Rugby game rules – how to play rugby

By: Dennis B. B. Taylor


Hey there! Let’s talk about rugby, a sport that is a lot like American football. Rugby is mostly played in countries like the UK and Australia. It’s a tough sport, but it’s also really exciting to watch and even more fun to play!


The Rugby Field: A Closer Look

Have you ever wondered what a rugby field looks like? Let me paint a picture for you. Picture a rectangular patch of green grass, stretching up to 100 meters long and 70 meters wide – that’s the rugby field. But there’s more! On either side of the field, there are special areas called in-goal areas, which can be an extra 6 to 22 meters long. So, in total, the rugby field can span up to a whopping 122 meters in length.

Now, let’s talk about the lines you’ll find on a rugby field. There are two types: solid lines and dashed lines.

Solid lines have some important meanings:

  • Halfway line – this line splits the field into two equal halves.
  • 22-meter lines – these lines mark the distance from the goal line.
  • Touchlines – these lines mark the sides of the field.
  • Dead-ball lines – these lines outline the boundary of the in-goal area.
  • Touch-in goal lines – these lines mark the end of the field next to the in-goal area.
  • Goal lines – these lines mark the end of the field where the goalposts stand.

On the other hand, dashed lines have their own significance:

  • 5-meter lines – these lines mark a distance of 5 meters from the goal line.
  • 10-meter lines – these lines mark a distance of 10 meters from the halfway line.
  • 5-meter dash lines – these lines create a dash pattern and are found 5 meters from the goal line.
  • 15-meter dash lines – these lines create another dash pattern and are found 15 meters from the goal line.

So here’s the deal. In rugby, we’ve got these goals, right? They’re set up at each end of the field on the try lines. You know, those lines where you score the points. Anyway, these goals consist of two posts that are 5.6 meters apart. And get this, they have to be at least 3.4 meters tall. That’s pretty important stuff, you know?

Now, let’s say you don’t have access to a rugby field. No worries! You can still play rugby on an American football field. But here’s the thing: the dimensions are a bit different. Just keep that in mind while playing your heart out.

Now, let’s talk about the players. They make the game exciting, after all!

So each team has 15 players on the field. Yup, it’s 15 against 15. The team is divided into two groups: the forwards and the backs. Simple, right?

First up, let’s dig into the forwards. These guys are the real powerhouses of the team.

There are eight forwards in the starting lineup. And guess what? They’re usually the biggest and strongest players on the team. These guys are all about getting that ball and holding onto it. They’re like the ironclad protectors of the team.

Now, let’s talk about the hooker. No, not the fishing kind! In rugby, the hooker is a technical player who knows their way around the game. They’ve got skills with their hands and feet that’ll blow your mind. And their main job? Winning possession for the team. Talk about a MVP, right?

In the exciting world of rugby, different positions play crucial roles in the success of a team. Let me introduce you to some of these positions and their key responsibilities:

Props: When it’s time for scrums, props are the ones who step up and provide a solid foundation for the hooker. Their strength and power are essential for holding up the scrum and giving the team stability. In lineouts, they create a sturdy base for the jumpers.

Locks: During lineouts, locks are the players who jump high in the air to catch the ball or gain an advantage for their team. In scrums, they position themselves right behind the front row, adding power and strength to push forward and provide a platform for the team to attack.

Flankers: Like the name suggests, flankers are positioned on the edges of the scrum, right beside the locks. They provide that much-needed balance and agility to the team. In addition, they are skilled at slowing down the opposition and disrupting their game.

Number eight: The number 8 plays a crucial role in restarts, particularly when a scrum is involved. They’re the ones who usually end up with the ball and direct the forwards, making key decisions in the heat of the game.


Now, let’s move on to the backs. Unlike the forwards, these players are usually smaller, faster, and more technically skilled.

Fly-half: When I’m playing rugby, I am the fly-half, and I have a crucial role in the game. I handle the ball a lot, make important decisions, and communicate with my team to determine our next move. Think of me as the team’s coordinator, keeping everything organized and running smoothly.

Scrum-half: Another key player on the rugby field is the scrum-half. This player acts as a bridge between the forwards and the backs. During set pieces, like scrums, I receive the ball from the forwards and then typically pass it off to the fly-half. I’m also responsible for feeding the ball into a scrum, setting us up for success.

Centers: The centers in rugby have an important job. With their blend of speed and power, they work to break through the defense of the opposing team. They may also switch to defense and tackle attacking players, making them a versatile asset to the team.

Wings: On the rugby field, the wings are the sprinters. They are usually the fastest players, adept at evading tackles and maneuvering around opponents. Their primary responsibility is to score points by making tries, using their speed and agility to outmaneuver the defense. They are the ones we rely on to bring in those game-changing points.

Full-back: I play as a full-back in soccer. My position is crucial because I am the person who stays behind the backline and acts as the last line of defense. It’s my responsibility to make those last-ditch defensive efforts and prevent the opposing team from scoring.


Rugby game rules - how to play rugby

A rugby game lasts for eighty minutes, divided into two halves of forty minutes each. There’s a fifteen-minute break between the halves, and during the second half, the teams switch sides of the field.

To determine which team starts the match, a coin is tossed. The match begins with one team dropkicking the ball into the opponent’s half of the field and then chasing after it. The ball needs to cross the ten-mark line. If it doesn’t, the opposing team can choose between a scrum or replaying the kick-off.

Teams can score points in four different ways during a rugby game. One way is by scoring a try, which is worth five points. Players earn these points by touching the floor of the in-goal area with the ball.

Conversion: Let me tell you about this cool move in rugby called a conversion. It’s worth 2 points and happens after a team makes a try. If the scoring team can kick the ball through the goalposts, they get these extra points. It’s like a bonus!

Drop goal: Now, picture this: a player drops the ball and then kicks it through the posts. That’s called a drop goal in rugby, and it’s worth 3 points. It’s a tricky move, but if it works, those points go straight into the team’s score. Definitely a move worth mastering!

Penalty kick: Oh, penalties. When the other team messes up, and they commit a foul, your team gets a chance to score some points. With a penalty kick, you have the opportunity to earn 3 points. All you have to do is successfully place-kick the ball through the goalposts, and those points are yours!


Alright, now let’s talk about attacking and defending in rugby. When your team has the ball, the goal is to move it forward and score a try. A try is like a touchdown in other sports. So, your team needs to be strategic and keep hold of the ball. You can run in any direction with the ball and even kick it forward, but here’s the twist: you can only pass the ball backward. It’s a unique rule in rugby that adds an extra layer of challenge to the game!

When it comes to playing rugby, the defending team’s goal is to prevent the opposing team from advancing by grabbing and pulling them to the ground. Rugby is a physically demanding sport that involves a lot of tackling, and there are specific rules in place to ensure fair play. Here are some important guidelines to keep in mind:

– Tackles must be made below the shoulders, from the shoulders down.

– A player who jumps to catch a ball cannot be tackled until they land on the ground.

– Only the player who has possession of the ball can be tackled or blocked.

– When a player is tackled, they must release the ball or pass it to a teammate.

Additionally, there are set pieces in rugby that come into play after a stoppage in the game. These include scrums, which are used to restart a game after a foul. These elements add strategy and structure to the game, ensuring that it is played in an orderly manner.

In a rugby scrum, both teams form a compact wedge by bending down and arranging themselves in three rows. The aim is to create a sturdy wall against the other team. Once the wedge is set, the scrum-half from the team that was fouled rolls the ball into the gap between the two wedged teams. At this point, the hookers from each team use their legs to contest possession of the ball.

The team that gains possession of the ball now has two choices. They can either push the opposing team backward while keeping the scrum formation intact and retaining possession with their feet, or they can pass the ball backward to the number eight and scrum-half to continue play.

Now, let’s talk about another important aspect of rugby: the lineout.

When a ball goes out of bounds on the sidelines during a game of rugby, it’s called a lineout. To restart the play, both teams line up one meter apart, and the team that didn’t send the ball out throws it back in between the two teams. Everyone jumps up to try and catch the ball, and teammates can even help boost each other up.


If you break the rules in rugby, you can get penalized. Here are some fouls that can lead to penalties:

  • Tackling someone above their shoulders
  • Collapsing a scrum
  • Passing the ball forward
  • Not letting go of the ball when you’re tackled to the ground


The team with the most points at the end of the second half is the winner of the game. Sometimes games can end in ties, but if there has to be a winner, they can play an extra 20 minutes – after 10 minutes, the teams switch sides of the field.

Hey there! I’m a writer who loves to inspire people to have a great time playing games. For three years, I organized a pub crawl where I hosted fun drinking games for my guests. And you know what? Games have always been a big part of my life because my family loves them too!

But that’s not all! I’m also a huge fan of traveling and music. In fact, I enjoy it so much that I started my own personal blogs about travel and music. So if you’re into games, travel, or music, you’ve come to the right place!

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