Rules, Positions and Points
In order to understand the game that I have fallen in love with and have played for the past 7 years, you need to know some of the aspects of the game. Knowing some of these basic rules will help jump start your rugby IQ at an early part in your rugby career.
Rugby is played with 40 minute halves with a running clock just like soccer. There are a ton of small yet very important rules that surround the game of Rugby, however most beginners are just told a few obvious and important rules they must know in order to play. As beginners spend more time playing, watching film and just learning from the coaches and veterans on the team they will pick up more of the smaller rules. For example, when I went to my first ever Rugby practice back in 2013 which was my Junior year in highschool I was only told that the ball could only go backwards. The rest of the rules I picked up by asking questions and listening to my coaches and the experienced playersI played with. I have now been playing for 7 years and am coming to the realization that my time as a player is coming to an end in May once I graduate.
- One the most important rules is that the ball must be thrown backwards or laterally to your teammate; you can not throw it forwards at any point in the game or it is a penalty which is called a knockon. The only way the ball can go forwards is if you kick it.
- When scoring you must cross the goal line just like football, however you must apply downward pressure on the ball to the ground. Just running across the goal line does not count towards.
- When tackling an opposing player you must tackle below the chest. This rule is made for the safety of both the offensive and defensive player. Once again if this rule is not followed a penalty will be enforced.
- When tackled the game keeps going, which means there is no huddles or stoppage of play. You as the offensive player must lay the ball back to your side of the field; in which players from your team will come to you and make a wall over your body and the ball to protect it from getting stolen by the defense.
- A scrum is when both packs (numbers 1-8) come together and form a bridge by engaging the front row of each team. This is one of many ways to restart from a penalty.
- A ruck is when an offensive player is tackled and the players from that team make a wall over the player and ball.
This link explains the rules and has a more indepth explanation of scrums/rucks. The rules can be very confusing at first however, once you start practicing and playing you understand why they are in place and they become more of a second nature to you.
In Rugby the game is played 15 on 15, so if you do the math there are 30 people on the pitch at one time. Instead of calling the playing ground a field like most sports it is called a pitch. With 15 players that means there are 15 positions which all have a crucial role on the team. The front 8 players are called the pack which is usually made up of the larger players on the team. The other 7 players are called backs, these are usually the smaller and faster players on the team.
This link shows the positions and what each one’s role is on the pitch. The goal is to get it to the backs (numbers 9-15) so they can use their speed to score. This game is made for all shapes and sizes, the skill levels vary however that changes rather quickly if you are willing to learn and listen to the players and coaches who have experience. For example, I have always been the smallest player on the team however my speed and IQ of the game has helped me become a continuously reliable player on the field. https://www.ruck.co.uk/rugby-positions-roles-beginners/
There are 4 ways to score points in Rugby.
- Scoring a Try is when a player with the ball crosses the goal line and applies downward pressure on the ball to the ground. This is worth 5 points
- Kicking for the extra conversion. This is done after a player scores a Try and this is worth 2 points.
- Kicking for points/penalty kick. This is when a penalty is given for the offense to take advantage of. The offense can either elect to keep the ball and tap and go, or they can kick for points. If the team decides to kick for points it is worth 3 points if they make it.
- Drop Goal. This is when an offensive player drops the ball to the ground and kicks the ball as it bounces back up. If made through the uprights it is worth 3 points.
The main way points are usually scored in a game are by Tries and kicking for the extra conversion. https://passport.worldrugby.org/?page=beginners&p=4 This link is through the same website as the one from the rules. This link may be used to understand the game in a better light. These subsections of the game will help you understand the basic concepts of the gamer and will enable you to start playing with ease. The majority of this info I had no idea about before my first practice. Understanding these areas will make the game more enjoyable to play and/or to watch.