if it is done quickly there may be space for the ball to roll into touch. This will gain territory while conceding the lineout. The score and the time remaining in the match are also important when considering this option.

      To gain most territory this kick should be made close to the touchline. A grubber-kick can be used to prevent the ball going to touch on the full, so long as there is not a charge down.

      If the opposing team positions to one side of the field more than the other, a chip-kick may be used. This kick enables a team-mate close to the kicker to catch the ball. it is a kick high enough to go over opponents along the 22--metre line and also to give the team-mate time to run and catch the ball.

    • Scrums
    • See Diagram (15) - Positioning during scrums and after scrums

      As there are more scrums than lineouts they are the most important of the set pieces. By coordinating with the scrum half the forwards are able to push past the ball. Consequently, contact, put-in and strike must be part of a single continuous movement.

      Prior to engagement the props should bind with the hooker, binding under the props to allow the player to enter play quickly, once the scrurn is over. The scrum should be square to the touchline and the players bound and crouched, so that upon engagement they are lower than their opponents. This allows them to drive forward and up, using their strength to greatest effect. So that the hooker is turned slightly to face the scrum half the tighthead prop should lead in. This will also counter the clockwise screw that could reduce attacking options once the ball has been won. When the ball is put in, the loosehead prop should follow it in using the outside left leg. in combination with the hooker, using the right leg, the hook may be controlled. However, if the action of the prop prevents the more essential role of the hooker being effective, then it is better for the prop to provide a stable platform and not strike. Under pressure the loosehead may be the player hooking for the ball, with the hooker and the tighthead prop maintaining stability. Once the ball has been hooked, the hooker must quickly pull out and enter play.

      The options available at the scrum depends on the composition of the front row. This may not be the same as in 15-a-side rugby, as players are not subjected to the same front row pressure. Consequently, a player may be selected to be a forward in a Sevens team, because of other attributes the player brings to the mode of play in Sevens, not just scrummaging. While scrums are the most frequently occurring set piece, the overall number is not great. if the hooker selected is quick at striking for the ball, it is worth contesting the put-in. If the front row is physically and technically superior then the forward drive can be used.

      As a general strategy the screw or wheel can be used. in a six-player scrum this is difficult to counter, The most likely direction is clockwise. This can be used to manoeuvre the opposing forwards towards the touchline on the right of the field. When the opposition attacks it is difficult to pass the ball to the open-side. in defence this will delay the entry of the three defending forwards, into the defensive pattern. On the left of the field the opposite will be true. When the opposition attacks, they will be prevented from using the narrow or blindside. In attack, it will turn the opposition forwards infield, opening up space on the blindside to attack.

      When the ball is hooked there is no opportunity to control its delivery. The strike can be too quick for the scrum-half to recover the ball. To overcome this, the scrum-half may have to kick the ball back to a team-mate. Alternatively, another back can position to recover the ball, by standing more directly behind the scrum. The sweeper may perform this role. once the ball is hooked, the forwards must quickly align on the playmaker to give passing options. By binding under the props, the hooker is able to release quickly. it is more difficult for the props as they are bound to an opponent.

      Because of this, if the ball is won with some control, the scrum-half can often penetrate by going to the right, away from the opposition's scrum-half. once the scrurn is over, all the forwards join their teams, in attacking or defensive formations. They don't follow the ball as they would in 15-a-side rugby. The attack moves back into the attacking formation, so that they offer passing options.

      Pushing is fine, but quick release once the scrum is over is equally important, both in defence and attack.

      Ross Martin (NZL) watches the ball being thrown in the Scrum. Japan vs. New Zealand. Birsbane Sevens. New Zealand won 49-5.

      The defensive forwards occupy a zone or lane across the width of the field and align with the players already forming the defensive pattern. Alternatively they defend in a man-on-man formation. While the hooker may be able to leave the scrurn quickly,' binding would prevent the player from immediately going forward. This role in triggering off the defence pattern could fall to the loosehead prop, as the player is less bound to the scrum and may be able to leave immediately and move forward. The early release of the hooker enables this player to position in defence, on the blindside. if it is not worth contesting the ball after the hook the scrum-half may position on the blindside, especially to the right.

    • Lineouts
    • See Diagram (16) - Positioning during and after lineouts

      Seven-a-side lineouts are very similar to short lineouts used in 15-a-side. As only three players occupy a ten-metre lane there is considerable space around players.

      Consequently, players make space for themselves by feigning back or forward and then moving in the opposite direction to make the catch. Players who are physically superior to their opponents may not need to use distractions to contest the throw. if a playerjumps to catch the ball before an opponent, the space the player moves into will prevent the opponent from recovering. This is assisted by the player stepping into the space and jumping vertically. Of course, if the player is supported in the air, the position is even more stable, preventing opponents from contesting the ball. Players may support thejumper to make the catch. In most cases only one support player is used. To allow for both movement and support, the jumper moves towards the support player, who then supports the player in gaining height and stability in the air.

      There are not many lineouts, but the athletic players at the lineout will be equally athletic at other aspects of play.

      Fiji vs Australia.

      A further option is for the scrum-half to enter a gap in the lineout to catch the ball. This may be in front of, behind or between the two lineout jumpers. The scrum-half may also be used as a support player, with the thrower playing scrum-half. Support results in delivery from the lineout being more controlled than scrums. Attacking play can be made directly from the lineout because of the space available. Options using the forwards and the scrum-half to attack the defence line directly from the lineout, enables good use of the number of players grouped in this area. This option is particularly available if the opposition do not contest the throw as there is no need to support the jumper in the air. This frees the other forwards to attack immediately at the line of touch. The defensive lineout must be careful not to over-commit themselves contesting the ball. Over commitment will create gaps in the defence elsewhere.


      Lineout options

      The aim of these options is twofold. Initially, the aim is to win possession and secondly, to pass the ball to a player in space. This space will probably be created by the positioning and movement of the opposing players. These are practiced moves but they will only give an advantage at the time if the behaviour of the opposing players permits. At the immediate lineout this may be difficult. However, as players react in the same way at successive lineouts, especially If their positioning has been previously exploited, planned moves can occur at the next lineout.

      Examples of these options are as follows:

      • Throw to #1

        • Catch and run forward

        • Direct feed to the scrum half

        • Tap or feed to the #2 lineout forward peeling around the front

        • Catch and pass back to the thrower

      • Throw to #2

        • Catch and run forward

        • Direct feed to the scrum-half

        • Tap or feed to the #1 lineout forward peeling around the back

        • Tap or feed to the scrum-half running between both lineout forwards
        By spreading initially or doing so once the lineout has formed, space can be created in the centre for the scrum-haif to run in to catch the ball. Finally, a throw may be made over the back of the lineout for the scrum-half or another back.

  3. The space that is available to attack into, can equally result in a player becoming isolated by the defence. To avoid isolation supporting players must provide options for the ball carrier. The key to support is depth, so that when the ball is passed it is passed to space and the receiver can run into the space to catch and continue play.

    Decisions should have been made before this to prevent the inevitable turnover.

    Papua New Guinea vs Taiwan at the 1999 Hong Kong Sevens. PNG won 59-5.

    The support must also be in width, to spread the defence and create gaps to penetrate. Depth and width create a platform for penetration. if a player moves into contact, either to go forward and penetrate the defence or to draw the defence to create space elsewhere, the ball carrier must have in mind how possession will be retained if the attempt to penetrate is unsuccessful. This can be called the escape route. Some examples of escape routes are:

    • To evade the tackler, be tackled below the arms and use the hands to:

      • Place the ball in space

      • Pass the ball to space

      • Roll the ball back to space

    • By accepting the contact but turning back towards the tackler, screening the ball from the defender and, making the pass to supporting players.

    • By remaining standing, back to opponent, facing team-mates and making the ball available to a team-mate, who drives in to recover the ball. if the ball is loose on the ground in the zone of contact, it should be moved to space quickly, using any method available - pass, scoop or kick.

      In order to retain possession the ball carrier must be careful not to be tackled while running across field. While a defender may be evaded, it is good practice to straighten up as soon as possible. if the player cannot go -forward because of pressure, it is better to stand or back-up rather than run across field.

      Running across field takes up the space of other players and enables the defence to make a side-on tackle. Team-mates must be alert and move back into the space created.

    Free Kicks

    In general these should be tap kicks as it is more important to retain possession, than kick for touch from those awarded inside the 2-2-metre line. This depends on the state of play.

    Penalty Kicks

    The use of these also depends on the state of play. Each option has the same advantages as in the 15-a-side game, however, the reduced duration of Sevens and the space available to attack into most likely places greater emphasis on the use of the tap-kick.

    The options are:

    • Tap-kick

      • to retain possession

      • to attack immediately

    • Kick for touch

      • to gain territory

      • to gain the throw-in at the lineout

      • to delay the recommencement of play

    • Kick for goal

      • to score points

      • to delay the commencement of play, if the kick misses but the ball goes over the dea-ball line or to touch in goal

    • Long-kick

      • to put the ball behind the defence to relieve pressure

    In all kicks the advantage obtained by the kick is only as good as the pattern used to chase the ball. This pattern may not necessarily move forward at great speed, but it must be organised to reduce attacking options. Players should be alert to the options.

    RETAINING POSESSION Now the escape route to take advantage of the numerical advantage elsewhere, as two defenders have been committed.

    Cameron Pither (Australia) vs. China.

  5. The wider the player stands, the wider the defence stands and the greater the gaps between players. However, the space must not be so great that the distance and slowness of the pass allows a defender to tackle the receiver as the ball is being caught. Lateral space may be created by the formation as mentioned above. The pattern is usually to have seven players across the field aligned on the ball carrier.

    Making the ball available
    The "tripe threat" position: Run, Pass or Kick.

    Karl Tenana, star of New Zealand Sevens.

    See Diagram (1) - Lateral space

    To create linear space, teams often back up towards their own goal line while retaining their formation. As they get closer to their goal line, they become conscious of it. It becomes a psychological wall and they lose their depth.

    In doing so, the team loses its ability to attack the on-coming defence because they are too shallow to receive a pass, from which they can run forward at pao-e. it is therefore essential that teams decide on how much territory they are willing to concede in order to create space. Secondly, they must decide what their reaction should be if there is insufficient space i.e. how they are going to attack the defence. This will depend onte positioning of the opposition.

    Some options are:

    • To kick into the space between the first line of defence and the sweeper and chase to recover the ball.

    • To kick as far down the field as possible and chase. The kick should go beyond the sweeper into space. The chase is aimed to isolate the sweeper or even beat the sweeper to the ball. The sweeper will be isolated if the chase is fast and organised and if the defence is slow to get back in support.

    • To remain spread across the field and to use the kick as a fast method of 'passing' to an unmarked team-mate who is too far across the field to be passed to by hand.

    • To penetrate using the space between defenders. This will be explained in the next section.

  7. Lateral space for penetration is created by the positioning of the opposition and the depth in alignment of the attack. If the defence is grouped, space will exist on the outside, while if it is spread, space will exist between players.

    To exploit these situations, the attack should align as close to the defence as their passing skills will allow. This will reduce the defence's reaction time giving them little time to recover if they haven't'read' the attack and acted correctly.

    When a ball carrier attempts to penetrate, the extent to which the attack is forced is a matter of judgement. The ball carrier may well go all the way and score, secondly, as defenders converge, a method of transferring the ball to support must be found. Finally, the ball carrier may pull back retreating into space to avoid isolation and from this position reset play.

    Using the overlap

    See Diagram (2) Lateral space - Situation 3

    To exploit space on the outside, the attack must first decide which side to attack This will be a matter of numbers. The direction left or right will be the one in which there are more attacking players than defence. As the defence usually will have a sweeper, they will be outnumbered in their front line of defence. It is a matter of deciding which side to go.

    If the sweeper joins the front line to create man-on-man defence, linear space is left to kick the ball into and chase. To retain the overlap, each passer should commit a defender before passing. To do this, each player should drift in as they catch the ball, holding the defence on their inside shoulder.

    If the defence drifts wide to counter the overlap, the ball carrier should take the gap that has been left. If the defence is held in position, the overlap will be retained and progress made down the field.

    Patterns to use the extra man three-on-two

    See Diagram (1) Lateral space - Situation 2

    Attacking gaps between spread defenders is the same as taking the gap that a defender has drifted away from. Within a defensive line, the gap is created by the ball carrier drifting in, and the next player drifting out. This will increase the size of the gap that another player can move into.


    See Diagrams (4), (5) , & (6)

    Penetrating using the space

    If the ball carrier's defender does not continue to defend the player and drifts wide to tackle the player entering the gap, the ball carrier should take the gap. if the player stays with the ball carrier, the pass can be made as space will exist.

    This can be achieved even if the defender moves back to make the tackle. When the ball carrier takes the gap, the tackle is likely to come from the defender, who will check and tackle from the outside. The ball carrier will have forced the defence to tackle from the outside in. Space will be created in the space the tackler has moved away from. It is into this space that the pass can be made to penetrate. This will be a channel pass or a screen pass. if the next player's defender does not drift out to follow the next attacking player in the line, then the pass can be made to this player who can take the gap.

    If both defenders stay in position, the gap will exist for a third attacking player coming between them.

    Both options, the overlap and penetrating through the gap, are based on a situation in which the attack has one more player than the defence. This player threatens the gap and the defence. If the defence doesn't react the player is able to penetrate. If they do, the player they have been drawn away from can penetrate. The ability to read this situation and anticipate and react to the defence's behaviour takes much practice.

    In Sevens this is not always the case and numbers may be even. In this situation a number of different options emerge.

    Patterns where numbers are equal

    • Situation one - One-on-one

      In Sevens the situation can be manipulated to create mismatches in the attacking teams favour. By spreading across the field, the attack forces the defence to do the same. This isolates both the attacker and the defender, creating a one-on-one match up. The mismatch will enable the attacker to use superior attacking skills to penetrate. If this happens on the flanks, the defender will be able to use the touchline to drive the attacker out of play. When it because the defenders can use the touchline as an extra player and force a turnover, by gaining the throw in to the lineout.

    • Situation two - Two-on-two

      If both attackers are defended, there are a number of options that will threaten the defence.

      • Option one

        The ball carrier may initially threaten the first defender and then change direction to immediately threaten the second defender. if that defender turns to tackle the pass is made to the second attacker who is now in a gap.

        See Diagram (17) Two-on-two option - Option one

        Al has the ball, threatens Di and then D2. D2 moves towards Al to tackle, Al passes to A2 in space.

      • Option two

        If the defender stays out, the first attacker can attempt to penetrate being aware that the tackle will be made inside, i.e. the space the player has moved away from. An inside pass can be made to this space.

        See Diagram (18) Two-on-two, Option two

        Al runs at D1 and then threatens the gap between D1 and D2- D1 is forced to make a low tackle enabling Al to pass to support inside on the left.

      • Option three

        If the second defender stays out but loses alignment on the first, space is created behind. The first attacker can grubber-kick into space.

        See Diagram (19) Two-on-two - Option three

        Al draws D1 and then threatens the space between Di and D2. D2 moves forward of D1, Al grubber-kicks behind D2- for A2 to run and pick up the ball

      • Option four

        If the second defender stays out the attackers may attempt a scissors move or a dummy scissors move in which the ball may be passed to A2- or retained.

        See Diagram (20) Two-on-two - Option four

        Al threatens the gap between Di and D2, D2 remains wide to defend A2- D1 is drawn across to tackle Al. Al scissor passes to A2 who penetrates into the space D1 has moved from. If D1 doesn't move across Al retains the ball and penetrates.

      • Option five

        Al may attempt to double round A2 into the outside space.

        See Diagram (21) Two-on-two - Option five

        Al draws D1 and passes to A2. A2 draws and passes to Al on the right, A1 having doubled round Al can double round A2 to create a 3 on 2 situation. If the defence drifts across the options described in 2 VS 2 apply.

    • Situation three - Operating as a unit

      When operating as a unit the team can use the options available to any backline in the 15-a-side game, whose aim it is to put a player into space. All the same key factors apply and the 'backline' can operate without having to contend with defensive forwards. Equally, however, there are no forwards available to support the attack.

      An example

      One such pattern would be to set up two waves with one creating space for the other and offering options. These waves are difficult to establish from set pieces because there are too few players available. However they can be used when the attack is reversed, when the forwards are no longer tied up in the scrum and lineout. These waves can be set up at any time during the play.

      See Diagram (22) - Unit options


    This pattern creates a number of options. In this formation the first wave would be A1-A4 and the second A5-A7

    • Option one

      A2 passes to A3, doubles round, receives the ball on the inside and penetrates between D2 and D3.

    • Option two

      A2 passes to A3 and doubles round A3, receives the ball on the inside and passes to A5 or A6, or A7. These players can then perform 2 VS. 2, 3 Vs. 3 or 2 Vs. 3, manoeuvres.

    • Option three

      A4 may stand deep enough to receive from A2, adding a further player to the second wave.

    Using impact players

    From set pieces an impact player can be used, even though that player mcly have initially been involved in winning the ball. To enable the player to move to a penetrating position, the ball is immediately passed across the field to the player on the flanks. The direction of the attack is then reversed. The penetrator, having taken up a deep position can accelerate into a gap between two defenders to penetrate.

    It is the role of the play maker to identify favourable mismatches in attack, placing the attacking player in a one-on-one with space around, enabling the defender to be beaten.

    Team formation

    The attacking team can help itself greatly by its positioning. If it stands wide it can spread the defence, creating gaps between players. If it takes up less lateral space and the defence follows then there is space on the flanks to run extra players into. If, on the other hand, the defence remains spread, they will be forced to defend outside-in. This means that they will have to move in to make the tackle as the ball carrier threatens the gap. The space they have moved away from will now be vacant. The ball carrier can now pass into, it for a team-mate to catch the ball and penetrate. Consequently, it is not always best to spread across the field. This depends on the positioning of the opposing team. What is wrong is to bunch, especially when going into contact. if the ball carrier loses the ball, the opposing team will have space to pass, run and score. It is crucial to decide how many players will commit to ensure possession is retained and what their roles will be to ensure this. This will now be explained in Supporting Play.


    Space would seem to be available on the left, if the ball carrier can get the ball away.

    Is there support there?

    From scrum and lineout there are offside lines giving the attack linear space ahead to attack. However, once the ball has been won, the limited number of players in a Sevens match seldom create rucks and mauls. Consequently, the relevant Law is offside in general play, which places few restrictions on the positioning of the defenders.

    The defence can stand next to an attacker ready to tackle the player should the ball be passed. The threat to this positioning is the ability of the ball carrier to either kick into space ahead so the ball is recovered or to penetrate using the gap in the defence. This has implications for support play as defenders can stand in the gap between attackers, cutting off lateral passes. Should the ball carrier penetrate, support can accelerate past their individual defenders. However, if this does not occur, the defence is in a position to cut off the ball when it is passed. To overcome this, the ball carrier must attack the defensive line. This is best done by attacking a gap to draw the defender away from space, so that the ball can be passed into that space.

    To create the space, the ball carrier must evade the defender. By doing this the tackle will be low around the lower part of the attacker's body, freeing the arms to make the pass. To Use this space, the support players need only stand directly behind the ball carrier initially and run on, in the same line, as the ball carrier moves the defender away. This supporting player is often the player who hasjust passed the ball. Care must be taken not to run across in the direction of passing before supporting, allowing the defence to drift. Once the pass has been made, the player must position in depth so that play can be entered into, by running down the field and not across which is much less effective. In 15-a-side rugby, offside lines at scrum, lineout, ruck and maul give the attack linear space. These occur less frequently in Sevens. In 15-a-side, the grouping of players at ruck, maul, scrum and lineout creates space wide out. This doesn't occur frequently in Sevens either.

    Therefore, teams are no worse off if they attack from the outhalf and not positions further along the line. This is because there is no grouping of players breaking from scrum, ruck or maul that are to be avoided. But what can happen is that the defence can be drawn in when the attack attacks in a single lane, with the ball carrier creating space for the player coming from behind.

    To defend the constant probing down a single lane, the defence will have to leave their lateral positions and come in to tackle, They will then leave space laterally so that if a try is not scored by linear support by passing wide, the opportunity to score a try will be created.

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