While closely related to futball (aka soccer) and American football, rugby has its own set of rules that make it unique. With its growing popularity, many are curious about how the sport is actually played. Here are the basics to know before you go out and play.
The basic rules are the same as say, American football or soccer, you and your team have to drive down the field and try and score for your team. Similar to football you can have the option of either scoring a try, penalty kick, or drop kick. A try is like a touchdown where you have the ball enter the teams end zone while a person is in possession of the ball. A penalty kick and drop kick are similar in that one person has to drop and then kick the ball in between the uprights. Unlike football you can drive the ball down the field by either running or kicking the ball. What happens once a player is tackled depends on what type of rugby you play, which will be covered soon. The scores start at zero and the team with the highest score wins. The clock also starts at zero and goes up, like in soccer. One concern that might freak out football watchers is the lack of helmets and other padding. While head injuries do happen in rugby, it is just as dangerous if not less than football due to the fact that high speed collisions from multiple directions aren’t as common as football. There is more tackling, but it is at lower speeds and the tackler is almost always ahead of you. Hence, there is less head injuries. However, rugby is still not that completely safe due to the fact that it is a physical sport, precautions should be taken. In fact some more professional players are starting to wear padded head caps to lower head injuries, but the majority of players don’t.
Rugby Union vs Rugby League
- The two types of rugby that are officially played. They rival each other in popularity with rugby union being just slightly more popular. While both are similar in terms of general rules, they each have some unique differences. The main differences are that,
- Rugby league has 13 players per team with 10 substitutions, while rugby union has 15 players per team with 7 substitutions allowed
- One team is allowed to be tackled six times before they must give possession of the ball to the other team in rugby league, whereas in rugby union once the player is tackled the person must let go of the ball and a giant fight for the ball ensues, and whoever grabs it can pick it up and start charging down the field until they are tackled
- For scoring, a try is worth 5 points in union but only 4 in league. A penalty kick is worth 3 in union but only 2 in league. And finally, a drop goal is worth 3 in union but only 1 in league.
- Due to the history of how the 2 leagues were started, rugby league is considered higher class than rugby union although the class separation isn’t as big as it once was