The Unofficial "Rugby Survival Guide" for Rugby Neophytes

By Mark Bryant

Your First Game

Let's keep it simple at the beginning.

1. Hit anything that is carrying the ball.
Note: Generally you will be more popular if that happens to be a person on the other team, also the referee is not a good target.

2. When you get the ball run like hell!
Note: Your teammates would prefer that to be in the direction of your opponents goal area.

Second Game

Mastering the pass.

1. Pass the ball backwards to a teammate that is in a better position to advance the ball.
Note: Screaming and throwing the ball up in the air to avoid being hit is considered "bad form".

2. Follow slightly behind your teammate who is carrying the ball so that you can receive a pass.
Note: If you drop the ball continuously, you will become what they call a "prop forward".

Third Game

Mastering the kick.

1. Kick the ball forward over your opponents head and catch it on the run.
Note: If you are a forward then dropping the ball near your foot and kicking anyone in the vicinity is good enough.

Subtleties of the Game

Now that you have mastered running, tackling, passing and kicking we'll cover some of the finer points:

The Ruck: This is a situation where 3 to 20 people pile on top of the tackled player. The play is whistled by the the referee when all the air has been compressed out of the tackled player's lungs.

The Maul: Instead of being tackled to ground, the player is kept on his feet by the tacklers. The object is to bend as many of the ball carrier's fingers away from the ball. The play is whistled by the referee after the first cracking sound.

The Line Out: When the ball goes out of the playing area a "throw in" is awarded. The object is to elbow the opposing player's face while attempting to catch the ball.

Offside: In a ruck or maul situation you are not allowed to "steal" the ball from the opposition by running behind the play. It is mandatory that you step on or over the tackled player first.

Scrum: The eight forwards bind together and push against the other forwards. The object is to allow the forwards to beat and bruise each other and give the backs a chance to catch their breath.