RUGBY - THE BASICS
Rugby has the contact of football, speed and skills of basketball and strategy of chess. Two teams of 15 players play it with 7 substitutes. A referee and 2 touch judges control the game. The game has 2 halves of 40 minutes each. Each half is started with a kick off. The clock only stops for an injury and time is added on at the end of each half. The object of the game is to out smart your opponents through strategy, strength and fitness. React to you opponent’s decisions and then dominate in order to retain possession. You may pass the ball backward to a team player; kick the ball forward in order to advance up the field and score more points than the other team. The ball is bigger and rounder than a football.
Players are encouraged to develop their own skill for the benefit of the team. All players need to show commitment in defense and speed and agility on attack. They need to think on their feet for 80 minutes, therefore fitness is a key factor in rugby.
In rugby anyone can play the ball and anyone can score. You may pass it, run with it, kick it or tackle an opponent who has it. The ball cannot be passed forward, - rather the ball moves backwards and laterally from player to player, or it may be kicked forward creating a race to be the first to the ball. There is no blocking in rugby. No player may shield or protect the ball carrier, and only the player with the ball may be tackled. Once tackled, the ball carrier must release the ball making it available to any player on either team (this is when rucking occurs)
Try: Similar to a touchdown (in football) but with a significant difference. A try is accomplished by bringing the ball onto your opponent’s in-goal and touching it to the ground. Control, downward pressure, and simultaneous hand/ball/ ground contact are essential (5 point)
Conversions: After a try, the scoring team can get an additional 2 points by placekicking or drop-kicking the ball through the opponents uprights and above the crossbar. The kick is made from any distance back, but in line with where the ball was touched down.
A scrum is a formal conglomeration of forwards who bind together in a specific position when a scrum down is called. It is the basic set formation of rugby and occurs after various infringements of the law or the ball becomes tied up. A scrum down begins when the (# 9) puts the ball straight into the space between the two front rows (tunnel). By combining a driving push and quick foot strike by the hooker, each team attempts to win the ball. After the hooker strikes the ball, it is then channeled back to the # 8 who lets it out to the scrum half (who has moved to the back) or breaks off and picks it up. By driving forward and wining the ball, it gives momentum to any subsequent offensive move.
RUCKS AND MAULS
The more spontaneous version of a scrum is rucks and mauls, which can occur at any time. A ruck is when at least one team player from each team binds over the ball on the ground, like a scrum the ball may not be handled until it leaves the ruck. A maul is when at least one player from each team binds around a player standing with the ball in their possession.
If the ball is kicked, carried or otherwise escorted into touch (out-of-bounds), the other team then gets to throw the ball into the “lineout”. The forwards from each team line up parallel to each other, five meters from the touch line. One player stands on the touchline and throws the ball between the two lines (the tunnel), and then the forwards from both teams leap up to grab the ball. The ball can be thrown any distance as long as it is thrown in straight. Teams will use signals to let their players know where the thrower intends to throw the ball. Certain players in the line out are designated jumpers, usually the lighter players with the others being supporters and protectors.