How to Play Rugby – The Basics of the Sport

How to Play Rugby – The Basics of the Sport

Rugby is one of the fastest-growing and most physical sports in the world. Many people consider Rugby as a fringe sport, but you might be surprised to know that it is the second most popular sport after football in the world. Here is an article about how to play Rugby so that you can understand the game better.

Rugby is an intense and complicated game, but its basic rules are not so difficult. The pinnacle of Rugby lies in the Rugby World Cup. Other popular Rugby tournaments include the Heineken Cup, Tri-Nations, and Six Nations. There are also other tournaments that are organized in high esteem.  

What is Rugby?

Rugby is a full-contact sport that involves fifteen players in each team and seven substitutes on the bench. It is played between two teams. In the match, each team needs to kick, carry, or pass the ball to the end zone in order to score points. The team with the highest score wins the match. Now, if you are thinking about how to play Rugby, then relax; we have got an answer to the question. 

How to Play Rugby?

How does Rugby work? Rugby is one of the most dangerous sports in the world (Source). The concept of Rugby is pretty simple. It involves two teams trying to gain maximum points within 80 minutes. The teams try to score points in half of the other team. In the match, the players are not allowed to pass the ball forward. They can only pass it backward or perpendicular. Moreover, a team can only advance by kicking or passing the ball. 

Object of the Game

Now that you know what is Rugby, let’s explore the rugby rules and object of Rugby. 

The object of Rugby is to score higher points from the opposite team within the allotted time frame of 80 minutes. The team that scores the maximum points by the end of the time is the winner. The match may also end in a draw. 

The team who has the balls need to move it up in ‘phases of play.’ The players are not allowed to pass the ball forward. However, they can either carry the ball forward or kick it in the forward direction in order to chase it down. 

The opposing team is required to stop the other team, which is known as the attacking team, by trying to tackle and retain the ball. 

Players and Equipment

  • Team – A rugby team consists of fifteen players divided into two groups which are known as the backs and forwards. There are 8 players in a forward position and seven in the backs. The 8 forward positions named Hooker, Second Row, Number Eight, Flanker, and Prop. The positions in the back include Half, Scrum Half, Outside Centre, Inside Centre, Full back, and Wingers.
  • Pitch – The pitch in Rugby is split into three main sections – a playing area of around 100 meters and two dead goals areas ranging 10-20 meters. The pitch should be 70 meters wide. The posts for the goal are made in ‘H’ shape, and then it is around 5-6 meters apart. The goalposts do not have restrictions on height. 
  • Other Equipment – During the match, the players need to wear studded boots, gum shields, shin pads, shoulder pads, and head guards. Each team needs to wear a jersey of the same color with matching socks and shorts. 


Knowing about rugby scores is one of the essential parts to the question of how to play Rugby. During the match, rugby players can point the scores in four ways. 

  • Try Players get ‘try’ when they place the ball in the dead ball area of the opponent team. This area is present behind the goals. Players get 5 points for this case.  
  • ConversionIt is a free-kick. A team gets ‘conversion’ after a ‘try.’ It allows the team to earn two points. For conversion, a successful kick is required to pass between the top bar present on the goal and the upper posts. 
  • Drop GoalIt can be kicked out of the hand when the ball bounces first. It can get 3 points to a team. 
  • Penalty KickIt can gain three points. It is awarded to a team when the opposing team makes an infringement.

Winning the Game

In order to win a game, a team needs to score maximum points in 80 minutes. 

Rugby Rules

Now that you know how to play Rugby? Let’s explore the basic rules of Rugby. 

  • A rugby match is broken down into two halves of 40 minutes. There is also a rest period of ten minutes between the halves. There is no stoppage time in ruby; it ends exactly 80 minutes. 
  • Each team has to begin the match with 15 players and can have up to 7 substitute players. After leaving the field, the players are only allowed to return if they have been properly treated for an injury. 
  • A field must be around 100 meters long. Moreover, it should be 70 meters wide, and it has a dead ball area of around 10 meters. The goal is of H shape, and it needs to be 6 meters wide. There is no restriction on height.
  • The marking on the first includes a halfway line, 22 meters line, 5 meters, 10 meters line, and a dead ball line. A center spot is also included on the pitch for restarting the game after a penalty, drop goal, and try has been scored. 
  • The game stops in the case of a foul, or a drop goal or try is scored. It also stops when the ball goes out of the play. 
  • The defending team needs to tackle a player by pulling them to the ground or grabbing a hold. The players are not allowed to make a tackle above shoulder height. If they do so, it can lead to a foul. 
  • Around 7 players are allowed to enter a line out. Moreover, any of the players in the team can be lifted to catch the ball that is being thrown. Both the teams compete with the intent to win the ball.
  • A successful penalty, kick, or conversion occurs when a player becomes successful in kicking the ball through the top most sections of the goal. In case the player is not successful, then the ball will stay in the play until it crosses any boundary of the playing field. 
  • Attacking players should be present behind the wall while active. Players who are not interfering with the play can be present in front of the ball. However, they need to get behind the ball when they again start interfering with the play.

Final Words

Now that you know how to play Rugby, what are you waiting for? Enjoy watching and playing this game with your friends. Make sure to understand the rules before playing the game to avoid foul play. Do share your reviews with us by dropping a comment. 


rashmi saini

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