Rugby is a high-octane, full-contact sport that demands skill, teamwork, and grit. If you're a fan of this rough-and-tumble game, you'll want to know the ins and outs of the rules. From scoring to tackling to rucks and mauls, here's what you need to know.
Scoring is everything in rugby. The goal is to get the ball into the opponent's in-goal area and ground it for a try, worth 5 points. If you successfully complete the try, you get a conversion kick, which adds 2 points to your score. A penalty kick is worth 3 points, and so is a drop goal.
Getting the ball to the goal line is no easy feat. You have to pass the ball backward or sideways, or risk being called out for a forward pass.
Once you have the ball, you better be prepared to get tackled. Tackling is fair game, but only below the shoulders. Anything too high or dangerous can get you penalized, or even carded.
You can't interfere with the game if you're in front of a teammate with the ball. If you do, the other team gets a penalty.
Rucks and Mauls
When a player is tackled, a ruck or maul may form, and it's a race to get possession of the ball. You can only join a ruck or maul from your own side, and you can't use your hands to pick up the ball.
Minor infringements and forward passes result in scrums, where both teams push against each other to get the ball.
When the ball goes out of bounds, a lineout is awarded to the other team. Two parallel lines are formed, and a player from the non-touching team throws the ball back into play.
These are just a few of the basic rules of rugby. But if you're a true rugby fan, you know that the rules go much deeper. Keep these rules in mind as you watch or play the game, and you'll be on your way to understanding the nuances of this intense, action-packed sport.