Rugby is becoming more and more popular but if you don’t know the rules well how can you follow a game on television.
You play rugby in sports shirt shorts and boots with studs and you wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth. The ball is an oval shape and looks almost like an egg. Because rugby is a British game there are a lot of English expressions.
To make it a bit more complicated there are two versions of rugby.
- Rugby union and
- Rugby league
We will talk about rugby union.
Rugby played the pitch is about the same size as a football pitch. On the pitch, there are a number of lines. We start with the halfway line from this line the game is started or restarted after someone has scored. Next is the ten-meter line. After the kickoff, the ball must cross this line. Then there is the 22-meter line. This line marks the defense area. Next is the try line or goal line. Behind this line, you can score a try. Also along the goal line are the rugby posts two vertical posts and a crossbar. The last line is the dead-ball line and marks the end of the field.
On the sides, you find the 5-meter line and the 15-meter line. During a line out the players must stay between these lines.
Game duration and Players position
A game is 40 minutes each way and has a halftime break of about 5 minutes. A rugby team has 15 players. Eight of them play forward these players form the scrum and the lineout and do the more heavy work. Next, you have five players who do most of the fast running. They are called the 3/4 one player is called the scrum-half and they connect the forwards with the ¾. And the last player right at the back is the fullback.
How to play Rugby?
You play rugby with your hands and feet most of the time you hold the ball in your hands. But rugby is a team sport so at some point you have to pass this ball to your teammates. If you pass you are only allowed to throw backward. And you do this mainly by performing an underhand throw. You may pass as much as you want. When you kick the ball you are allowed to kick the ball forward. So you can gain territory.
How to score points in Rugby?
There are several ways to score points. The most important way is to score a try. You score a try when you place the ball on the ground behind the goal line of your opponent. For this, you score five points. Because you scored a try, a member of your team may now kick the ball between the two vertical posts and above the crossbar. This is called a conversion. This is an extra two points. So together you score seven points.
If the referee awards you a penalty kick, your team can choose between starting the game again or kicking the ball between the posts. If you should score your team is awarded three points.
You can also get points during an attack by performing what they call a dropkick. You kick the ball between the posts scoring a drop goal. This is also worth three points.
Suppose you throw the ball forwards or you drop the ball and it moves forward, in both cases the referee will indicate that a scrum must be seen. A scrum is a restart after a foul such as this. The forwards of both teams stand in a specific formation against each other.
Next, the scrum-half throws the ball exactly in the middle of the scrum and both teams start pushing as hard as they can to get possession of the ball. At the same time, they use their feet to move the ball backward. While the ball is in the scrum you are not allowed to touch it with your hands. When the ball comes out of the scrum the scrum half passes it to one of the waiting players and the next attack begins.
Of course, the ball can go out of touch. If the ball is out because it’s kicked out or because a player holding the ball is tackled and falls across the touchline or if the foot of a player holding the ball is on the touchline, the game will be restarted with a line out.
To form a line out the forwards of both teams stand in separate lines between the 5 and 15-meter lines. The ball is then thrown exactly in the middle of the two lines of players. The player who can jump the highest and they may also be lifted by their teammates can catch the ball or tap it to their scrum-half. With possession of the ball, they can continue with the game.
What’s fun about rugby is that you can stop players by tackling them but you can only tackle a player who is in possession of the ball. And you are only allowed to use your hands, arms, and body. You can grab the player with the ball anywhere except their neck and head. You’re absolutely forbidden to kick them. If you do that the referee will send you off the field immediately.
The best way to tackle a player is to hold them around their waist or legs so that they fall.
A Maul and a Ruck
During a game, you will often see two situations a Maul and a Ruck. During these game formations, players often make a foul. So a referee has to intervene.
But what is a Maul and a Ruck?
Suppose a player carrying the ball runs into a player who wants to tackle them. But instead of falling to the ground they remain standing. Players of both teams will immediately join this formation and the ball is somewhere in the middle this setting is called a maul. The player with the ball will try to turn their back on their opponents and make the ball available for their teammates. If the mall takes too long the referee will decide for a scrum.
A ruck is formed after the player with the ball is tackled and the players fall to the ground. During this moment in the game two very important rules come into play.
- The player who made the tackle must let go of the player who was tackled.
- And the player who was tackled must release the ball immediately.
Players of both teams will bind as a unit with each other over the ball and try to win the ball with their feet and by pushing back the opposing players.
There are several ways to be offside. The most common way is during a maul. When players are struggling to gain possession of the ball. During this formation, the ball forms an invisible line across the field this is the game line. If you pass this line you are offside and the other team will get a penalty kick.
Though rugby is a physical and sometimes rough sport a rugby player even at the top of their game has respect for their opponent and certainly for the referee. Whatever the referee decides you never contest their decision. After every game, you pay your respects to your opponents but also to the referee by applauding for them and shout hurrah when they leave the field.