The main concept of defending is to create a barrier with your players that prevents the opposition from scoring. As there is so much space in sevens it can be a difficult task but by adopting the technique below you should be able to stop the opposition from breaking through your line.
The defensive line should consist of 6 players in the front line and 1 player behind sweeping. The sweeper should be close enough to prevent the opposition chipping the ball over the first line of defense and far enough away to control the front line ordering players to fill any gaps. The front line should work in 3’s constantly aware of where the team mate to the left and right is and who they are covering.
As there are only 6 players in the front line they need to be constantly moving to cover the 7 opposition players. If the ball is passed one way, the team should drift to mark each player along the line the ball is being passed. Then move back the other way if the ball is passed in the other direction.
There is no off sides in sevens unless there is a tackle, so in open play the defense should push up into the opposition line being careful not to leave any gaps. This is particularly useful if the ball is passed to the wing. If this happens the defense should push up into the attacking line preventing the winger passing. This will make the winger take contact and could result in a turnover.
The sweeper should track the ball as it moves through the opposition’s hands staying on the inside of the player with the ball. This will help if a player breaks through the defensive line as the sweeper will be able to use the touchline to close the attacking player’s space. If a player breaks through the line it’s important the sweeper controls the other defenders telling them which attacking players to pick up to help prevent a try. It’s no use every player trying to tackle the man with the ball if he can simply pass to a supporting player for an easy try. The sweeper should try and shepherd the ball carrier to where they want them to go directing his teams mate which player they need to cover.