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And you can print off a summary of the main laws using this poster too :-

Basic Principles

The game of rugby union is played on a grass pitch measuring no more than 75 metres wide and 100 metres in length. There is also an area at each of the pitch, measuring between ten to 22 metres, called the dead-ball area (A dead ball occurs when it either enters this part of the pitch or when a referee signals a penalty or other stoppage in the game). Goalposts stand in the centre of each end of pitch, on the goal line, and are shaped like an upper case H. The posts measure 5.6 metres across, with the horizontal post three metres from the ground.

As in nearly all other competitive sports, the chief aim of each team is to score as many points as possible by the close of the game. A game is played over eighty minutes, split into two forty minute halves, with extra time added on to account for stoppages and injuries, unless, as in international Test rugby, the clock is stopped every time a stoppage in play occurs and the match / half-time period ends as soon as the ball goes dead after forty minutes has been played.

Each team is made up of fifteen players, with up to seven replacements available to each team. Eight of this number makes up the ‘Forwards’, players numbered one to eight, and the remaining seven are the ‘Backs’, wearing jerseys numbered nine to fifteen.

A game of rugby is started with a kick from the centre of the pitch, and after a score occurs this also takes the form of restarting the game. The ball must travel at least ten metres into the opposing side’s territory at the start of the game and on each restart thereafter, the opposition must be atleast ten metres from the halfway line at the restart.

Teams progress the ball upfield in order to attack their opponent’s territory with the aim of reaching the goal line (sometimes called try-line) and scoring a try by touching the ball down past the goal line in the in-goal area. There are two ways for the team in possession of the ball to move upfield, either running with and passing the ball backwards to other teammates, or by kicking the ball further into the opposing side’s territory with the intention of either beating the opposition to the ball to continue attacking, allowing the opposition to catch the ball and then pressure them in their territory or by kicking the ball into touch via the touchline on the side of the pitch. A line-out is the result of kicking the ball into touch, which is awarded to the defending side; this entails a number of players (usually forwards) lining up in parallel lines at the point where the ball was kicked into touch, with the aim of winning possession of the ball that is thrown in by the hooker.

The ball must be passed backwards from player to player, never forwards as this an illegal move and would result in a scrummage to the opposition. An opposing side will attempt to tackle the ball carrier of the side in possession. A tackle must only be made on the player carrying the ball, and involves bringing the ball carrier to ground with a move on or below the shoulders (anything higher is deemed dangerous and would result in a penalty being awarded). Once a player is grounded he / she must release the ball, the supporting teammates then form a ruck in order to regain the ball. Alternatively, after an attempted tackle has been made on a player but the player has not been grounded resulting in a hold, a maul can be formed. A maul is where the player held bythe opposition is joined by his or her own teammates in a loose 'scrum' moving the ball upfield by driving it forward and counteacting the opposition's force.

Play continues according to these principles until a side scores or an offence is committed, resulting in a penalty. Penalties are awarded if the opposing team commits an offence, or illegal move. There are four ways of taking the ensuing penalty, and in doing so restarting the game:

Tap and run: A quickly taken penalty, signalled by visibly kicking the ball a short distance (usually to the penalty taker's hands), to take advantage of the opponent’s retreating and perhaps unorganised defence.

Scrum: The attacking side may take advantage of a scrum, particularly if near to the goal line with the intention of achieving a pushover try.

Kick to touch: Largely used to gain a large amount of territory, the team with the penalty wins the resultant line-out from a kick to touch.

Kick at goal: A penalty goal, if successful, is worth three points to the team. If it is missed and goes dead (either by going into touch outside of the in-goal area or by being caught by a defending team member and touched to the ground in the in-goal area), a 22 metre drop-out is awarded to the defending side.

Points can be scored in a variety of ways:

Try: A try score, worth five points, occurs when a player carries and grounds the ball over the opposing side’s goal line. As this is the highest points-scoring move of the game, it is often a team’s primary aim to score as many tries as possible.

Conversion: A conversion, worth two points, only occurs after a try has been scored. The try-scoring team aim to kick the ball over and between the posts, the kick taking place in line to where the ball was grounded for the try.

Penalty Goal: When a team is awarded a penalty due to an offence committed by the opposing side, one of the options a team has, if close enough to the goal posts, is an attempt at goal. If the ball is kicked between the uprights and over the horizontal bar, a team is awarded three points.

Drop Goal: an increasingly important mode of scoring in the modern game, a drop goal occurs in the run of play, or open play, when a player near enough to the goal posts slots the ball between the posts and over the bar by first dropping the ball to the ground and kicking towards the posts immediately after the resultant bounce. A drop goal is worth three points.

Penalty Try: On rare occasions a penalty try may be awarded to a team by the match referee. This happens when the defending side have committed a foul which has more than prevented the other team from scoring a try, or if the opposing team repeatedly break down the run of play close to the goal line.

Link for WRU Basic Principles:-



The largest players in a rugby union team, props must also be the strongest – especially in the upper body, shoulders and neck – as they are the key to the power of the scrum, bearing the full brunt of the opposition in the front row of the scrum. Each team requires two props for the scrum, the two props must support the hooker when scrummaging by holding up the opposition, and are also responsible for lifting or supporting the team’s jumper in a line-out.

There are two prop positions in a rugby team, a Loose Head Prop and a Tight Head Prop. Loose Head Props wear the No.1 jersey and are positioned to the left of the hooker (No.2) in the front row of the scrum (he/she will be the nearest player to the scrum half when the ball is put into the scrum).

Tight Head Props wear the No.3 jersey and are positioned to the right of the hooker. They are so-called as their head is locked into a scrum between the opposing side’s hooker and loose-head, whereas the latter has no man to his left in the scrum.

A Hooker wears the No.2 jersey in the team, forms the front row in the middle of either prop and is chiefly responsible for ‘hooking’ the ball out of a scrum with his/her feet. The hooker is also usually the team member chosen to throw the ball into a line-out.

Locks wear the No.4 and No.5 jerseys on the field and tend to be some of the tallest and most athletic players on the pitch. Due to their physique, locks tend to be the line-out jumpers in each team, and are also key ball-winners at restarts of a game. Their other main responsibility within a game is to support the front row of a scrum; locks join the scrum by placing their heads between the prop and hooker on each side. They are often prominent figures in rucks and mauls.

Flankers (or wing forwards) make up the second or back row of the forwards along with locks. They join the scrum on either side of the lock, providing support and stability instead of pushing as hard as the tight five, as they have to prevent the oncoming attacking backs if the opposing side win the scrum.

Openside Flankers bind to the side of the scrum that is furthest away from the touchline, where open play is likely to occur, and typically wears the No.7 jersey.

Blindside Flankers, wearing the No.6, bind to the scrum on the side nearest to the touchline. With the fewest responsibilities, flankers need to be the team’s all-rounders with speed, strength, fitness, tackling and handling attributes. Along with the No.8 they are responsible for the forward movement of play and the exponents of gaining possession from the opposing side.

The No.8 concludes the second row with the locks and flankers, working closely with the latter to gain possession fro the opposition and encourage forward attack from his own team. A No.8 is positioned behind the two locks in a scrum and in drawing them together locks in the strength of the tight five forwards. He/she is also responsible, once the hooker has kicked the ball backwards, for guiding the ball towards the scrum half, or picking the ball up from the back of the scrum to begin an attack. Due to the size and strength typified by a No.8, they can be used as a line-out jumper, or used to support the jumper if not in use.

Often the key player of the fifteen, the Scrum Half wears the No.9 jersey and is the player that most closely connects the backs to the forwards. Often the dictator of the direction of play and always at the centre of the action, the scrum half puts the ball into the scrum and on most occasions collects the ball at the back of a winning scrum to begin an attacking movement. The scrum half can also make the decisions at a line-out. This high-pressure position demands excellent ball-handling and decision making skills along with the attributes of evasive running skills and precise kicking abilities. A tactical player with an ability to read the game effectively is crucial in the role of the scrum half.

The Outside / Fly Half occupyies one of the most influential positions on the pitch. The fly half (originating from the term flying half back) or stand-off half wears the No.10 jersey. Responsible for positional and defensive place-kicking on the field, the fly half is normally the chief goal kicker in the team. The position demands the skills of decision making and leadership and a high level of kicking ability is crucial in this role; the fly half should also be an exceptional and evasive runner.

Wings, playing in the No.11 and No.14 jerseys on either side of the pitch, are often the fastest runners on the pitch responsible for finishing attacking moves in try-scoring. It is essential that wings are evasive and pacy runners, have outstanding ball retention skills and also provide a certain flair to attacking moves. Kicking skills must also be exceptional; a wing must be able to kick long effectively to gain territory or put the ball into touch, initiate high, box or grubber kicks whilst also being able to deal with high or long kicks from the opposition.

The two Centres in a team are strong, agile runners and ball carriers who often initiate breaks in attack. They also provide defensive cover and are subsequently are strong in the tackle; centres need to be able to read the game insightfully as they are often key decisions makers in the direction of the game. An Inside Centre wears the No.12 jersey and tends to be the larger of the two. The Outside Centre wears the No.13 jersey and is the smaller and often more agile and faster centre.

The Fullback wears the No.15 jersey and is the last line of defence. They are often required to catch long kicks from the opposition and enact counter attacks with the newly-acquired possession. They need excellent attacking, running and kicking skills, but also possess the ability to organise the defence. The fullback, as the deepest player in position on the field, must benefit from the greater opportunity and space he has by reading the game well, supporting the attacking movement of his fellow backs and tackling efficiently when necessary to prevent try-scoring efforts of the opposition.