Rugby Basics

So, maybe you’ve never played before and are interested in learning. Rugby has a lot of rules, but the most important thing to do is learn the basics:


  • You cannot pass the ball forward. When passing you can only throw the ball sideways or backwards. This is one of the rules that makes rugby different from other ball-in-hand sports. If you pass the ball forward and the referee sees it then other team gets to put the ball into a scrum.


  • You can score a “try” by touching the ball down in the try zone at the other end of the field. To do this you must touch the ball down on the ground with control. Throw the ball down and you wont get any points. A try gets you 5 points.


  • If you score a try your team gets an opportunity to take a kick which is called a conversion. The kick is taken level with where the try was scored. If the kicked ball goes between the the two posts then your team gets another 2 points.


  • Penalties happen when people break rules. If your team is awarded a penalty then you can choose between kicking the ball, running with it or putting the ball into a scrum. If you have a penalty and you kick the ball out of play then your team gets the throw in. Scoring from a penalty kick is 3 points.


  • Throw ins are known as ‘line-outs’ in rugby. A player from one team needs to throw the ball between two lines of players (one from each team). The players contest each other to see who gets the ball.


  • Players are divided into ‘forwards’ and ‘backs’. Forwards are usually big, but maybe not as fast and backs are usually lighter and faster.


  • Scrums consist of a scrum-half putting the ball into the middle of both sets of forwards who are bound together in a big group. Each team pushes until the ball comes out from underneath.


  • In general players should stay behind the ball.


  • When your team scores the other team gets the kickoff.


There are a lot more rules, but these are the basics. Other things to learn about include rucks, mauls, kickoffs, offsides and kicking. A good way to learn is by watching a few games.