Established as a sport in 1883, Rugby 7s was seen by most as a bit of fun to wind down the season. Now it is taken very seriously and is considered important in the development of players and a great stepping stone to the full 15-man game.
Craig De Goldi of New Zealand during the New Zealand v Samoa men's Rugby 7's semi-final cup match at the City of Manchester Stadium during the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
Rugby 7s first featured on the Commonwealth Games program at Kuala Lumpur in 1998, with 18 countries participating in the inaugural competition. Continuing its popularity, the sport featured again four years later at the Manchester Commonwealth Games.
Now played in over 100 countries, Rugby 7s is the compulsory men's team sport in the Commonwealth Games.
In Previous Games
New Zealand beat Fiji in the gold-medal match at both Kuala Lumpur and Manchester while Australia, host country in 2006, won bronze at the inaugural event. South Africa finished third in Manchester defeating the Pacific Island nation of Samoa.
At Melbourne 2006
The game of Rugby 7s is fast and furious, both when a match is in progress and in terms of the overall competition.
All the action takes place in two seven-minute halves, a new match starts every 22 minutes and the whole tournament of 42 matches finishes in two days.
Pool composition is determined by the International Rugby Board (IRB) with reference to the official IRB Sevens seedings, performances in Rugby World Cup (RWC) 7s 2005 qualification tournaments, IRB World Sevens and regional sevens competitions. The top sixteen teams will be allocated to two pools.
The IRB World Series is halfway through, with the Dubai Sevens, George (South Africa), Wellington (New Zealand) and Los Angeles tournaments having been completed. Hong Kong and Singapore are two and three weeks after the M2006 Games, respectively.
While defending Commonwealth Games champions New Zealand comes into the competition as top seed, the current Rugby World Cup Sevens champions Fiji is in blistering form following a strong build up on the IRB Sevens circuit.
Ably led by the irrepressible Waisale SEREVI, 37, in the past two Commonwealth Games competitions the flying Fijians will this time be pinning their hopes on the old master's apprentice, the exciting William RYDER.
And while strong performances can be expected from nations such as England, South Africa and Australia, don't be surprised by an upset or two from the likes of Tonga, Samoa or the Cook Islands. Such is the unpredictable nature of the Rugby 7s format.
Telstra Dome (TEL) provides an intimate viewing of rugby and has proven to be a popular venue for the sport, as illustrated by the record sporting crowd when the British and Irish Lions played rugby there in 2001, the seven matches of the 2003 Rugby World Cup and the annual Test match.
The closed roof makes for a special atmosphere and protection from the elements. The roof will be closed for M2006, making it the first world-level Rugby 7s tournament to be held indoors. If capacity (or near) is reached at any session then it will be a world-record crowd for a Sevens Tournament.