Introduction to Rugby


What is Rugby?

Rugby if a form of football with 15 players on each team and is a full contact sport.

The object of the game is to outscore the opposing team. You score points with tries and goals. A try is worth 5 points and this is when a player carries the ball on or beyond the goal line and grounds the ball using at least one of his hands or arm in the opposing teams in-goal. 


A conversion is a kick at goal, goal posts in rugby are H shaped, to score a goal the player attempting a conversion must kick the ball either by drop kicking or a placed ball (conversion) which is awarded as a results of a try, between the posts and over the cross bar. This is worth 2 extra points.

Penalties are awarded for foul play or major infringements. The fouled team have the option of either kicking for goal (for 3 points) or to take the territorial advantage and attempt for a try.

Rugby games last for 80 minutes as appose to football which is 90 minutes.

Rugby is played by hand, however kicking is allowed. The ball can be kicked in any direction; however, it can only be thrown backwards. Players attempt to stop points being scored by tackling them. Only the player with the ball can be tackled, once tackled player can compete for the ball.

A scrum is used to restart the game after minor infringements such as a knock on (when a player miss handles the ball and it travels forward) and a forward pass.

Kick Starts - play is started at the beginning of each half by a kick off from the half way line. The ball must travel further than 10 meters into the opposing teams half.  None of the kicking team’s players can stand beyond the ball for the kick off.

Tackle – Only the player with the ball can be tackled. The tackle is complete when the player with the ball is brought to ground. This as soon as the ball carriers knee touches the ground. The tackler has to let the tackled layer immediately to his feet. The tackled player has to immediately play the ball.

Ruck – more than one player from the same side bind onto each other together with the ball on the ground between them. Players can join a ruck but only behind the the player at the rear of the ruck.

Maul – player carrying the ball is held by more than one opponent and then the ball carrier is joined by more than one of his teammates. Players must stay on their feet.

Scrum – A scrum can be formed to restart the game after a minor infringement or if the ball becomes unplayable. 8 forwards from each team are in 3 rows.

Line out – When the ball goes out of play at one of the side lines then a lineout is formed and one of the players from the team that did not touch the ball last before going out of play throws it in.

There are 2 main types of rugby, rugby league and rugby union. The difference mainly in some of the rules.

There is also rugby sevens, which are 7 a-side and last 14 minutes.

Men and woman play separate as there are no mixed teams. Children can also play rugby, which tends to be touch rugby, as appose to full contact. A player is tackled when they are touched by an opposing player.

Benefits of rugby

Rugby builds strength. All over body strength as legs, core and upper body is used. Rugby is known for discipline and can reduce stress and build self confidence. Playing rugby will also build speed and endurance.

How much does it cost?

Clubs offer summer camps for children. These camps vary in costs from £25-£50. Local teams will have places available split between age groups. Most clubs charge subs paid weekly which tend to be between £2 and £5.

Contact you local clubs for information on places and team as well as any open recruitment, training sessions or summer camps. Most senior school have a rugby team. This could be another way into the sport.



Some players choose to wear head protection; this tends to depend on what positon you play. As front row are bound by head, shoulders and arms in scrums for example.


A lot of player’s ware mouth guards (gum shields) to protect teeth from high tackles or clashes of heads or boots when on the ground.


Kit tends to be provided by the club, however training kit will be needed. Gym ware will be fine. Fitted t-shirts and shorts. They need to be comfortable and durable for pulling and tugging.


 Rugby boots are similar to football boots and many players ware football boots.