Rugby is a sport that has evolved over time, with various rules and terminologies changing to better suit the game. One such term, the "try," is a crucial part of rugby's scoring system. Although the word is now synonymous with the sport, its origins are quite interesting and perhaps unexpected.
The early days of rugby:
In the 19th century, rugby was still in its nascent stage, and the rules of the game were far from standardized. During this time, the objective of the game was to kick the ball between the goalposts, much like soccer. The primary focus was on the kicks, while handling the ball and running with it were secondary actions that aimed to set up scoring opportunities.
The birth of the term "try":
Initially, scoring a "try" in rugby did not award any points. The term referred to an opportunity for a team to "try" for a goal by kicking the ball between the goalposts. When a player grounded the ball in the opponent's in-goal area, their team was given a chance to score a goal by kicking the ball over the crossbar and between the uprights. Points were only awarded for successful kicks, called "conversions."
The transformation of the "try":
As rugby evolved, the focus shifted from kicking the ball to a more balanced approach, with an increasing emphasis on handling and running with the ball. The scoring system changed accordingly, and the "try" became a more significant part of the game. Eventually, the rules were altered so that tries were awarded points, initially three and later increased to four. Today, a try is worth five points, with an additional two points awarded for a successful conversion.
The term "try" in rugby has come a long way from its origins. Its transformation from a mere opportunity to attempt a goal to a significant scoring component reflects the evolution of the sport itself. The game has shifted from a predominantly kicking-focused endeavor to a more dynamic and tactical sport that encompasses all aspects of athleticism. The history of the term "try" serves as a fascinating reminder of rugby's past and provides insight into how the sport has grown and adapted over time.