Rugby 101

Carolyn Drummond

What are the basics of rugby?

VIEW photos of a Rugby game.

With the men’s rugby club seeking recruits and warm weather gracing Kent State, it just might be time for you to get outside and grab a rugby ball. To help beginners understand the sport better, we’ve broken down the basics.

The object of the game is to score more points than the opponent by moving the ball down the field and past the goal line.

The ball can be moved by carrying, passing and kicking. However, you cannot pass the ball forward to another player. The ball must be passed backward. The ball can only move forward by running with it or kicking it.

In a regulation game, there are 15 players on the pitch from each team. Forwards are generally stronger and try to win the ball. Backs are generally quick and try to score.

There are two halves in a game. Each half lasts 40 minutes, and there is a ten-minute break in between.

There are no pauses in play during a rugby game. You don’t get time to plan a route. Play is only stopped for penalties and injuries.

The ball is always alive – even when it’s on the ground. When the player with the ball is tackled, they must immediately release the ball to the ground. Then another player grabs the ball and play continues.

Rugby has different terms than other sports too. The field is called a pitch. Your kit is what you wear. Rules are called laws of the game. A try is like a touchdown, and worth five points.

A conversion kick can add two points after a try. Teams can also score three points by kicking the ball. This can occur during regular play, called a drop kick, or because of a penalty, where the ball is kicked from a tee.

A scrum is like a face-off. It’s a specific formation of interlocked players who push each other and use their feet to kick the ball toward their teammates. Scrums occur after minor penalties. A line-out looks almost like a jump-ball in basketball. This is used when the ball goes out of play.

A ruck is when standing players from each team shove each other with the ball on the ground in between them. A maul is when players from both teams surround a player standing with the ball. Rucks and mauls give teams time to communicate and plan their next plays.

When a player is behind the ball, he or she is onsides. Being in front of the ball is called offsides. Players offside cannot play the ball.

Information compiled from the San Francisco FOG Rugby Football Club’s Rookie Primer 2.0.

Contact club sports reporter Carolyn Drummond at [email protected].