Coming from a rugby family, I’ve been a fan of the sport for many years.
I have been attending matches for years now with very little knowledge of the sport. I decided that this week, I will be discussing some key rugby terms, positions and plays for all those interested in learning more about this crazy sport.
In rugby, there are eight forwards that primarily play defense and seven backs that primarily play offense.
However, unlike football these players are not restricted to these roles and all 15 players play offense and defense at any given point in the game.
The scoring is not done primarily by the offense because any player can score. A rugby match lasts for two 40-minute halves. These players are subjected to a lot in one match.
There is a maximum of five player substitutes throughout the entire game, with the exception of a replacement due to an injury. So, if some crazy dude broke his leg in the first half, he can’t come back in the second half no matter how many beers he drank.
Scoring in rugby is as follows: a try, similar to a touchdown in football, except the ball must touch the ground or the goal post in the end zone to be counted, is worth five points.
A conversion kick follows a try, and is worth two points. Players try to enter the center of the try-zone, for the conversion kick is kicked from the angle in which the ball is touched on the ground in the try-zone.
The field is known as the pitch. What is a sideline in any other sport is a touchline in rugby. A ball is not out of bounds in rugby, it is called in-touch.
A scrum is a tight formation between two teams, in which all the forwards bind together to attempt to win advantage of a ball. Scrums occur after an off-side penalty or a knock, which is if the ball falls in a forward motion from someone’s hand or is thrown forward. In rugby, the ball can be kicked forward, but can only be passed laterally or backwards.
A scrum takes place after a knock penalty. A penalty kick takes place after a more severe penalty. The scrum begins when the offensive scrum half places the ball into the scrum. The hooker holds onto two props, while trying to use their foot to kick the ball back to allow his or her teammates to gain possession of the ball.
A ruck is similar to a scrum. It’s a looser formation that is created around a free ball or a player who has been brought to the ground with the ball.
If the ball goes in-touch, the players go into a line-out. The offensive hooker throws the ball in from the touchline, and a maximum of seven players line up to catch the ball. Up to two players per team can be lifted in an attempt to catch the ball.
While researching rugby, a violent sport in which the only padding players are allowed to wear is a mouth guard, I couldn’t help but wonder why anyone would willingly subject themselves to play a game of rugby.
“I started playing rugby freshman year because I played sports in high school and I needed something to do in college,” Michelle DiFedele, president of the College’s Women’s Rugby Club, said.
“My CA played and I went out and I loved it,” DiFedele said. “Its intense but at the same time the girls who play are great, it’s a friendly atmosphere and at the same time its competitive. It helps you get out your aggression in a somewhat healthy manner.”
“I’m really looking forward to our challange match against the University of Scranton, where if we win, we will become a Division II team,” DiFedele added.
“I play because it’s a competitive game and every weekend you go into a battle against another team and it’s a camaraderie with your teammates to face this other team, and that’s why I have ice on my knee tonight,” Erik Bailey, an outside center for Reading Rugby, said.
“It’s the closest thing to being involved with hand to hand combat,” Chris Bailey said. Bailey is a center for the Schuylkill River Exiles of Philadelphia.
“It’s more of a thinking game then anything, Erik is right. There is a camaraderie among your teammates that is unlike any other sport I have ever played,” Chris Bailey said.
I don’t know the origins of rugby, but with all these crazy terms and rules, I’m sure the game wasn’t found by anyone sane or even sober.