Rugby is a full-contact sport played internationally by men and women. Rugby combines the rules of football and soccer. The object of the game is to score more “trys” than your opponent by advancing the ball down the field by either passing (backwards or laterally only) or kicking forward and retaining possession. Games are called matches and the field is called a pitch. Matches are 80 minutes long (two halves) with a 10-minute halftime. The ball is similar to a football however it is longer, wider and does not have laces. Once a player is substituted you are not permitted to re-enter the game (unless for safety reasons).
Rugby originated in Europe during the mid-1700s as a different version of football at a boarding school (Rugby School) in Rugby, Warwickshire of the United Kingdom. Over the years this game evolved into the rugby we play today. Rugby is the national sport in several countries including New Zealand, South Africa, Wales and Fiji.
There are two main positions in rugby — forwards and backs. There are eight forwards, (also known as the pack), six backs and one scrumhalf. The scrumhalf is like a quarterback in football. They control the ball and direct their team on the pitch. The scrumhalf must be very fit and a good communicator.
Games are played with 15 players per side. Jersey numbers refer to your position. For example, jersey #1 is a position known as the loosehead prop. You are only allowed eight substitutes.
All the positions on a rugby team are as follows:
- Loose Head Prop
- Hooker (because they hook the ball back with their foot)
- Tight Head Prop
- Blindside Flanker
- Openside Flanker
- Left Wing
- Inside Center
- Outside Center
- Right Wing
Rugby scoring is similar to football. Instead of touchdowns, you score a try that is worth 5 points. You can attempt to “convert” this score to 7 by kicking the point after, worth 2 points. Therefore, the extra point is called a conversion. To score in rugby, you must cross into the “try zone” and touch the ball down.