Rugby sevens is different from rugby 15s. It is a shorter, faster version, where team's play multiple games on a day. Its rugby union's fun cousin that comes to the front of mainstream rugby consciousness a few times a year.
The rules in rugby sevens are quite different from the normal rugby 15s too. A standard rugby union match lasts for eighty minutes, but in a rugby sevens game, there are two halves of only seven minutes each. Also, instead of the usual eight substitutes allowed in international matches, teams can use five players off the bench. As there are less than half the numbers of players than 15s, it is more of an open, running type of game.
The first recorded instance of something recognisable as a rugby sevens match was in 1883 at Melrose in Scotland. Several Scottish clubs against English expatriates took to playing seven-a-side games as a way of keeping fit during the winter.
The first formalized competition took place at Edinburgh's Royal Mile on October 12th, 1883 .
The first sevens tournaments outside of Scotland were both played in Paris at the Parc des Princes. The first took place on May 4th, 1954 and was a joint event between Racing Club de France from Paris and the Barbarians from England.
The first official rugby sevens championship occurred in Scotland, at the 1973 International Seven-A-Side Tournament, with New Zealand winning. The first Sevens Rugby World Cup took place in April 1993 in Scotland. England made the home nations proud by beating Australia in final.
The first men's World Sevens Series was in 1999. New Zealand men's have won the most (13). New Zealand women's have won 5 Sevens Series since winning the first series, during the 2012/2013 season.
In 2005, rugby sevens was approved as an Olympic sport. The Fijian men's side have won gold at the last two Olympic games and the New Zealand women's side beat France in Tokyo to claim gold at the most recent Olympics, in Tokyo.