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Rugby is coming to Rio Tinto Stadium, a primer for new fans

So there are some cool rugby matches coming to Rio Tinto Stadium this weekend, and I am going to do some coverage of it as I am starting to become a fan of the sport and when you get the College Premier National Championship, the National Boys and Girls High School Championships and the Boy's U-19 National Championship in town, you should pay attention.  

Now I a complete newbie to rugby, I have watched it on TV a bit and it seems really entertaining so I thought I would start to dip my toe into the rugby pool.  I thought I would start out my journey by learning more about the sport and why not share some of that journey with you.  So do you know how rubgy got started?  Here is the story from USA Rugby website:

A student at the Rugby School in England, William Webb Ellis, was playing soccer in 1823 when he picked up the ball and ran down the field to score. From this point, the game of rugby was formed. Today rugby is played in over 100 countries all because Mr. Ellis picked up the ball, and ran with it.

more after the jump:

So I know there are more rules than this but here are the basics of the game:

Object: The object of the game is to carry the ball over the opponents' goal line and touch the ball down to the ground to score a try.

Scoring: There are four ways to score points in a rugby game.

  • Try - When the ball is grounded over an opponents' goal line in their ‘try zone' it is worth 5 points.
  • Conversion - After scoring a try the scoring team gets an attempt to kick the ball over the crossbar and through the posts of the rugby uprights. A conversion is worth 2 points.
  • Penalty - If the opposition commits a penalty, a team can choose to kick at the goal. A penalty kick is worth 3 points.
  • Drop Goal - During play a team may drop the ball on the ground and kick it over the goal, this is called a drop goal. This is worth 3 points.

Duration: Traditional rugby with 15 players on each side consists of 40 minute halves and a 10 minute half time

Running: In order to move the ball forward in rugby, players must run with the ball. 

Passing: The rugby ball can only be passed laterally or backwards. There are no forward passes in rugby. If a forward pass is made it is an infringement of the rules and results in a scrum awarded to the other team.

Kicking: The rugby ball can be kicked at any time during a game.

Tackling: Rugby is a continuous, full contact sport. What this means is that once a tackle is made, play continues. A tackle occurs when the ball carrier is taken to the ground by a member of the opposition. Once tackled, a ball carrier must release the ball. Once a player makes a tackle, he/she must roll away from the play. 

Ruck: Once a player is tackled to the ground, a ruck is formed when one or more players from each team close around the ball. The ball then emerges and play continues.

Maul: When the ball carrier is held up by a member of the opposition and by a member on his/her own team, it is called a maul. The ball can either be removed from the maul or taken to the ground, which then forms a ruck. 

Scrum: A scrum is used to restart play after a minor infringement occurs (i.e. forward pass). The scrum consists of eight of the 15 players, called forwards. These eight players bind together and come head to head with the eight players of the opposition. The ball is thrown into the middle of the scrum on the ground and the players work with their feet to hook the ball behind them, making it available to play. The ball is then collected by the scrumhalf and passed out to the back line.

Lineout: When the ball goes out of bounds, play is restarted with a lineout. Two lines are formed with opposing teams. The ball is thrown in the air in the tunnel between the lines. Teams will lift players to contest for the ball.

If you want some more high level info check out this Beginner's Guide

If you want a more detailed look at the rules of rugby you can check out theIRB Laws online or download the pdf of the rules.

Here are a couple of sites you might want to check out if you want to learn more about Rugby:

We Are Rugby

This Is American Rugby (a new site)

USA Rugby