What to Know about Rugby

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What to Know about Rugby

New Zealand All Blacks celebrating a win

New Zealand All Blacks celebrating a win

Photo Credit: ABC News Online

New Zealand All Blacks celebrating a win

Photo Credit: ABC News Online

Photo Credit: ABC News Online

New Zealand All Blacks celebrating a win

Hannah Wavrek, Sports Editor

Rugby is an extremely popular sport overseas and is now gaining worldwide attention. Many Americans believe that rugby is a version of football, but in reality, it is a game all its own. Since its foundation in 1823 in England, the sport has continued to gain momentum.

A rugby match is 80 minutes in length with two 40 minute halves. There are two sides with 15 players each and 6 available substitutes.  Players wear jerseys, shorts, cleats, and mouth guards.  They do not wear pads even though it is one of the roughest sports to play, arguably harsher than football.  They play on a football-shaped field with one large, oval shaped ball.

Traditional rugby ball

Photo Credit: Sports Ball Shop UK Traditional rugby ball

There are two main ways to start game play. The first is called a lineout.  This is when each team stands in two lines perpendicular to the edge of the field.  The ball is thrown in the middle of the lines, and the team that catches the ball first can begin attacking to score. They can get the ball or block the other team by jumping and lifting each other up.

The other way to begin play is in a scrum.  This entails each teams 8 forwards binding with each other. The ball is then rolled under the scrum and players push for position to get the ball out, using only their feet.  This is an important aspect of the game that requires much finesse. At the international level, scrums can have 3.5 tons of pressure from players pushing.

Rugby scrum

Photo Credit: Playbuzz.com
Rugby scrum

The goal of the game is to outscore the opposing team, and points can be gained in many ways. The most common is a try.  Worth 5 points, a try is when a player carries the ball over the try line, a line similar to an end zone.

There are also goal posts with a cross bar in between.  Kicking a ball through these after a penalty is worth 3 points, and kicking the ball through them after a try, called a conversion, is worth 2 points.

There is also the option of a drop goal.  A player can punt the ball from anywhere on the field into the goal posts.  Worth 3 points, this is usually seen near the end of the game as an attempt to take the lead.

As it is physical game, tackles are allowed in rugby.  Only the person with the ball can be tackled, and if they maintain control of the ball, they can get up and keep running.

The main ball rules are that you can kick it to teammates wherever you want, but passes can only made backwards.  They are usually while running and underhand.

Rugby is clearly different from any other sport.  It is a fast-paced, rough game with passes back and kicks forward.  With this quick progress, it is easy to see why it is getting more and more recognition.

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