A popular addition to 2017’s Festival and Games were the rugby matches. We’re excited to work with the Panama City Beach Hurricanes Rugby Football Club to bring a Sevens Rugby Invitational back for 2018.


Sevens Rugby originated in Melrose, Scotland in the 1880s, in which teams of 7-players compete in 7-minute halves, and grown in global popularity to become an Olympic sport in 2016.

Rugby is a fast-paced contact sport with few stoppages and continuous possession changes – an ideal cross between soccer, wrestling, and American football. The object of Rugby is that two teams – by carrying, passing, kicking and grounding the ball – score as many points as possible. All players on the field, regardless of position, must be able to run, pass, kick and catch the ball. Likewise, all players must also be able to tackle and defend, making each position both offensive and defensive in nature.


Legend has it that the game originated at Rugby School (hence the name) in England, when one of the pupils picked up the ball during a game of soccer in 1823. Rugby was introduced to America about 1875 and is a precursor to American football. A score in Rugby is made by touching the ball down in the opponent’s goal.

The folks with the PCB Hurricanes Rugby Football Club have given us some definitions and explanations of Rugby’s unique terms and rules.

The “scrum,” the most unique and famous play of rugby is used to quickly restart play following minor infractions during the match.  It happens when the forwards of both teams interlock, a ball is fed into the scrum, and it has to be hooked back while both teams drive against each other.

There is no blocking in Rugby. Play does not stop once a player carrying the ball is tackled or wrapped up. A player who is tackled to the ground must release the ball immediately so that play can continue.

A ruck is formed when at least one player from each team converge and bind over the ball and attempt to push the opposing players backwards to secure the ball. The ball on the ground may not be picked up by any player in the ruck.

A maul is formed with a similar gathering of players, except the player in possession of the ball is not brought to the ground (not tackled) but held up by an opponent and one of their own players.

Like soccer, in general play the ball creates the offside line that varies according to the aspect of play and players are not permitted to participate in play if they are on the opposing team’s side of the ball. Both a ruck and a maul creates offside lines through the feet of the last players on each side. Players from each team must retreat behind these offside lines if they are to take part in any subsequent play. Simply being offside is not a penalty, but attempting to participate in the game from an offside position is.  Both the ruck and the maul ends when the ball emerges and play continues.