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Rules to rugby

What are the rules?

f you have never seen rugby played, it may look confusing at first, but the basics are quite simple: run forward, pass backwards and score by touching the ball to the ground in the goal area. A game consists of two halves, for more info see table.

The game is similar to soccer in that it only stops for a score, a penalty or if the ball goes out of bounds. The games goes through "phases" with players running, passing and getting tackled. When tackled, a so called "ruck" if often formed. The ruck sets an offside line (or line of scrimmage in football terms) and all players have to get back behind this line to engage in the play again.

Two versions of rugby is played: 15s and 7s, where the name relates to the number of players on the field. However, at younger age groups 15s is played with less players to make it easier, see table. With less players and shorter halves, 7s is a much faster game.

There are two sets of players:

  • Forwards are usually the bigger players. The positions in 15s are: props, hooker, locks, flankers, and 8th man.

  • Backs are usually the more agile players. The positions in 15s are: scum-half, fly-half, centers, wingers, and full-back.

If you want to learn more, click on the beginners guide to rugby union below.


This means to score by touching the ball in the goal area called the "try zone".


When two players contest for the ball after a player has been tackled.


When players packing closely together with their heads down and pushing to gain possession of the ball after a minor penalty.


A common infringement when a player in attempt to play the balls knocks the ball forward with his hands or arms.


When the player with the ball is held up by players from both teams.


An infringement that happens when a player runs behind his own players to avoid being tackled, i.e, screens are not allowed.

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