You would be right in thinking the man voted Rugby Players’ Association’s England Sevens Player of the Year recently would be pretty keen on sevens, the fast-paced alternative to XVs rugby, and he is. Richard de Carpentier is hooked on the game.
Many still see sevens as the ‘poor relation,’ but thanks to the inclusion at the 2016 Olympics, perceptions might change and the game is looking to get the recognition it deserves. The key is not to compare them too directly – they’re very different games – although some players do play both. De Carpentier explains that with sevens, players get the ball more, and they actually get to play the game rather than trying to run lines as often happens in the XV game. Players are able to show off their skills and still use their tactics, too. There is definitely a need for practising rugby drills for sevens because players will find themselves in more space.
De Carpentier explains that it’s a very exciting game to watch because you get to see all elements of the game of rugby, and it can get frantic, which makes for a great spectacle. Rugby How explains some of the nuances and differences in the rules. Having played both disciplines, he has a great insight into both sides.
You need to be quick, both in terms of covering ground but also making decisions quickly and reacting to the field in front of you. Players need to be switched on at all times, which is mentally draining as well as feeling the physical tiredness after a match.
If you’re keen to try sevens at your local club, try some specific rugby drills, available online from specialist coaching sites like Sport Plan https://www.sportplan.net/drills/Rugby/. It’s a game where individuals can feel very exposed, so bonding and team spirit is important.
Sevens is growing in popularity so quickly in the UK that when it came to the Twickenham leg of the tour this year, organisers put on a mini festival with music, food and drink as well as rugby, promising spectators a ‘Feast of Rugby’. The tangible party atmosphere just goes to show how much fun sevens can be for all involved.
Most of the big names in the XVs game also have a strong sevens presence on the world scene.