The game of Rugby may at first seem like a strange game to the un-initiated. It is however very easy to follow and after Soccer is the most widely followed field sport in the world today. It is most popular in IReland, the U.K., France, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Canada. In the US it is a minority sport and very much in its infancy. It is growing in popularity at a rapid pace with most University and Colleges having a Rugby team. It is played in the primary population centers in the country notably Boston, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans, Denver and most of the cities and large population areas on the west coast.

There is some similarity to American Football (AFL/NFL) except the game of Rugby is more fluid and not subject to Time-outs and constant cycling on and off the pitch of players and teams. In Rugby players also do not dress for battle with minimal body padding being permitted.

The basic game involves 15 players though seven-a-side tournaments are also popular. The object of the game is to score as many points as possible by carrying, passing, kicking and grounding an oval ball in the scoring zone at the far end of the field -- called the in-goal area. 

Grounding the ball, which must be done with downward pressure, results in a try (worth 5 points). 

After a try a conversion may be attempted by place kick or drop kick. If the ball passes over the bar and between the goal posts the conversion is successful and results in a further 2 points.

 Points may also be scored from a drop kick in general play (worth 3 points) and a penalty kick (worth 3 points)

The ball may not be passed forward (though it may be kicked forward) and players may not receive the ball in an offside position, nor may they wait in such a position. 

Players may not be tackled without the ball. 

Play only stops when a try is scored, or the ball goes out of play, or an infringement occurs. 

When the ball goes out it is thrown back in at a line-out where the opposing "forwards" line up and jump for the ball. 

Infringements result in a penalty, or free kick, or scrum. In a scrum the opposing forwards bind together in a unit and push against the other forwards, trying to win the ball with their feet. 

Substitutions are only allowed in case of injury and there is no separate offensive and defensive unit.

There are many resources on the web which can educate you further on the history and rules of the game.

Best viewed with Internet Explorer
Not Netscape Optimised