Although rugby has been around for over 175 years many young teens and students are unaware of this sport and its intricate and abundance of rules. Rugby is one of the most physical sports in the world and requires immense amounts of fitness.
To begin, there are two main types of game play: rugby 7s and 15s. In rugby 15s, which is also often referred to as 15s, games are 80 minutes long. The clock does not stop unless there is a serious injury or at the 10 minute halftime break. The objective of the game is to score more points than your opponent. On the field, each team, comprised of 15 players, is split into two groups known as forwards and backs. There are 8 forwards and 7 backs. One unique thing about this sport is that each player has a number on their jersey to determine the player’s position. The field is 100 meters (109 yards) by 70 meters (77 yards) in which the ends are an extra 22 meters (24 yards) on each end of the field.
In addition, there are three different ways to score in rugby. For example, you can earn points by getting a try, conversion, penalty kick, or a drop goal. Tries, which are the unit of scoring, are awarded when a player places the rugby ball in the try zone while having complete possession of the ball. While players strive to progress down field and pursue their opponents try zone, the opposing team tries to prevent them by attempting to tackle the ball carrier. The offensive team may pass the ball in any backward direction to help the
down continue downfield. Tackling must be below the shoulders or a foul will be awarded to the offensive side. After a player is tackled they must release the ball. The defending team may take the ball away from the tackled player if there is no offensive player there to form a ruck. A ruck is when one or more players from each team push against each other over the tackled player. If there is an offensive player in the ruck then the defending team must contest for the ball by forming a ruck (straight on) and pushing their opponent. Players in the ruck may not handle the ball; however, a player, usually the scrum-half (a position in rugby), can reach for the ball as long as they do not come in from the side of the ruck, but rather right behind their team’s player(s) who are rucking. When a tackle is made, an imaginary offside line is created. This line is a horizontal line across the field in which the defending team cannot cross over until the ball is touched by the scrum-half which means it is in play.
Furthermore, when minor infringement of the rules occurs, a scrum is called by the referee. Scrums consists of eight players from each team. Each team organizes their scrum into three rows: the first row having three players, the second having four, and the third having one. After the scrum is set, each team pushes against the opposing side downfield as the ball is rolled in between the scrum. The ball can be retained when the ball comes out of the end of the scrum.
To conclude, rugby is an extremely complex sport played by many teens and the numbers are continually growing as rugby becomes more popular. I encourage everyone to try it out and get active with the rules of rugby.
By Tautua Pauga
Photo credits: camelbackrugby.org