Rugby Union

Rugby is often referred to ‘the gentleman’s game’ or a ‘beastly game played by gentleman…’

Our own Elizabeth Taylor once said… ‘I prefer rugby to soccer. I enjoy the violence in rugby, except when they start biting each other’s ears off’ – (1972) Eeeeek!!

On that note.. and with blood often shed, it’s safe to say Rugby is not the most glamorous game to watch, however… enjoyable none the less.

The game of Rugby has two separate divisions to it, Union and League. The most commonly played throughout the UK and Europe is Rugby Union, a break down of the basics are as follows.

A Rugby Union team is made up of 15 players of various shapes and sizes. From your 20-stone bulldozers to your small, pacy, speed demons, both are as equally as valued within the team. Famous players you girls may have heard of, include Jonny Wilkinson, Martin Johnson and rugby’s bright new star, Courtney Lawes.

The game is played on a grass playing field no larger than 144-70m, (including the dead ball line) with two high goal posts at each end of the field, called the “uprights”. It is played over a duration of 80 minutes, 40 minutes to a half.

In Rugby, unlike football you can run with the ball, kick the ball and also pass it. Passing must however be in a forward or sideways motion only, passing back in the game is forbidden.

The game is essentially quite a simple game, however it is the rules and regulations that make the sport appear more complex, and quite often very “stop-start” in its nature.

Rugby is very much a contact sport and to gain possession of the ball teams can tackle each other, however they must tackle below the waist, any contact about the waist is deemed as foul play.

One distinctive element of Rugby is, the scrum! It can often look like both teams are engaging in a friendly hug, in reality it’s far from that ladies!

This is the part of play where both sets of players appear to be pushing against each other, to gain even an inch of the opposition territory whilst moving the ball backwards. Scrummaging occurs when an accidental offside has occurred or the ball has been played forward.

There are 4 different ways a team can score points in Rugby. The first, gaining the most amount of points is called, “a try” where 5 points are awarded. 3 points are awarded for a penalty or a drop goal and 2 points for a conversion. The conversion is a kick that is taken after the try and takes place opposite where the try had taken place. The place kicker is the name of the player who takes the conversion and their aim is to get the ball over and in between the two vertical goal posts.

Like in Football, when the ball goes out of play in Rugby a throw in is rewarded. This is more commonly know as a “line out”. This sight is so individual to the sport and is exciting to watch.

Both teams have 8 players, usually forwards, that each line up side by side. The line out will always take place where the ball left the field. Once in formation, one player, called “the hooker” throws the ball in the air and down the centre of the line, for the “jumpers” to jump up high and catch it, therefore re-gaining possession of the ball.

All in all rugby is an easy game to master, even to the newcomer. Once the basics have been grasped, the game becomes alot more enjoyable to watch girls, accompanied of course, by those big, muscular boys in action!

Remember ladies, any terms or phrases you may be unsure of can be located in the Rugby Glossary section of the website.


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