—— By Doosansports


Rugby, football game played with an oval ball by two teams of 15 players (in rugby union play) or 13 players (in rugby league play). Both rugby union and rugby league have their origins in the style of football played at Rugby School in England. According to the sport’s lore, in 1823 William Webb Ellis, a pupil at Rugby School, defied the conventions of the day (that the ball may only be kicked forward) to pick up the ball and run with it in a game, thus creating the distinct handling game of rugby football. This “historical” basis of the game was well established by the early 1900s, about the same time that foundation myths were invented for baseball and Australian rules football.

While it is known that Webb Ellis was a student at Rugby School at the time, there is no direct evidence of the actual event’s having taken place, though it was cited by the Old Rugbeian Society in an 1897 report on the origins of the game. Nevertheless, Rugby School, whose name has been given to the sport, was pivotal in the development of rugby football, and the first rules of the game that became rugby union football were established there in 1845.

The Basics 

Very simply put, the game features a combination of speed, strategy, and strength and the main goal is to get the ball into your opponents side of the field and score a try behind the tryline.

The game kicks off from the middle of the field (the spot on the middle of the halfway line) and the ball must be drop kicked (the ball must touch the ground before kicking it) at least 10 meters forward. The receiving team will then aim to catch the ball and begin open play by carrying the ball forward – you can only pass the ball to your teammates by passing backwards or sideways, never forward.

Here is some of the basics of rugby – we outlined them below:


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 between the 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 open play a player may drop the ball so it touches the ground and kick it over the goal, this is called a drop goal. This is worth 3 points


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


Rugby is played on a field not exceeding 100 meters in length (excluding two try zones) and 70 meters wide. 


The rugby ball can only be passed laterally or backwards. Forward passes are not allowed. If a forward pass is made it is an infringement of the rules and results in a scrum awarded to the other team. 


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. 


Once a player is tackled to the ground and the ball is released, a ruck is formed when one or more players from each team close around the ball and attempt to drive over the ball and ‘ruck’ it backwards with their feet. The ball then emerges and play continues. 


When the ball carrier and ball are 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. 


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 engage head to head with the eight players of the opposition. The ball is rolled 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. 


When the ball goes out of bounds, play is restarted with a lineout. The lineout consists of two lines, one from each team, with a maximum of eight players standing behind each other facing the touchline at the point wher the ball went out of play. The ball is thrown into the gap between the lines, usually at a considerable height. Teams will lift players to contest for the ball.

Number of Players

Traditional rugby consists of 15 players on each side (8 forwards and 7 backs). Other versions of the game include 10 a side (5 forwards and 5 backs) and the very popular 7 a side (3 forwards and 4 backs), commonly known as Sevens.

The 15 a side version of Rugby was an Olympic sport until it was dropped after the 1924 games. However, in October 2009, the IOC voted at its session in Copenhagen to include the sevens version of the sport in the Olympics. Rugby sevens was thereafter played as a demonstration sport at the 2012 London Olympics and  the sport was formally added to the Olympic agenda at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

More about rugby

Rugby is now a popular sport in many countries of the world, with clubs and national teams found in places as diverse as Japan, Côte d’Ivoire, Georgia, Uruguay, and Spain. Rugby among women is one of the world’s fastest-growing sports. At the turn of the 21st century, the International Rugby Board (IRB; founded in 1886 as the International Rugby Football Board), headquartered in Dublin, boasted more than 100 affiliated national unions, though at the top level the sport was still dominated by the traditional rugby powers of Australia, England, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa, and Wales.

Different forms of football have existed for centuries. (For more on the development of football sports, see football.) In Britain, football games may have been played as early as the time of Roman occupation in the 1st century BCE. During the 14th and 15th centuries CE, Shrove Tuesday football matches became annual traditions in local communities, and many of these games continued well into the 19th century. These localized versions of folk football (a violent sport distinctive for its large teams and lack of rules) gradually found favour within the English public (independent) schools, where they were modified and adapted into one of two forms: a dribbling game, played primarily with the feet, that was promoted at Eton and Harrow, and a handling game favoured by Rugby, Marlborough, and Cheltenham.

Game playing, particularly football, was encouraged at Rugby School by influential headmaster Thomas Arnold (1828–42), and many boys educated at this time were instrumental in the expansion of the game. Rugby football soon became one of the most significant sports in the promotion of English and, later, British imperial manliness. The game’s virtues were promoted by books such as Thomas Hughes’s Tom Brown’s School Days (1857). The cult of manliness that resulted centred on the public schools and the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, where boys were sent to learn how to become young gentlemen. Part of the schoolboy’s training was a commitment to arduous physical activity, and, by the late 19th century, rugby and cricket had become the leading sports that developed the “civilized” manly behaviour of the elite. It was believed that rugby football instilled in the “muscular Christian” gentleman the values of unselfishness, fearlessness, teamwork, and self-control. Graduates of these public schools and of Oxford and Cambridge formed the first football clubs, which led to the institutionalization of rugby.

Sports Quiz

Once they had left school, many young men wanted to continue playing the game of their youth, and the early annual matches between alumni and current senior students were not enough to satisfy these players. Football clubs were formed in the mid-19th century, with one of the very first rugby clubs appearing at Blackheath in 1858. Rugby enthusiasm also spread rapidly to Ireland and Scotland, with a club founded at the University of Dublin in 1854 and the formation by the Old Boys of Edinburgh of the Edinburgh Academicals Rugby Football Club in 1858. In 1863 the tradition of club matches began in England with Blackheath playing Richmond.

Representatives of several leading football clubs met in 1863 to try to devise a common set of rules for football. Disputes arose over handling the ball and “hacking,” the term given to the tactics of tripping an opponent and kicking his shins. Both handling and hacking were allowed under rugby’s rules but disallowed in other forms of football. Led by F.W. Campbell of Blackheath, the rugby men refused to budge over hacking, calling those against the practice “unmanly.” Though Campbell’s group was in the minority, it refused to agree to the rules established for the new Football Association (FA) even though many elements of rugby rules were included in early compromises. Ultimately, rugby was left outside the FA. Despite the initial reluctance to abandon hacking, rugby clubs began to abolish the practice during the late 1860s. Blackheath banned it in 1865, and Richmond supported a similar prohibition in 1866.