Rugby | Rules, History and How to Play

Rugby | Rules, History and How to Play


Welcome to our comprehensive guide of rugby rules, history and how-to play the game! This iconic sport originated in Britain during the early 19th century. Since then it has gained worldwide acclaim known for its physicality, strategic gameplay and passionate fan base. No matter if you are an expert player or new to it; this article will give you all of the essential information that will allow you to understand its rules, explore its rich history and play like an expert!

Rugby-Rules and History: A Brief Overview


Rugby dates its roots back to Rugby School in England during the early 19th century. Legend holds that during a game of football (soccer), William Webb Ellis took the ball from one player and ran with it – thus sparking its development as a sport.

Rugby Union vs Rugby League

Two distinct forms divide rugby, namely Rugby Union and Rugby League. These versions differentiate through the player count and rules – the more widely recognized version, Union, features 15 players per team, while League involves 13 players on each side. In this article we’ll focus on Union as it dominates worldwide.

Objectives And Gameplay

Rugby’s primary objective is to score more points than their rival team, whether by carrying the ball across an opponent’s try line, kicking over the crossbar, or successfully completing a drop goal. players engage in tackles, scrums, lineouts, and rucks to gain possession of the ball and advance it toward rival territory, creating an exhilarating physical encounter.

Rugby-Rules and Regulations

Now, let’s dive into the key rules and regulations :

Scoring Points

  • A player earns five points when they successfully ground the ball on or behind their opponent’s tryline, resulting in an awarded attempt.
  • After scoring a try, players take a conversion kick with the goal of kicking through their opponent’s goalposts and into their goal area, earning them two points.
  • Referees award penalty kicks worth three points in response to rule violations or deliberate acts committed by opposing teams.
  • Drop goals are worth three points and are achieved by successfully drop-kicking the ball over the crossbar during open play.


  • Scrums are formed when forward players from both teams come together, locking arms and contesting for control of the ball.
  • A scrum can be used to restart play after minor rule infractions or when it becomes unplayable, providing a quick way for play to resume.

Line out

  • When an illegal pass takes the ball outside its bounds, both teams gather together for a lineout, and one player from either team throws the ball back into play, which has been put back into play by someone on either team.
  • Lineouts provide an opportunity to gain possession and strategically arrange offensive plays.

These are only some of the rules governing rugby. While it can be an intricate sport, with practice you can develop an in-depth knowledge of it and experience its thrilling action on the pitch.

How to Play

Now that we understand the fundamental rules of rugby, let’s dive deeper into its principles by learning step-by-step how to play the game:  

Step 1:

Assemble Your Team and Equipment To play rugby, you’ll require 15 players including forwards and backs. Each should wear appropriate rugby attire – such as jersey, shorts, boots and mouthguard. Furthermore, having an appropriate ball for match play is essential.  

 Step 2:

Familiarize Yourself with Positions Its A fundamental aspect of successful teamwork and gameplay is understanding its various positions. Broadly speaking, players can divide themselves into forwards and backs – with forwards typically focusing more on scrums, lineouts, and physical play, while backs, who are often faster and more agile, run with the ball and score tries. 

 Step 3:

Master the Basic Skills It is crucial to mastering the fundamental skills of rugby before entering a field, including passing, catching, tackling, kicking, and rucking. Regular practice sessions and training will allow you to master these abilities and become a well-rounded rugby player.  

 Step 4:

Conduct Drills and Scenarios Engaging in drills and scenarios will help develop your tactical awareness and decision making on the field. Focus on set-piece plays, attacking patterns, defensive strategies and game simulations as a means of improving both individual performance and team cohesion.  

Step 5:

Play and Compete Once you have acquired all of the skills and understanding of rugby, it’s time to put them into action! Join a local club or school team and participate in matches and competitions – this experience will provide invaluable learning opportunities as you pit yourself against other teams.

Rugby is more than an individual performance – it’s about teamwork, discipline and sportsmanship as well. So embrace its camaraderie as you begin your journey!

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: How long does a rugby match last?

  • A typical match consists of two halves of 40 minutes each with an interval between halves for refreshments and halftime breaks.

Q: Can women play rugby?

  • Absolutely! Rugby is an inclusive sport for everyone to enjoy and women’s rugby is steadily gaining ground worldwide.

Q: What are the dimensions of a rugby field?

  • An ideal field should measure 100 meters long and 70 meters wide, featuring try lines on each end of the pitch.

Q: Does rugby have weight categories?

  • No, unlike some combat sports, does not distinguish players based on weight categories. All sizes can contribute towards making an effective team.

Q: Are you skilled at passing forward in rugby?

  • Unfortunately not. Passing or kicking forward are both prohibited.

Q: Is rugby more dangerous than other sports?

  • Rugby can be an intense physical sport, but with proper coaching, adherence to rules, and safety precautions in place, the risk of injuries can be reduced significantly.


Rugby is an engaging and captivating sport with a fascinating history, intricate rules and captivating gameplay. No matter if you are a player or spectator – understanding its rules and fundamentals will enhance both experiences. From its humble roots at School all the way to worldwide renown today – continues to capture hearts around the globe. So grab yourself a ball, gather your teammates and embrace its spirit to start your own journey today.

About author


Ted Helliar is a renowned rugby author known for his captivating storytelling and deep understanding of the game. With a wealth of knowledge and a passion for rugby, his writing transports readers into the thrilling world of the sport, leaving them inspired and wanting more. Helliar's works are a testament to his love for rugby and his ability to capture its essence on the page.

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