A Guide to Understanding the Basics of Rugby

Rugby is a sport that was originally created in England in the early 1800s. The exciting fast-paced action of the sport has help it rise in popularity over the years. It is currently estimated that just under 500 million people are fans of rugby, which makes it the ninth most popular sport in the entire world. Rugby can appear like an extremely complicated game to new fans, but it is actually not that hard to learn the basics of the game. Once you learn the basic rules of rugby, you will quickly fall in love with the sport.

Object of the Game

Rugby is played with two teams of 15 players on the field. Both teams are attempting to gain possession of the ball so they can move it down the field. Getting the ball to the end of the field puts the team in position to score points. The match is separated into two 40-minute halves. The players get a short 10-minute break in between the first and second halves. The team with the most points after the playing time expires wins the match. Extra time may be added to tied games in tournaments that need a definitive winner.

Moving the Ball and Defense

The rugby players have a unique set of rules they must follow when attempting to move the ball down the field. The easiest way to avoid the opposing defenders is by passing the ball to other teammates, but the ball can never be passed forward at any point in the game. A player may kick the ball forward, but this is usually only done out of desperation or when attempting to score.

The defending team will look to stop the attack by intercepting a pass or tackling the ball carrier. If someone gets cleanly tackled while holding the ball, then they must relinquish possession to the opposing team. They do this by leaving the ball on the ground so the opposing team can pick it up and quickly start their attack. A clean tackle occurs when the ball carrier is taken to the ground while being held by an opposing player.

Scoring Points

There are several different ways that a rugby team can score points during a match. The highest scoring play in the sport is called a try. This occurs when a team places the ball on the ground anywhere in the opposing team’s goal area. A try is worth a total of five points. Immediately after a team scores a try, they will also get a chance to convert a conversion for two addition points. A conversion is completed by kicking the ball through the goalposts. The location of the conversion is directly correlated with the location of the try, so teams will routinely attempt to ground the ball as close to the goal posts as possible.

It is also possible to score by kicking the ball through the goalposts at any point during the game. This is called a drop goal. The ball must be dropped on the ground before it is kicked. It must also not touch the ground before going through the goalposts in order to count. If a team successful makes a drop goal, then they will be awarded three points.

Fouls and Penalties

The rugby players must avoid committing a foul or penalty by following the rules of the game. While there are a long list of plays that results in fouls, there are a few common fouls that every new rugby fan needs to know before watching a match. Obstructing the movement of player, tackling above the waist, tackling a player without the ball and throwing the ball forward are all against the rules. Fouls and penalties on offense will results in a change of possession. An egregious penalty on defense will give the attacking team an opportunity attempt an undefended drop goal.

Now that you know the basics of rugby, it is time to start watching matches. Just be prepared to become a huge fan of the game in no time.

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