What it Takes to Play Rugby Sevens

There are very few breaks and the fast paced atmosphere of a Rugby Sevens tournament can quickly expose those who haven’t prepared properly.

An experts insight:

While the fifteen-a-side game requires significant strength, sevens is more about speed and agility says Accredited Exercise Scientist, Simon Price.

Specific conditioning for sevens players has become a vital component in the success of a team. A good aerobic level is required, and players need to be able to handle huge amounts of volume and running.

Speed endurance is the key for a sevens player. They must have the ability to run at their top speeds for as long as possible through 20-minute game periods.

Simon provided us with an insight of how a professional Rugby Sevens player trains and prepares for tournaments.

How different is training for Rugby Sevens compared to the normal 15-a-side game?

15’s rugby plays a one-off 80 minute game covering 4600m – 7300m with 5% – 11% above 18km/hr. 7’s tournaments can consist of more than 6 games over 2 days.

Male 7’s players cover 1100 – 1700m per game with 8.4% – 20% above 18km/hr. Reaching max velocities of 26.1km – 31km/hr, with 137 – 225m above 20km/hr.

Female 7’s players cover 1050 – 1100m per game with 8.3% – 11% above 18km/hr. Reaching max velocities of 22.9km – 29km/hr, with 84 – 150m above 20km/hr

15’s rugby consist of more collisions with larger body contesting set piece, rucks, mauls and breakdowns.  7’s is a more open, expansive game consisting of fewer collisions and more repeated running efforts.

How conditioned does a player have to be? Is it all about muscle endurance to survive?

From the above information it’s important to have the ability to cover up to 10,200m with 2040m being over 18km/hr for males, and 6600m with 726m being over 18km/hr for females, over two days.

It’s also important to have the ability to sprint up to 225m for males and 150m for females.

Effective conditioning training should consider the work:rest ratio match demands of 7’s:

    • Male 7’s 1:0.3 (60sec work : 18sec Rest)
    • Female 7’s 1:0.4 (60sec work: 24sec Rest)
What type of speed/conditioning work do players do?
    • Max velocity training up to 70m with a Work: Rest Ratio 1:8-16
    • Repeated sprints over 10-30m with a Work: Rest Ratio 1:1-6
    • Accelerations/Decelerations/COD using a lot of small sided games and reactive drills
What’s some example drills of speed and conditioning for a player?

Speed              Day 1                                     Day 2

Wk 1              Max Velocity                         Incline Sprints

Wk 2              Max Velocity                         Incline Sprints

Wk 3              Max Velocity                         Incline Sprints

Wk 4              Resisted Sprints                   Repeated Sprints

Wk 5              Resisted Sprints                   Repeated Sprints

Wk 6              Resisted Sprints                   Repeated Sprints

            Conditioning Day 1                                     Day 2

Wk 1               60/30 @ 90%/30% MAS      Small Sided Games

Wk 2               60/30 @ 95%/30% MAS      Small Sided Games

Wk 3               60/30 @ 100%/30% MAS    Small Sided Games

Wk 4               30/30 @ 110%                    Small Sided Games

Wk 5               30/15 @ 110%                      Small Sided Games

Wk 6               30/15 @ 115%                      Small Sided Games

Top 3-5 tips for an amateur player looking to take their game to the next level?
    • Make training specific to the demands of the game
    • Don’t forget to improve skills as well as your physical capabilities
    • Rest and recovery is vital

IMPROVE YOUR RUBGY SEVENS GAME WITH A PROFESSIONAL:

An accredited exercise professional can assist you by guiding you through an individualised, safe and evidence-based exercise program to “bulletproof” your workouts. Get in touch with your local exercise expert today by clicking here.

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Written by Exercise Right.

We have partnered with Nike Australia Pty Ltd for this article series.

The views expressed in this article, unless otherwise cited, are exclusively those of the author, Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA). ESSA is a professional organisation committed to establishing, promoting and defending the career paths of tertiary trained exercise and sports science practitioners.

Nike had no role in the collection, analysis, or interpretation of data or research or the writing of this article.

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