Rugby Games – fast and furious!
In the traditional form of Rugby Union, rugby games are played by two teams of 15 players over a period of 80 minutes on a rugby pitch. Unlike in American Football, play is consistent during each half which last 40 minutes. The only breaks are for set pieces which are awarded when the ball goes out of play or a team has broken the rules.
Rugby Games: Player positions
Although rugby positions all have specific roles, each player will be called on to carry out offence and defence duties as required throughout the rugby game as possession of the ball changes. The teams change ends at half time and can leave the field during the 15 minute break.
Rugby Games: To start the game
Rugby games begin with a kickoff to the opposing team from the halfway line. If the ball travels beyond the 10 meter line a player from either team can catch it and players can be lifted as in a lineout to win the ball in the air.
Rugby Games: Play rugby
The rugby ball can carried by a player and passed between team mates in a lateral or backward motion but a forward pass is not allowed. The aim is to keep the ball alive and advance towards the goal line. The player must not step out of bounds and must release the ball when tackled. The ball can be kicked at any time during rugby games to gain better field position.
Rugby Games: Scoring
There are four ways to score in rugby games. A team scores 5 points with a try which is when the ball is grounded in the opponents in-goal area. The try scoring team can also kick a conversion for 2 points. Other kicks are worth 3 points, but all involve the player getting the ball between the uprights and above the cross bar. Penalty kicks are awarded after rule violations and drop goals can be scored during open play.
Rugby is a full contact team sport so their opponents can tackle them to gain possession of the ball. Phases is the term used to describe passages of play between team mates.
Rugby Games: Restarting play
After a team scores, the match restarts with a kick from the halfway line. Law breaks may result in a penalty kick or rugby scrum. The ball going out of play or a player stepping into touch results in a line out throw to the opposing team. The set pieces, scrum and lineout, are the responsibility of the eight powerful Forwards who use them to gain possession and territory.
Rugby Games: Rugby rules
Players are on the pitch throughout, even when injured they can be treated on the field as play continues around them. Blood substitutes are allowed so if a player is cut they can be temporarily replaced to allow for the wound to be cleaned and dressed.
The referee and two touch judges officiate at a rugby game, ensuring the rules of rugby are followed and they are also responsible for time keeping. Extra time is allowed for injuries, changing torn rugby gear and substitutions and the match does not end until the ball goes dead after this time has expired. Lineouts, scrums or kicks must be completed for the game to finish.
Rugby Games: Development of the game
The first rugby game took place at Rugby School in England in 1823 when a player in a football (soccer) match, William Webb-Ellis, picked up the ball and ran with it. This may not be true but the game does have its origins in the English schools and universities of this time.
World Rugby (formerly known as The International Rugby Board (IRB)) are responsible for the rules of the game, which set out what is and isn’t allowed on the field of play. The document also includes the Players Charter which seeks to protect the culture of the sport and its values of teamwork and respect.
Rugby Games: History
One of the most famous rugby games is the Calcutta Cup which has been played between the England Rugby Team and the Scottish Rugby national side since 1871. The fierce rivalry which exists between the two countries in all sports is evident in the annual rugby games which remain part of the Six Nations calendar each year.
Rugby went professional in 1995 and has benefited from a huge growth in support across the globe since that time. The Rugby World Cup first held in 1987 saw rugby games between the established teams such as the All Blacks, Spring Boks and Wallabies and their northern hemisphere cousins from the Six Nations countries. It also saw emerging nations such as Georgia, Russia, Japan, Argentina, Canada and USA Rugby competing at the top level for the first time.