How to Play Rugby

How to Play Rugby
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Versions of Game

There are three different versions of the game: “Fifteens”, “Sevens” and “Tens”, named according to the number of players in each

team. The most common and usually played version is “Fifteens” game, composed of two 40-minute halves. Each has two groups of players – the “forwards” and the “backs”.

What is Pitch?

“Pitch” is a field for playing rugby. It is a little bit shorter and wider than American football field. The sidelines of the field are called “touchlines”. The area where a ball must be delivered for scoring is designed by “tryline” at its front and a “dead ball line” at the back.

Game Play

Before the game begins, players have to decide which team kicks off first. Usually it is determined by a coin toss. Referee’s whistle announces start of the game. In rugby every member of a team can be a kicker. Forwards of the kicking team line up on the halfway mark while forwards of the opposite team spread out behind the 10-meter line in front of the tryline, as they have to try to catch the ball. The ball must go forward not less than 10 meters and it must necessarily land on the playing field. The forwards and the kicker of the same team will start their run down the field to catch the ball while the forwards of the opposite team will try to catch it themselves. Player that catches the ball is usually surrounded by players of the same team to save the catcher from attacking of the opposite team. The second half of the game starts the same way except for the starting positions of the teams – they have to be reversed on the field.

What happens when a ball is caught by a team? Two or more teammates that have been protecting the ball are now called “maul” in the case when the ball has been held up of the ground. Same teammates will be called “ruck” if the ball goes to the ground. This is important to remember when the game comes to making up the imaginary “offside lines” at the back of the “maul” or “ruck” which extend to each touchline. Now any player except for “maul” or “ruck” is running to this zone from behind this line is considered “offline” and a penalty is awarded to the opposite team. A range of different penalties may be awarded for the rude and violent game.


The “flyhalf” is a person who, analogically to “quarterback” in American football, determines the moves the backs will do. Any player who is tacked to the ground while the ball is being run must release it immediately so two teams will have a chance for recovery. And it is understood that every tacked player will try to get it closer to his teammates. The person that will recover the ball can move it on the ground or pick it up, forming a new “maul” or “ruck”. When the player with the ball reaches and crosses the “tryline”, then touches the ball down to the ground, a 5 point goal is scored.


This sport game can get very rough. And if you choose to play it try to protect yourself with helmet, knee pads, elbow guards and a chest plate.


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