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The Game


The information below is provided as a 'Rugby 101' for those interested in learning more about the game.

Feel free to contact us with any questions.


1.0 Basics of Rugby


1.1 Rules

  • No forward passing

  • No Blocking

  • You cannot run behind players on your team when you have the ball

  • No Tackling above the shoulders

  • You must wrap when you tackle


1.2 Pitch Layout

  • 15 players per side

  • Players 1-8 are considered Forwards or the Pack

  • Players 9-15 are called the Backs or the Back Line


1.3 Offensive vs. Defensive Formation

On offense players should line up about 5 yards to the side and 5 yards behind the previous player. This is referred to as being steep. This allows a player to catch the ball at full speed and gives the offensive player room to make a pass before getting tackled.

Defensive players should line up in a flat line. This is referred to as being flat. This minimizes the amount of space between each player, and prevents holes in the defensive line for opposing players to run through. As we all know the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. When 5 players occupy a space they have less distance between them if they are flat than if the were staggered.


2.0 Rugby Positions


2.1 Forwards

The role of a forward is to gain yardage by carrying the ball into a tackle and driving for a few yards at a time while maintaining control of the ball through rucks and mauls. Forwards must also support the back line by maintaining control of the ball through rucks and mauls. Forwards the players responsible for set plays such as the scrum and line outs.


2.1.1 The Tight Five

The first and second rows in the scrum are referred to as the tight five. They are numbers 1-5. These are usually the the biggest players on the pitch and get their name because they form a tightly packed unit that is the engine room of the scrum. It takes the tight five longer to break away from the scrum, so they are usually the charged with supporting the second and third break down. These players are usually the lifters and throw the ball into a line out.


2.1.2 Loose Forwards

The Flankers and the Eight Man are considered loose forwards. They help to keep the scrum tight, and keep the ball contained within the scrum. They are the first ones out of the scrum therefore should be the first players at the break down. The are usually the jumpers in the line out, and will usually be the targets for the throw in.


2.2 Back Line

The backs are the fastest and most agile players on the pitch. The try to create and exploit holes in the opponent's back line, while staying out of contact. The backs are the last line of defense. The back do most of the passing and kicking.


Figure 1: This figure shows the basic formation during a scrum.

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