An alternative version of rugby exists in which there are only seven players a side: three forwards and four backs. Imagine Arena Football played on a full size field and consider how tired the players would get. Rugby sevens is played for only 10 minutes each way: the players would drop of exhaustion if they played any longer because they are forever running up and down the pitch. It is a very fast and open game, and also has the advantage that you can play an entire tournament in a weekend.
There is also a game called Rugby League. This is much more like gridiron but without the forward passes and blocking. It has no lineout and the scrums are generally uncontested. Each time has five downs (called “tackles”) in which to score; otherwise the ball is turned over. Yes, I said score, not make ten metres. With no blocking the running game is much more open so you gain a lot more ground. The game can be very fast, and the running patterns used very clever, but it lacks much of the complexity of the Union game, which is the one I have described.
Return to series index