Rugby Union Rules
An explanation of the rules of Rugby Union football. Includes explanation of scrums, rucks, line-outs, tries, conversions and goals.
Rugby Union is a game played by two teams, 15 players on each side, with an oval shaped, inflatable ball. The objective of the game is to score the most points. Points are scored by scoring a Try, Conversion (goal scored after a try), Penalty Goal or Field Goal.
The playing area comprises of the Field of Play and an In-Goal area at either end of the Field of Play. The Tryline is the line separating the Field of Play and the In-Goal. On each Tryline, halfway along, is the Goalmouth. The Goalmouth is made up of two tall uprights with a crossbar joining the two part way up the goalposts.
Players can run with the ball, pass the ball backwards or kick the ball. Players can also try and stop opposing players with the ball by tackling them or pushing them over the sideline.
A Try is scored by grounding the ball with the hands in the In-Goal area and is worth 5 points. A Conversion, Penalty Goal and Field Goal are scored by kicking the ball between the uprights and over the crossbar of the Goalmouth. A Conversion is worth 2 points and the Penalty and Field Goals are worth 3.
After a Try is scored the scoring team attempts a Conversion, by placekick or dropkick, from anywhere in the Field of Play in line with where the ball was grounded. A Penalty Goal is scored the same way as a Conversion except from the spot that the penalty is given. A Field Goal is scored by a dropkick from anywhere in the field of play.
When a player with the ball is tackled he must immediately pass the ball or leave the ball on the ground and move away. The player making the tackle must also move away from the ball. After a player is tackled, any player, other than the two involved in the tackle, if they are the only players at the ball, may play at or pick up the ball. The player must be on his feet when he plays at or picks up the ball. If two or more players are at the ball and the ball is on the ground, a ruck is formed. In a ruck a player can only play at the ball with his feet.
The ball is said to have been Knocked-On when a player propels the ball forward with his hands towards the opposition's Tryline. If, when the ball is Knocked-On, the opposite team gains immediate possession of the ball, the referee orders a scrum. A scrum is when eight players from each team interlock with each other and the opposite team, and the ball is rolled through the middle of the two front rows of players. Players can only play for the ball with their feet while in a scrum and no player can leave a
scrum until the ball has left. A scrum is also called when the ball is unintentionally passed forward by one player to a player closer to the opposing Tryline.
When the ball or player goes over the Sideline a Line-out is formed. A Line-out has two or more players from each side lined up one metre apart, five metres in and at right angles from the point where the ball or player passes over the Sideline. The ball is thrown in from the Sideline down the middle of the Line-out.