In 1823, William Webb Ellis started a game that was to become the world’s most popular team sport – rugby. Throughout the 1900s, the game was played in more countries than ever before, with millions of people tuning in to watch international tournaments.
Today, rugby is played in over 120 countries. And despite its fall in popularity compared to soccer, football, and other sports, it’s still a thrilling game that all can enjoy. In this article, we’ll tell you all you need to know about rugby, from the rules, to where and how to get started playing.
What is Rugby, Exactly?
Rugby is a physical, full-contact sport played between two teams of fifteen players. It is also known as ‘rugby union’ and ‘rugby football.’ Most games consist of four quarters (called “periods”) that last roughly 40 minutes each with unlimited substitutions allowed at any time during them.
At its core, it’s a game that requires an immense amount of endurance and strength from its participants. The goal is to carry the ball across the opposing team’s goal line and to try and score points. This can be done through various techniques, like kicking goals or by grounding the ball (i.e., placing it down on the ground with one hand) in their opponents’ in-goal area for five points. If a team wants to try for seven points, they can pass the ball to another player who will attempt to carry it over the goal line.
The game combines elements of both American Football and Soccer—it offers exciting plays similar to football while requiring players to move the ball up their opponents’ territory, much like soccer, though there are no boundaries on how they choose to do so.
There are some rules, however. Players must adhere to strict rules regarding how they tackle, pass and kick, making rugby a highly strategic sport.
Is Rugby a Dangerous Sport?
While some may think that rugby is a dangerous sport due to its hard-contact nature, safety measures have become increasingly stringent over time, allowing more people than ever before to play without undue risk.
Especially compared to extreme sports like skateboarding or skiing, rugby doesn’t typically pose a significant risk of injury. As long as players are following the rules and wearing the necessary protective gear, they should be able to play without sustaining any major injuries.
Techniques Every Player Needs to Learn
In rugby, there are two distinct categories of players: forwards and backs. Both play unique roles on the field with various techniques that are exclusive to each role. On a team, there will be eight forwards and seven backs, so it’s important to understand the differences between them to maximize your contribution during the game.
To make matters even more challenging, the forwards and backs on a team assume distinct responsibilities to one another based on their respective positions. These roles necessitate specialized techniques (particularly for those playing as forwards) that must be learned by those in these particular spots.
While it may sound intimidating, don’t forget that a player’s success does not rely on mastering every technique in the game of rugby. Rather, an individual should only hone their skills and techniques relevant to their specific position. It would be virtually impossible for any one person to learn all the necessary know-how if they had to master each aspect – so don’t worry! Just focus on what you need, and become great at your own triangle within this sport.
Whether you play in the offense or defense, there are essential skills that all rugby players should master.
1. Passing the Ball
Passing the ball is a fundamental technique that all players must learn. It’s important to be able to accurately throw the ball in order to move it up your team’s territory and score points.
In the game of rugby, the ball cannot be passed forward. This means that a player isn’t allowed to pass the ball in front of them or throw it over any players on their team.
Ultimately, the ultimate goal of an attacking side is to score a try, while the primary goal for any defensive team is to prevent their opponents from crossing the line. To do so effectively and securely, tackling proficiency becomes paramount in rugby.
When tackling, players must make sure that they don’t use any part of their body aside from their arms to tackle their opponents. Players are also not allowed to lead with their heads when tackling, as this can result in potential injury or even a card (yellow or red), depending on the severity of the offense.
Kicking is an effective technique that can be used to move the ball down the field. There are three main types of kicks in rugby: drop kick, place kick, and punt kick.
- Drop Kick: The drop kick is a quick, powerful kick performed with one foot while holding onto the ball.
- Place Kick: A place kick is taken from a stationary position on the ground or from behind an upright player.
- Punt Kick: When a player takes a punt kick, they drop the ball and then use their foot to kick it upfield.
All of these kicks have their own respective advantages, so it’s important to practice and understand each technique if you want to become an effective rugby player.
How to Find a Rugby Team
One of the best ways to get started in rugby is to find a local team and sign up. There are plenty of teams all around the world, so there should be an option nearby. Rugby organizations typically offer beginner leagues with coaches who can help teach you the basics before you join a more advanced team.
If you don’t know where to start, localized rugby resource sites like Yalla Rugby (for the Middle East) or Rugby America (for the US & Canada) are great places to begin your search.
In addition to traditional teams, many universities and colleges also offer rugby programs for students who want to play competitively. There is even a college division of USA Rugby that provides resources for collegiate teams and players.
Rugby is a fun and demanding team sport that requires a lot of physicality, skill, and technique. But before getting started, it’s important to understand the basics and practice essential techniques like passing, tackling, and kicking. Once you have all the relevant information, you can find and join a local team using online resources or ask around at your college or university. Then, all that’s left is to have fun and play hard.