OK. So just what is Rugby7s, anyway? MunichNOW’s Dan Brown explains:
The inaugural DHL Oktoberfest7s arrives in Munich on the 29th and 30th of September, bringing together twelve of the world’s best teams to compete in the Olympic Stadium. While the sport made its first Olympic appearance last year, not everyone may be familiar with the format.
As the name suggests, each team consists of seven players, down from the usual 15 in Rugby Union, the format from which sevens is derived. In keeping with the name, each half is also just seven minutes, although this is sometimes extended to 10 minutes for finals.
Either way, games are much shorter than the usual 80 minutes in Union. Much like 5-a-side football/soccer, this makes for a fast-paced, open and often free-scoring game. While purists of the sport may object, the excitement of sevens cannot be denied.
The rules are essentially the same as in Union, with five points awarded for a try, three for drop goals and penalties and two for a post-try conversion, and the pitch is regular Union size. Variations come in the form of substitutions, of which each team can make five and that conversions must be drop kicks.
Kicks offs are also reversed, with the team having just scored restarting the game rather than the conceding team. There are a few other differences that are necessary for a shorter game, but anyone familiar with Union will have no trouble following sevens.
‘Who are the big hitters?’ I hear you ask. Well, Fiji fit that description in every respect. A hugely powerful team, they swatted a hitherto impressive England team aside in the final of the Olympic Games. South Africa, who were bronze medallists at the Olympics, won the 2016-17 World Rugby Sevens Series, an annual series that takes the game around the globe.
New Zealand dominated the series following its creation in 1999 and are still a force in the game, winning the World Cup in 2014. Australia had won the inaugural tournament four years earlier, which will take place in the USA next year.
Excitingly, all of the aforementioned teams will be participating in the Oktoberfest7s, alongside other world class sides such as France, Argentina, and Ireland. Of course, locals will also have the opportunity to support their country, as Germany attempt to upset the odds.
To find out if they succeed, grab yourself a ticket from http://tickets.oktoberfest7s.com/en/. The tournament is sure to thrill old and new fans alike, and will be the perfect complement to the festival atmosphere in Munich throughout Oktoberfest.