Rugby 101 for Americans
This document is intended for the novice American Rugby player. Its purpose is to give athletes who are accustomed to American style gridiron football a 10 minute overview of the game, before participating in their first game.
The pictures and some of the verbiage in this document were taken directly from:
International Rugby Board – Laws of the Game 2013
Bill Blackett – Level 3 IRB Referee
- All of the kicking team must be BEHIND the ball.
- All of the opposing team must be behind the 10 Meter line
- The ball must go 10 meters or touched by an opposing team member before being played by a member of the kicking team
- If the ball does not go 10 meters and is not touched by an opposing player, the opposing team gets to choose how to restart the game.
- Unlike in American Football, play does not stop when the ball carrier is tackled
- Also unlike American Football, the tackler has to wrap up the ball carrier and take them to ground – it is illegal to knock them down.
- The ball carrier must immediately release the ball as soon as they are brought to ground
- In order to ensure their team retains possession of the ball, the ball carrier should place the ball back towards his own team.
- Immediately after the tackle the ball is contested in a play called a RUCK
- Much like a front lineman in American football, players go into contact shoulder to shoulder and attempt to push each other off the ball.
- Players must be on their feet and must not use their hands to touch the ball.
- They are however encouraged to use their FEET to move the back towards their own team.
Offisides at Ruck
- At a ruck, the offside line runs through the hindmost foot of the player of the same team. The player in the yellow jersey on the right hand side is offside
- Players must enter the ruck at a 90 degree angle from the offsides line.
- Players must not enter the ruck from the side. This results in a penalty kick to the other team (that’s very bad).
- A lineout is how the game is restarted after the ball goes out of bounds
- The team awarded the lineout dictates how many players are in the lineout. The opposing team must have the same players or fewer.
Quick Throw In
- A Quick throw in may occur before a line out is formed in order to catch the other team unprepared
- In order to stop the other team from doing a quick throw in – at least two of our players must run to the spot where the ball went out of bounds
- If our team is awarded a lineout, and the other team does not have 2 players at the spot – be prepared for a quick throw in
- A Scrum is how the game is restarted after an infraction of the rules
- Those in the Scrum must stay bound together until the ball has come out
- Those not in the scrum must stay 5 meters back from the hind most foot of their team mate in the scrum
Knock and Throw Forward
- A “Fumble” in American football is a penalty called a “Knock on” in rugby if the ball goes forward
- One of the main differences between American Football and Rugby is that there are no forward passes in Rugby
- In order to prevent knocking the ball on when receiving the ball from a punt: Turn your body sideways
Picture from www.lineoutCoach.com
There are two main groups of players in Rugby:
Forwards (Numbers 1 thru 9)
Backs (Numbers 10 thru 15)
- Forwards: follow the ball wherever it goes, and participate in Scrums and Lineouts. It is the Forwards job to constantly fight for the ball.
- Backs: Are positioned by the Fly Half. It is the Backs job to get the ball out to the flanks and score.