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At this current time there are not too many players who specialize in only the Sevens game, therefore selectors are looking at XVs players and trying to discover those who will cross over to be effective Sevens exponents.

Some of the traits to search for would be:

  • pace
  • evasion and agility
  • vision
  • long pass and catch
  • 1 on 1 tackle effectiveness
  • defensive agility and strength
  • decision making at the break down as first arrivals.

Assuming there is a squad of 12 to be named a coach could well base their selections under the following criteria:

  1. Strikers (3). These are generally forwards from the fifteens game who have the ability to carry the ball strongly, crash it up, hit the gaps, create problems by attracting several defenders, keeping the ball in contact and having the ability to off load in the tackle. However unlike ‘typical forward’ these players will need to have high levels of fitness. Flankers and bigger backs often meet this portfolio.
  2. Ruckmen (2). The Ruckman is the individual who has the ability to secure ball on the ground, turn ball over in the tackle, and retain ball in pressure tackle areas – in essence the Sevens open side flanker.
  3. Playmakers (3). Quite often an inside back from fifteens these players are the steppers and organisers with an advanced ability to make good decisions for the team and drive it around the field both on attack and defence.
  4. Speedsters (4). Nothing matches straight out speed in sevens. The more speed the better. This player may well be a key defender as the sweeper.

A strong “never say die” attitude is a good quality which will stand out in trial matches – if a player doesn’t run back on defence they probably don’t have that quality. Testing to assist selection could include speed, Beep or Yoyo and speed endurance.

Lots of games are crucial to improving at 7’s.

Specific conditioning for Sevens becomes a vital cog in the success of the team. A sound aerobic base is required and players need to be able to handle large volumes of running.

Speed endurance is the key with players required to run at top speed for as long as possible through the 14 or 20 minute game periods.

Recovery during tournaments is maximized if the athlete is well conditioned.

Player welfare

Player welfare and management during, before and after a tournament can be strong contributing factors to your success as a team. Rest, recovery, nutrition, hydration will assist with performance at tournaments. However the basic conditioning preparation will be the foundation for how well players will last in long tough tournaments.

Once players reach their threshold during a game they need to be able to push themselves. A strong aerobic base will provide for a higher anaerobic threshold.

Being able to still perform with composure and vision - while being fatigued - comes being stressed under similar conditions during training.

Constant accurate activities, working at fatigue levels help players get familiar with the game and with their teammates.


Sevens can become quite frenetic so a key quality to have in a team is quality communication. Simple calls ensure that team mates are on the same wavelength. Consistency around selection also assists with understanding and developing strong communication protocols.

Don’t stop talking at any time, even though you are trying to treasure every single breath you have.

As a coach, make sure you can get your point across quickly, with six matches in two days you need to be able to deliver your message efficiently – you do not have a week between each game.


Discipline in Sevens is crucial. A yellow card in Sevens is common and equates to a player being out of action for 1/7th of the game. By comparison you are only out for 1/8th of the game for a XVs yellow card. Further to this you now end up with six players defending a 70m width as opposed to seven. This in turn contributes to the fatigue factor if you are defending for the two minutes your player is off the field.

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