Sevens - an overview


Using space – do you penetrate, outflank or kick behind the defenders?
There are various skills that can be employed and the following should be readily available to successful sides.
• Effective footwork.
• Pace.
• Offloads.
• Switch plays.
• Circle ball and loop plays.
• Kicks to space for the chase and recovery.
Creating space – Space in front/between/behind/around.
Space in front – the space between attack and defence:
• Attackers must be aware of the distance between them and the defenders as this degree of space will condition the next move(s).
• Play close to the opposition to ‘fix’ defenders.
Space between – recognising space and creating space between individual defenders is essential to attacking play and the skill must be practised. For example:
• Isolated individual defenders, trying to control too large a zone of field, have to be spotted and taken on.
• If defenders are grouped – play around them with width of passes.
• Dog-leg in the defence line – play over the dog-leg to wider players.
• Lazy middle defenders - play wide to open gaps in middle.
Space behind –space behind defensive line:
• Distance to try line – a long kick can be used for the chase and can be very profitable if there is no sweeper.
• Distance between line and sweeper – a chip or grubber kick can be used for the chaser to recover.
Decision-making near contact:
• Play the ball prior to contact. The ball carrier must not become isolated from his support so practise pulling away from the defensive line if being isolated looks a possibility. If the tackle is inevitable, the ball carrier must dominate the collision space.
• Play through the contact with offloads.
• Play after contact with a pass from the ground or effective ball presentation for back-up players.
• Move the ball away from contact areas. There is a relatively simple but effective strategy of the ‘two pass principle’ where the ball is passed through two pairs of hands (probably scrum half and first receiver) before looking for attacking options.


Denying space – Pressure / inside to out?
• Six (or fewer) players ought to be in the primary defensive line and communication between players is critical.
• There must be an aggressive and positive press as a team unit with no dog-leg.
• Apply pressure to force the attack into (hopefully the wrong) decisions.
Inside to out?:
• Players defend the inside shoulder of their opposite number and defend in channels.
• Drift on to next channel only when communication comes from the inside, then a support tackler has the defender’s original channel covered.
• Ensure movement away from inside support once the call is made so show that the inside player has his next channel covered.
• A useful possible ploy is sending a wider player ahead of the defensive line – this ‘out to in’ movement can upset the attack when their ball carrier spots a defender ahead of the ball and ready to tackle an attacker should the attack continue.
• Maintain discipline as a team and work together with confident communication.
• Organisation will only come from recognising strengths and weaknesses, e.g. where are their quicker players and how do we defend against them?
The ability of players to move laterally across field at speed while remaining organised is critical. With a wide attack, disorganisation infield can be exploited with changes of direction whilst the outside space is being closed down.



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