Rugby is a popular game played by men and women of every race and creed, from under age five to well over fifty, in over 100 countries of the world. The basic game involves 15 players though seven-aside tournaments are also popular.
The object of the game is to score as many points as possible by carrying, passing, kicking and grounding an oval ball in the scoring zone at the far end of the field -- called the in-goal area.
Grounding the ball, which must be done with downward pressure, results in a try (worth 5 points). After a try a conversion may be attempted by place kick or drop kick. If the ball passes over the
bar and between the goal posts the conversion is successful and results in a further 2 points.
Points may also be scored from a drop kick in general play (worth 3 points) and a penalty kick (worth 3 points). The ball may not be passed forward (though it may be kicked forward) and
players may not receive the ball in an offside position. Players may not be tackled without the ball. Play only stops when a try is scored, or the ball goes out of play, or an infringement occurs. When the ball goes out it is thrown back in at a line-out where the opposing "forwards" line up and jump for the ball. Infringements result in a penalty, or free kick, or scrum. In a scrum the opposing forwards bind together in a unit and push against the other forwards, trying to win the ball with their feet. Substitutions are only allowed in case of injury and there is no separate offensive and defensive unit.
The game of rugby is really a pretty simple one, there are only 22 laws, and a few basic principles governing the game. If you take the time to understand these principles, you will well prepared to
enjoy the sport as either a spectator or participant.
Every player must be able to contest the ball. Once a team loses control of the ball, through being tackled, or by kicking the ball downfield, the rules ensure that both teams can make an attempt to gain control. As an example, it is illegal on being tackled to 'hide' or 'hold' the ball until your team can get possession, the ball must be made available for play.
Rugby is a game that is played on your feet. Once you fall to the ground, you are effectively out of the game, attempting to effect the game from the ground such as by moving the ball or obstructing a runner, is illegal.
Continuous play. Rugby is designed to minimize stoppages, so in many cases where there is a foul, the referee allows the play to continue to see if that foul results in an advantage to the
offending team. If so, the foul is called and play is stopped, if not and the other team gains a real advantage, the referee will allow the play to continue without disruption.
Safety. There are many features of rugby that ensure that it is a safe game. Though it is a contact sport and injuries can occur, they are much less frequent than in many other common American sports such as football.