What is Rugby?
Rugby is a free-flowing game that features a combination of strength, speed and strategy to move a ball into an opponents territory. Rugby is a full-contact sport yet players wear little-or no protective gear. Rugby evolved from football (i.e. soccer) and is often called the ‘game played in heaven’.
The most unique aspect of rugby is the srcum, pictured below, which is used to restart play following minor infractions during the match.
Field, Time and Teams
The field of play does not exceed 100 meters in length and 70 meters in width. Each in-goal does not exceed 22 meters in length and 70 meters in width. The side-lines are referred to a touch-lines.
There are numerous other markings in a rugby pitch. Two important ones are the 5 meter line (which runs parallel to the touch line and is important for line-outs – see below) and the 22 meter line which is parallel to the goal line (this marks a defensive boundary; a player between his own 22 m line and his goal may kick the ball directly off the pitch in defense).
Two 40-minute halves with a five-minute half-time and no time-outs. Any time lost due to tending injured players on the pitch is added to the end of each half.
Fifteen players on each team with 7 substitutions. Once a player is substituted, they may not return to the game unless the substitution was to stop bleeding (i.e. bloddy nose). All 15 players may run, kick or pass the ball (forward passing is not permitted).
The 15 players are divided into two groups (discussed in more detail on the Player Positions page):
Game Playing and Scoring
The goal of rugby is to move the ball forward by running with the ball or kicking. The team which scores the most points (see below), wins the game.
A match begins with a kick-off from mid-field which must travel at least 10 metres. Play is continuous and free-flowing. There are no “downs”, no designated offensive and defensive teams, no blocking and no automatic “turn-overs” of posession. The ball usually marks the offside line.
The ball may be advanced by running or kicking. Passing with the hands cannot be forward but can be lateral or backward. Players without the ball cannot be tackled or interfered with in any way (this includes a player who has just kicked the ball).
When a player is tackled to the ground, the ball must be released and the player must move a way from it; play continues without stoppage. A “ruck” or informal scrum (see below) forms over a tackled player without stoppage of play.
Their are 4 ways in which a team may score points in rugby: