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The rules of rugby

Letter to the Editor | Friday, April 18, 2008

Come support the Notre Dame Rugby Football Club as they take on the No. 25 team in the nation, Ohio State. The match is at 12 p.m. on the new rugby pitch, next to the Bookstore Basketball courts. Don’t know the rules you say? Be not afraid, for I come before you with this basic guide to rugby.

A rugby match is played over two 40-minute, running-clock halves. Each side has 15 players; eight players make up the forwards or ‘pack’ (similar to linemen and linebackers in American football) and seven players make up the backs (similar roles to the backs and receivers in American football).

The ball can be moved by carrying it, passing it laterally or backwards, or kicking it at any time during play. A “knock on” is called if the ball is hit or passed forward accidentally, resulting in a scrum to the opposition.

When a tackled player goes to the ground, they must release the ball immediately. As soon as that happens, the opposition will want to get their hands on the ball, and the team in possession will not want to give it away. So to gain possession, both sides must try to drive over the ball to make it available for their teammates, this is called “rucking.”

A scrum is used to restart in a number of situations and involves each teams’ forwards coming together, binding together by the shoulders over the ‘mark’ and trying to hook the ball back to their team’s side once the ball is placed in the channel. If a ball is kicked or taken out of bounds, the ball is restarted by a lineout, similar to a soccer throw-in. A try, worth five points, is awarded when a player touches the ball down in the opponent’s try zone. A conversion kick, worth two points, is attempted after a try is scored.

Well I hoped that we all learned a little something here. So before you watch the Blue-Gold game, and before you go and enjoy some roasted pig on St. Pete’s Street, come support the Notre Dame Rugby Football Club.

Bob Huguelet


Stanford Hall

April 16