Idiot's Guide to Rugby

(Reprinted from The Australian Oct 99)



Advantage Rule

One refs don't play enough. He allows play to continue after a foul if stopping would disadvantage the non-offending team.

Ankle Tap

Spectacular when they work, but in reality a last-ditch effort by an out-paced player to tackle an opponent by diving and slapping his ankle.


Play one badly and you'll be in tears. In polite terms, it's a kick where it really hurts.


Not your alter-ego after too many beers, but the playing area nearest the touchline and next to a scrum, maul or ruck. Domain of loose forwards

and scrumhalf.

Cauliflower Ear

Move over Elephant Man. A deformity of the ear caused by repeated blows and rubbing of the head in a scrum, particularly in the second row.

Also rugby parlance for selective hearing by your rugby mates.

Clearance Kick

A defender faced with a marauding charge by rampaging forwards manages to stop his knees from shaking long enough to boot the ball as far

as he can into touch.

Dummy Pass

No, not a bad pass that's wildly astray. Rather, it's a feigned pass to deceive the opponent on defence.

Hospital Pass

Good pass for settling scores with a team-mate you don't like. Ball lands into the hands of you mate in imminent proximity of a direct hit.

Liverpool Kiss

No act of affection. Unless you are Irish. Commonly known as a Head Butt.


Struggle among players for ball that has not touched the ground.


Contrary to other drug laden sports, another word for the ball


Like a maul, but ball is on the ground and heeled back into possession by players. Despite the rules, it's not alway the ball that gets heeled back either.


Where the oxen of rugby love to be. A way of restarting play after an infringement. The eight forwards from each team pack down in tight formation and the ball is served into the tunnel and heeled back for possession.

Tap Penalty

Blink and you won't see it. That's the idea from the player of the team awarded the penalty who takes it. The kick is barely nudged forward before it's caught and either passed, kicked, or moved on the run.

Up and Under

A punt kick by a player on the attacking side where the ball is sent high into the sky over their opponent's head. This gives teammates time to, at least, scare the living daylights out of defenders as they charge down on the ball. Commonly called a Garryowen.