In this time of lockdown, we bring you a hypothetical variant of the game, and ask who you would select in your 5-a-side team made up of former and current Vodacom Super Rugby players?
This game adapts most of its rules from Rugby X – the version of the sport invented by former Fiji Sevens coach Ben Ryan.
This suggested the five-a-side game would differ from rugby sevens with teams consisting of only two forwards and three backline players, with one injury substitution permitted if absolutely necessary.
Matches would last 10 minutes, without a half-time break, while pitch dimensions would be slightly more than half the size of a normal rugby field – 68m x 40m.
Unlike Rugby X, this format would be played outdoors and not confined to being played without traditional goal posts. There would only be two scoring units, namely: 5-point tries and 2-point drop goals. No conversions and penalty kicks would be permitted, adding to the excitement and fast-paced nature of the game.
Each five-man starting team would consist of a hooker, loose forward or lock, scrumhalf, flyhalf and a sole outside back. The permitted injury replacement would thus have to be a utility player that could cover multiple positions if called upon.
The only form of kicking allowed in this format would be drop goals, chips and grubber kicks and the usual restarts after points are scored. Box kicks, up-and-unders or any kick over 10m in height would not be permitted, with officials being notified of such offences using ball-tracking technology – much the same as in the game of Rugby X.
Kick-offs take place as in traditional rugby union, while restarts after points are scored operate the same as rugby sevens, with the team which has scored returning possession to their opposition via a drop-out.
Set pieces in this format would work as they do in the game of rugby sevens, with the exception that the loose forward or lock would lift the scrumhalf during lineouts, with the hooker assuming that role following the throw-in. There are only two-person scrums, consisting of the two forwards, with both pushing and hooking allowed.
As in Rugby X, if matches end in a draw after 10 minutes they are settled by a ‘one-on-one’ scenario involving one defender on his own tryline and one attacker 4m from the halfway line, in his opponent’s half. The attacker has 15 seconds to score. If teams are level after three rounds, a sudden-death penalty shootout takes place – if Team A scores, Team B must then score or Team A wins the match.