• June 25, 2024

The Basics Of Rugby Union

Rugby union is a contact sport involving fifteen players on each team. Each match lasts for 80 minutes, consisting of two forty-minute halves plus time added on for injury. The game started in northern England, and the northern clubs were strong advocates of amateurism. They also advocated compensation for players who missed work to play matches.

Game Rules

A rugby union match is played between two teams of fifteen players. It is controlled by one referee and two touch judges or assistant referees. The match is split into two 40-minute halves with a maximum 10-minute break between each half. The game stops only when an infringement is committed or the ball goes out of play. The team not in possession tries to stop the ball carrier by tackling them, which involves grabbing hold of the opponent and bringing them to ground. The tackled player must then pass or release the ball immediately. If the ball is kicked out of bounds, a line out is used to restart play. A line out is composed of two lines, one metre apart. Only forwards can bind in the line out and a maximum of seven players can be lifted in order to catch the ball.


Forwards compete in the set pieces of the scrum and line-out and are generally larger than the backs. They need to be big enough to win a scrum, but also have the ability to run through tackles to gain territory. The second row forwards are called locks. The left lock wears number 4 while the right wears number 5. Locks are heavy hitters who scavenge possession from rucks and mauls. They can also be used as target jumpers in a line-out.

The flankers are numbered 6 and 7. They support the locks at the scrum but can play their own way in open play. They can help out with tackling and ball-carrying or attack the opposition with fast runs down the outside. They are similar to wingers but have more of a sweeping role.


Players numbered 9-15 are known as the backs, and differ from the forward pack in that they are faster, nimbler, more skilled with the ball, and tend to make most of the game’s splash plays. They also handle all of the kicking and almost all of the kick coverage. Each team has two centers – #12 and 13, which are the strongest ball runners on the backline. Inside centers like to play a hard, fast running game similar to a fullback in American football, while outside centers are quicker and more agile.

A scrum-half, who wears the number nine jersey, feeds the ball into a scrum and collects it afterwards. He also throws the ball into a lineout and supports flankers in scavenging for possession at breakdowns.


The scrum is an important part of rugby union and there are many rules that must be followed to avoid injury. For example, players must not try to collapse the scrum or wheel it one way or another. If an infringement occurs, the referee will award a penalty. The front row of each team interlocks their heads with the opposing front rows before the referee calls “crouch, bind and set.” The two sets must be an arm’s length apart when crouched and bound.

The ball is fed into the scrum by the scrum half. The feed should be made in a single movement down the center of the tunnel. The scrum-half must also ensure that the ball is inserted into the scrum straight. This is to prevent the opposition from pushing the scrum forward or getting underneath it.


The lineout is one of the most important set pieces in rugby. A strong lineout can directly lead to a team’s success in open play and is essential for winning games. To be successful at the lineout, all players must know their roles and responsibilities. They must be able to react quickly to the call and execute the required skills without thinking. Players not involved in the lineout must remain ten metres back from the lineout until it is over. This prevents players from interfering with each other or attacking the jumpers.

Two second row players known as “jumpers” are chosen to compete for the ball in a lineout. The jumpers are usually props but can be any player from each team. A third player, called the “lifter”, is used to lift the jumpers into the air and secure the ball.


Rugby union is a team sport that consists of fifteen players; eight in the front row, known as the forwards, and seven in the backs. The game is played under a set of laws and is controlled by a referee, assisted by two touch judges

James William

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