Rugby Union is a game unlike any other. It combines elements of American football, soccer, and even basketball. Rugby values all sizes and shapes – large “props” and nimble “fly halfs” all have a spot on the pitch.
If you are brand new to the sport – as many Americans are – please consider these 15 Facts about First Time High School Rugby Players from RugbyToday.com:
The XV Facts To Tell Your Parents About Rugby by Allyn Freeman
- Your size is perfect for at least three positions.
- Playing rugby in high school increases your chances of playing the sport in college. (Almost every college in America has a rugby club for men and many for women.)
- Many college programs count rugby as a bona fide extracurricular activity.
- Rugby teaches safe tackling, football promotes collision courses.
- High school rugby allows time for a teenager’s body to grow.
- There are significantly fewer injuries in rugby than soccer, football or lacrosse.
- Everyone plays in a rugby game, no sitting on the bench in expensive lacrosse kit.
- Rugby teaches respect; respect the game, the opponent, and ones self.
- You can play rugby at any level and at any age until you decide to hang up the boots. Playing days do not end after high school or college.
- Rugby comprises a true band of brothers and sisters throughout the world. (The IRB lists 95 rugby-playing nations).
- You travel like any other high school team.
- There’s always the possibility of an international rugby tour to other nations.
- A team can compete in sectional, state, and national high school championships.
- Players can be selected as local, state, and national All-Stars.
- It is fun – lots of fun.
Check out some of these info videos for the ins & outs of the sport.
Players are divided into “forwards” & “backs”:
This is an excellent video that is wonderfully detailed with basic rules & how the game flows:
A little dated, but these EA Sports video does a solid job explaining the game concisely:
A full-length rugby field, known as a “pitch,” is approximately 100 meters long by 70 meters wide with a 20 meter try (end) zone. Many rugby fields in America measure 100 yards long by 75 yards wide, with try zone areas of 10 to 20 yards reflecting the tendency to use football fields. The object of the game is obvious — outscore your opponent. A player with the ball may advance the ball by running, kicking, or passing the ball. He may kick it forward, but may only pass the ball laterally or behind him. Other members of the team in possession of the ball must stay behind the ball to participate in the play. There is no blocking for the ball carrier. Any player on the pitch may run with the ball. The opponents may tackle the ball carrier at any time. Tackles must be made with the arms wrapped around the opponent’s body below the shoulders. A player may not leave his feet to make a diving tackle or to hurdle an opponent. Above the shoulder tackles, and other tackles deemed to be dangerous, are against the laws and are severely penalized.
Scoring in Rugby Union:
Rugby 7′s – the 7 v 7 version of the Union:
- Try – 5 points. A player grounds the ball in his opponent’s end zone (try zone). The ball may be run or kicked into end zone and then touched down for a score. In order for a try to count, it must be placed down on to the ground under control with downward pressure with the hands.
- Conversion – 2 points. After a try is scored, the team that scored may kick the ball through the goal posts. The kick is taken at any point on a line perpendicular to where the ball was touched down in the try zone. This can lead to some very difficult attempts from near the sidelines when the try is scored at the extremes of the try zone.
- Penalty Goal – 3 points. A team is awarded a penalty kick if the opposition is guilty of a major penalty. If the ball is kicked through the goal posts from a place kick or drop kick, 3 points are awarded. If the kicking team is too far from the goal posts to try for points, they will usually kick to gain a territorial advantage. The most common major penalties are off-sides, hands in the ruck, and falling over the ball to kill play.
- Drop Goal – 3 points. At any time during a match, a player may attempt a drop kick through his opponent’s goal posts. The ball is dropped on the ground and then kicked through the uprights. If the kick is good, 3 points are awarded.