Rugby? What on Earth is that?


Rugby is a favorite sport among Brits. Don’t believe it when people tell you that rugby is our national sport; any good person will tell you that football is not.

I’ve had to accept the fact that many people outside of the English-speaking globe have never even heard of rugby, much alone watched it, played it, or understood it since I started living abroad. This has to change immediately, especially with England hosting the Rugby World Cup this fall.

According to legend, rugby was created in 1823 at Rugby School in the town of, you guessed it, Rugby. William Webb Ellis, a little child, thought that the football rules needed to be made more interesting, so he took the ball and ran with it. The rest of the regulations followed that.

I’ll admit that I’m not familiar with all of these regulations; they are intricate and seem to go on forever. Basics are as follows: The objective of the 80-minute play between two 15-person teams is to ground the oval ball as frequently as possible on the other team’s try line or into their in-goal area.

The only way to pass the ball is backwards, but you may sprint with it. Rugby is a contact sport, thus as long as the contact is below the shoulders, players can tackle one another for the ball. Some players are there to sprint quickly, while others are there to tackle.

If the ball crosses the offside line, a lineout is used to restart the game. The ball is tossed to each team’s two lines of players, who often lift one another to grab it. When one of the rules is broken, there are scrums, which resemble a bunch of people shoving one other (mainly because that’s what they are).

The goal posts, which are utilized for penalties and after a side scores a try, are the cherry on top. Five points are awarded for a successful try, with an additional two for a successful extra point kick (conversion). Three points are awarded for any additional kicks through the goalposts.

You see, it’s not that difficult. (I’m joking, by the way; I realize that it’s overly complicated, but I’m afraid that’s just the British way of doing things.)

Take up rugby. One of the most thrilling sports there is, for sure!

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