THE GAME OF RUGBY

FORMAT

Rugby Union 15s 

  • Traditional version

  • Fifteen players per side

  • Two, forty minute halves (eighty minutes per match)

  • Ten minute halftime

  • One match per day

  • Everyone tackles, runs with the ball, catches, passes, and scores.

Rugby 7s

  • Olympic/Tournament version

  • Seven players per side

  • Two, seven minute halves (fourteen minutes per match)

  • Two minute halftime

  • Multiple matches per day

  • Everyone tackles, runs with the ball, catches, passes, and scores.

 

JERSEY NUMBERS

As seen in the two images below, athletes are numbered based on their position. Forwards are generally larger, stronger players, whose general job is to gain possession of the ball. Backs are traditionally faster, more agile athletes who are generally tasked with moving the ball quickly. 

SCORING

Scoring is similar to American football.

  • 5 points - A try, similar to a touchdown. Unlike football, the ball must be touched down in the tryzone in a controlled manner to score.

  • 2 points - A conversion of the try, where the ball is kicked through the uprights, is taken from where the ball is touched down in the tryzone.

  • 3 points - A goal kicks through the uprights, where either a penalty kick or drop goal is taken. 

REFEREES

Referees are highly respected in rugby. Only the Captain for each team is allowed to talk to the referee. Referees are addressed respectfully as 'Sir' or 'Ma'am' and are tasked with keeping game legal and upholding the flow of play. Referees will conduct ongoing communication with the players during the match and direct them to act in order to avoid penalties or delays in play. 

POSITIONS: 15s and 7s

Positions-in-Rugby-15s.png
Positions-in-Rugby-7s.png
 

COMMON PENALTIES

  • Tackling the ball carrier above the shoulders.

  • Leaving the feet during a tackle.

  • Spearing the ball carrier or not wrapping the ball carrier in a tackle. 

  • Throwing or hitting the ball forward

  • Keeping a tackled player from placing the ball on the ground for teammate to recover.

  • "Blocking" for the ball carrier or shielding the ball carrier to prevent a tackle.

  • Joining a competition for the ball from the side, rather than onsides.

  • Arguing with the referee or bad sportsmanship.

IMPORTANT RUGBY CONCEPTS

  • Meters - The measurement system for placement of each marking on the field.

  • Advantage - Continuing to play through an penalty to score before the penalty is enforced by the referee.

  • Foul Play - Unnecessary or overly aggressive physical contact against the opposing team

  • Staying Onside - Staying behind the ball, as well as "getting back 10" meters when on defense in a penalty.

  • Rolling Away - The tackler must make a valid effort to roll away from the tackle area to not infringe on the offense's right to the ball after the tackle.

  • Competing for the Ball - The time where each team may challenge for the ball in live play. Players must remain on their feet and approach from their own side of the ball.

  • Kicking for Touch - Kicking the ball in the air in an effort to gain territory, get out of defensive danger with the goal of resecuring the ball further downfield.

 
 

COMMON TERMS

  • Try - the main objective of the game, to touch the ball down in the opponent's in-goal area (tryzone) for a score worth 5 points. Unlike American football, the ball must be touched to the ground for the points to be awarded. Tries are the origin of touchdowns in American football. 
     

  • Tryzone - the in-goal area where tries are scored. 
     

  • Conversion - a kick worth an additional two points offered to the scoring team immediately after a try. Conversions must be kicked in line with where a try was scored. In rugby sevens, players may not place the ball on a tee and must kick the conversion using a drop-kick (tossing the ball above the feet and kicking it before it hits the ground). 
     

  • Penalty - a kick worth three points awarded to a non-offending team when their opposition commits a penalty. 
     

  • Touchline (similar to sideline) - when the ball moves out of bounds or outside the field of play. 
     

  • Tryline - the goal line the separates the area where a try may be scored and the remaining field of play 
     

  • Tackle - A tackle occurs when the ball carrier is brought to the ground and held by one or more opponents. A ball carrier must release the ball immediately following the tackle. Unlike American football, play does not stop when tackles are made. 
     

  • Ruck - A ruck is when the ball is on the ground and at least one player from each team closes around it while on their feet. The ball cannot be handled in the ruck, players must move it until it reaches a teammate's hindmost foot and can be picked up. 
     

  • Maul - When the ball carrier is held by one or more opponents and one or more of his or her teammates bind on as well. The ball must be off the ground, a minimum of three players must be involved. 
     

  • Lineout - A means of restarting play after the ball falls out of the field of play (touchline). Forwards assemble in a line on each side where one team's hooker throws the ball straight in the middle. Each team uses various formations to lift players up, retrieve the ball and put it back in play. Which team's hooker throws the ball into the lineout is circumstantial. 
     

  • Scrum - A means of restarting play after an infringement. Each team's forwards bind together and connect with an opposing team's forwards. The ball is thrown into the middle of the tunnel by the non-offending team's scrumhalf. Both team's hookers use their feet to try and move the ball while also pushing the other team backwards until the ball reaches the hindmost leg of one of their teammates where they can claim possession. 
     

  • Sin Bin - when a player is removed from the game and forced to sit out for ten minutes (rugby fifteens) or two minutes (rugby sevens) for dangerous play or serious infringements.