So ladies, your men are hogging the TV and watching the rugby world cup most evenings and weekends, whether it be highlights or the actual matches, and you have to sit and watch with him, but you have no clue what is going on and don’t understand the game of rugby. Don’t worry, we are here to help you get to know the game of rugby a little better so that you too can enjoy it and get into the spirit of it.
Rugby can appear to be chaotic and be filled with haphazard crunching collisions. However, rugby is very technical and organized and has specific laws governing all the aspects of play. Here are four of the most important parts of rugby you need to familiarize yourself with before watching a the Springboks take on New Zealand on Saturday.
- Lineout: a lineout restarts play after the ball, or a player carrying the ball, has gone out of bounds. Both teams line up opposite each other. The one team then throws the ball down the middle of the two teams, the teams compete to catch the ball. A line-up is a great advantage to a the team that is closest to the try (scoring) line.
- Maul: a maul occurs when a player carrying the ball is held by one or more opponents, and one or more of the ball-carrier’s teammates bind together on the ball-carrier. All the players involved are on their feet and pushing/ moving toward the goal line.
- Scrum: a scrum is a set-piece contest for the ball involving eight players from each team who bind together at the shoulders and push against the other team’s eight players for possession of the ball. Scrums restart play after certain minor infractions.
- Ruck: a ruck occurs when one or more players from each team, who are on their feet and in contact, close around the ball which is on the ground. Once a ruck has formed, players cannot use their hands to get the ball, only their feet.
Ok, now that you know about those aspects of rugby, you need to know the different ways of scoring and the amounts of points earned through each type of scoring method. Like most sporting codes, the aim of rugby is to score more points than the opposition. Scoring is done in four different ways:
- Try: a try is the most valuable way to score points. A try occurs when a player touches the ball down in the opponent’s in-goal area or on their goal line. Most often you will see a player sprinting for the line with the ball and diving to touch the ball down (your man and the other people around you will be jumping up and down and cheering with excitement when this happens for the team you’re all supporting). Scoring a try is worth five points and earns that team the right to attempt a conversion kick.
- Conversion kick: This kick is worth an additional two points. The conversion kick is taken from a spot in line with where the ball was grounded when the try was scored, so scoring a try as close to the posts as possible is best.
- Penalty kick: A penalty awarded to a team for various infractions by the opposition team can be used to take a kick at goal. A penalty kick is worth three points.
- A drop goal: A drop goal occurs when a player drops the ball and then kicks it through the goal. A drop goal is worth three points.
In a nutshell, the teams almost always aim to score tries. In order to so the players run towards the try line, as they come up towards the opposition wanting to tackle them, they pass the ball to a teammate. As the pass the ball they have to throw it sideways (and ever so slightly backwards) to a teammate. The opposition will be aiming to defend the try line and tackle the players in order to stop them from scoring.
Now that you know the basics about what is happening on the field in the game of rugby, have fun watching the Rugby World Cup with your partner, your friends and your family.