Rugby is the ultimate team sport. It is exhilarating and demanding, both physically and mentally. It is pursued passionately by players and fans alike.
All are bound together by sinews of tradition which extends a world-wide Rugby fraternity. At the core of these traditions, and the principal reason for the success of the game, is a unique code of conduct, some of it written, some unwritten, but all grounded firmly on the sportsmanship, fair play, and mutual respect.
Similar to Football, the object of Rugby is to advance the ball into opponents’ end zone. To score, the ball must be physically grounded for a try to be awarded. There is no forward pass or blocking in Rugby. Following a tackle play continues.
Rugby has the physicality of football and the gameplay of soccer. There are no set plays, the game doesn’t stop unless there is a score, penalty, or the ball goes out of bounds. A full game of rugby has 40 minute halves with only one stoppage at halftime. Every kickoff has the possibility of being an onside kick.
Object of the Game
Two teams of 15 players should by carrying, passing, kicking, and grounding the ball, score as many points as possible, the team scoring the greater number of points to be the winner. The players do so, each observing fair play, and sporting spirit, according to the Laws.
If a team infringes, but their opponents gain an advantage, the play continues without stopping.
Try: 5 Points
Conversion Kick: 2 Points
Penalty Goal: 3 Points
Drop Goal: 3 Points
Penalty Try: 7 Points
Tackle, Ruck, Maul
Following a tackle, other players on their feet may contest of the ball. If the ball is on the ground between them, it is called a ruck, and players may only use their feet to gain possession. If the ball is in the possession of the the player on his feet, who is help by his opponents and teammates, it is called a maul.
Scrums are used to restart play after a minor or technical infringement of the Laws (penalty), There are eight players per team in the scrum who compete for the ball.
Line-outs are used to restart play when the ball has gone into touch (out of bounds), similar to a jump-ball in basketball. Receivers from either team form a line facing where the ball will be thrown in. In order to gain possession of the ball, players must be lifted.
- Feeding the scrum is the team gets to put the ball into the scrum. The referee points his arm towards the team that gets the scrum feed while standing facing the sideline, with his arm horizontal and at waist height.
- The referee makes an emphasized hand gesture as if he has just made an imaginary pass that has gone well forward. He will give the scrum put in to the team that did not make the mistake.
- The referee raises his arm, bent square at the elbow. The arm will be pointing towards the team that has been given the free kick.
- The referee bends forwards and lowers his arm towards the ground. He then moves his arm backwards and forwards as if he has handled an imaginary ball on the ground.
- The referee will hold is arm straight over his neck, under his chin. This shows to all the players that someone has made an illegal high tackle.
- The referee will point his arm downwards and move it up and down. This shows to all the players on the pitch that a player did not stay on their feet as they joined a ruck.
- The referee raises his arm above his head and moves his open hand backwards and forwards. Then, he will tap the palm of that hand with the other, to show to all the players that the ball has been knocked forward.
- The referee crosses both his arms across his chest, like a pair of open scissors. This indicates to all the players that one player has stopped another illegally.
- The referee faces the sideline and with his arm straight and angled upwards, points towards the non-offending team. The non-offending team has the options of a penalty kick or a scrum.
- The referee raises one hand above his head with his shoulders in line with the touch line. He will then move that arm backwards and forwards to show the ball was not thrown in straight by the hooker.
- The referee stands on the try line and, facing the team that scored, raises his arm straight above his head while he blows his whistle. His back will be towards the dead ball line.
These signals will help you to understand the game of rugby and get excited when some of the great teams are playing. There are many more things to learn about rugby like about the rugby pitch and rugby scoring. Add these to what you have now mastered with the referee’s signals and you will be able to follow some of the great rugby tournaments. Rugby is a very challenging game physically and when people really start to follow it they become extremely passionate supporters of their favorite team.