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rough guide to rugby

this is a very rough guide to rugby. i won’t be going into the fine points of the game or anything that could seem a little confusing. today i will be looking at scoring and moving the ball.

a game lasts for 80 minutes and has two halves. the object of the game is to score more point than the opposing team. there are two basic ways to do this: a try or a kick between the posts.



a try is scored when a player places the ball down behind the tryline in the opposition’s half of the field. this is quite similar to american football, with the only difference being that the player actually has to touch the ball down on the ground – hence many dramatic images of players diving to score a try.

a try is worth 5 points.

kicking for the posts:

there are three different opportunities when one can kick for posts. the first is when your opponent has conceded a penalty in their own half. the kicker places the ball where the penalty was incurred and attempts to kick the ball between the two posts and above the bar. this is called a penalty and is worth 3 points.

the second opportunity comes when you have scored a try. when you score a try you get given the chance to kick for posts as well. this is called a conversion. if your kick is successful you score 2 points.

the third opportunity comes from open play – if a player is near enough he can attempt to kick for the posts. the player attempting to score this way has to drop the ball on the ground and kick it as it lands (which is different to a penalty or a conversion where the ball is placed on the ground). this is called a drop goal and is worth 3 points. it is harder to execute than a penalty as the player kicking it has less control over the ball and since it is in open play it is harder find the space and the time to execute the kick.

moving the ball


all passes in rugby must travel backwards.


kicking forms quite a big part of rugby as it is used to start and restart the game. you can also launch an attack with kicking by kicking the ball forward for your players to chase. lastly, you can also force your opponent back, by kicking the ball deep into their own territory.


the most common way of winning the ball back is by tackling the opposition player who is carrying the ball. it is illegal to tackle or impede any player who is not carrying the ball. once the player who was carrying the ball is tackled he has to release the ball – if there is not enough support from his team or if the opposing team fight for the ball well, then the opposing team will win the ball back.

okay boys and girls thats all for now. next time i’ll be looking at the set plays and the individual positions.

photos 3 and 5 by fabdany.

Categories: rugby
  1. September 18, 2007 at 2:13 am

    This game sounds incredibly cool!! We unfortunately get absolutely no Rugby here in the states. I think the Drop Goal is great! So, in the middle of gameplay, the player can just put the ball down on the field on go for the kick? That’s awesome! And tackling with no protective gear! Ouch! Thanks for the post…now if only I could actually watch a game…

  2. jean pierre
    September 18, 2007 at 7:10 am

    i’m glad you like the sound of it!

    drop goals are brilliant! they aren’t used as much as one would expect, but more and more, as techniques improve, players are going for them. but yeah, right in the middle of game play you can just have a pop! 🙂 the main requirement is that the kicker needs time and space.

    its weird about the tackling thing, i mean i’m a very thing guy and even though i didn’t like tackling i got used to it. i think ’cause we play rugby the moment we start school, we quickly get used to it. that said, if you carry on playing in high school (especially if you’re one of the forwards who get involved in most of the tackles) you do need to bulk up!

    theres lots of footage on youtube – i’ll try and find some with good quality and post it here.

  3. September 19, 2007 at 10:37 am

    Chris drop-goals are very tough to score. They aren’t placed on the ground, but the ball is dropped from the hands and kicked. As well as the accuracy issue your out-half (the normal kicker) might be charged down.

    On occasion it can be great to watch but you also get teams over-using it and sometimes accusations that it isn’t “proper” rugby. I don’t really agree with that though.

  4. September 21, 2007 at 2:22 am

    I think that’s great! We have a channel here in the US called BBC America that shows a bunch of the UK shows, I wonder if they show Rugby? Thanks for the info Fence!

  5. September 21, 2007 at 2:23 am

    Of course you have to pay for BBC America though, and it’s quite expensive…

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