Following the Bluffer’s Guide to the Rugby World Cup, here is a quick overview of rugby for those that have jumped on the England Rugby bandwagon – the more the merrier by the way.
Rugby was invented in England (in Rugby would you believe?) by William Webb Ellis nearly 200 years ago – seeing an opportunity to improve on the boring game of ‘soccer’ he was involved in, he picked up the ball and ran with it. And therein lies the essence of the game.
Fifteen players (8 forwards and 7 backs) on each side attempt to touch the oval-shaped ball down over the other team’s try line (a try) to score 5 points, after which they will try to kick it over the posts to convert it into 7 points. Dropped goals – everyone knows what they are thanks to Jonny – and penalty kicks are worth 3 points.
Forwards tend to be bigger and slower, whilst backs are usually smaller and faster. Obviously there are some exceptions to this – Jonah Lomu was a back and was massive and fast, Andy Farrell is a back and is exceptionally slow.
Players run carrying the ball and can only pass sideways or backwards to one another, or they can kick it wherever they like. Scrums and lineouts are ways of restarting the game, whilst rucks and mauls happen when a player is tackled and everyone else fights to get the ball back.
Most teams will try to get their forwards running at the opposition defenders a couple of times, knocking them over and creating space elsewhere for the backs to run into and score a try.
England is slightly different in this respect as the forwards will just try to get close enough to the posts for Jonny to get a dropped goal, but who cares because at the end of the game, the team with the most points wins!