Rugby Rules

Rugby
Photo credit: M+MD (source)

Rugby is one of the most physical of sports. Internationally the pinnacle of the sport lies in the Rugby World Cup. Other tournaments such as the Tri Nations (including South Africa, New Zealand and Australia), Six Nations (including England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Italy and France) and the Heineken Cup are other tournaments which are held in high esteem throughout.

Object Of The Game

The object of the game is score more points than your opponents in the 80 minute time frame allotted for each rugby match. The team with the greater number of points at full time is announced as the winner. Games may end as a draw.

The team with the ball must move the ball up the field in ‘phases of play’. The ball can never be passed forwards but players can run forwards with the ball or kick the ball forward to chase it down. The opposing team needs to stop the attacking team by tackling and trying to retain the ball.

Players & Equipment

Each rugby team will consist of 15 players. The team is split into two groups known as forwards and backs. There are 8 forwards (positions include Hooker, Prop, Second Row, Flanker and Number Eight) and 7 backs (positions include Scrum Half, Fly Half, Inside Centre, Outside Centre, Wingers and a Full Back).

The pitch is split up into three sections; one main playing area which must not exceed 100 metres and two dead goal areas which can range from 10 to 20 m. The pitch must then be equal to 70 metres wide. The goal posts are in an ‘H’ shape and are roughly 5 to 6 meters apart with no restrictions on height.

Studded boots can be worn along with gum shields, head guards, shoulder pads and shin pads. Each team must wear the same coloured jerseys with matching shorts and socks.

Scoring

Points can be scored by one of four ways:

  • A try is awarded when a player places the ball down in their opponent’s dead ball area behind the goal. 5 points are awarded.
  • A conversion is a free kick that the team is awarded after a try to earn 2 bonus points. A successful kick needs to pass between the upper posts and top bar on the goal.
  • A penalty kick will gain a team 3 points and is awarded to a team when the opposing team causes an infringement.
  • A drop goal can be kicked out of the hand as long as the ball bounces first and can earn a team 3 points.

Winning The Game

To win the game you must score more points than your opponent within 80 minutes. Points can be scored via any of the methods mentioned above.

Rules of Rugby

  • The game is broken down into two 40 minute halves with a 10 minute rest period in between. The game carries no stoppage time and will end exactly on 80 minutes.
  • Each team can start with 15 players and up to 7 substitutes. Players that have left the field are only allowed to return if they have been treated for an injury.
  • The field must be roughly 100 metres long and 70 metres wide with a minimum of a 10 metre dead ball area. The H shaped goal needs to be 6 metres wide with no restrictions on height.
  • The field consist of the following markings; half way line, 5 metre line, 22 metre line, 10 metre line and dead ball line. Also included is a centre spot for restarting the game after a try, penalty or drop goal has been scored.
  • The game must have one referee and two touch judges. It’s the referee’s job to time keep, make decisions throughout the game and keep order on the field. The two touch judges can assist the referee with decisions and also notify the referee when players are in touch (out of playing boundaries).
  • The game will stop if a player is fouled, the ball goes out of play or a try or drop goal is scored.
  • The defending team must tackle a player by grabbing a hold and pulling them to the floor. A tackle cannot be made above shoulder height and doing so will cause the referee to award a foul.
  • Once the ball goes into touch a line out is called. Up to 7 players can enter a line out and any of these players can be lifted in order to catch the ball being thrown in. Both teams can compete to win the ball.
  • A successful conversion, penalty or kick at goal only occurs when the player manages to kick the ball through the top section of the goal. If a player is unsuccessful the ball is still in play until it crosses one of the playing fields boundaries.
  • Attacking players must remain behind the ball whilst active or run the risk of being called offside. Players not interfering with play can be in front of ball but must get back behind the ball before then again interfering with play.

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