What is Rugby Union?
Rugby Union is the most complex simple game there is. The core of the sport is one offensive team and one defensive team. The offensive team runs the ball until they score or the defense recovers the ball. However, there are many more rules that bring you deeper into the sport.
The rules of this game are similar to the rules of American Football. Some of these rules include the Knock-On/Forward Pass and tackling.
Knock-On/Forward Pass~ When the ball travels forward off a player’s hands, and is penalized with a scrum for the opposing team.
Scrum~ When the player holding the ball is tackled, he/she is forced to release the ball. When players converge on the spot, this creates a scrum.
Tackling~ The simplest thing in any ball game, a player on the defensive team hits the player with the ball by running into them with their bodies.
Ruck~ When the player with the ball is tackled, they must release it and the ball is up for grabs.
The goal of Rugby Union is to score “tries” to win. The game has two 40 minute halves and has stoppage time that is similar to soccer. There are infinite ways to score a try, but the offensive team has to touch the ball to the ground in the goal zone. If a team does score a try, then they kick a conversion afterward. A conversion is similar to an American Football conversion, because it involves the field goal posts. In a conversion ( Worth 5 points in Rugby Union) the ball is set on the ground and is kicked like a chip shot in soccer. The goal is to kick the ball into the goal posts. The difficult thing is that the conversion takes place where the ball carrier passed the goal line. This means that if he passed the goal line by the sidelines, the kick is much more difficult. Here is a link of an amazing sideline conversion (Rugby video). Funny thing is, sometimes the kicker will score tries too. The kicker is a player that stays on the field full time, unlike most sports.
Rugby Union is a pretty dangerous sport. Unlike most other physical sports, like American Football, Rugby Union players get no protection. This situation has it’s pros and cons. The pros are that people are a lot more careful and so people don’t get injured often. In other sports like American Football, the players wear pads. Studies show that the protection actually instigates rough behavior. That is probably why so many American Football players get injured. The reassurance of the pads gives players a more aggressive approach. But on the opposite side, big hits are sometimes not effective at all thanks to the pads. So it protects and hurts, at the same time. On the Rugby Union side of things, there are no pads. This leaves players open to injury, yet it rarely happens. the only time that players mostly get injured is in scrums. That’s when everyone is trying to get the ball, so people don’t really think about being careful. A surprising fact is that the only injury in Rugby Union that’s more serious than like a twisted ankle is paralyzing. While this is a huge injury, only 110 players have had it happen to them. If you think how old Rugby Union is, than the injury rate is quite low.
Rugby Union is a special sport, and I recommend watching a game or two. Some cool leagues that I know of and recommend watching are games on YouTube, which is the easiest too access, and the Rugby Union Super Bowl, which is on American TV because it is such a huge event. Overall, Rugby Union is a really cool sport and I hope you learned a lot about it.