Rugby’s existence made its first debut in the town of Rugby, England, in the year 1823. Supposedly a man named William Webb Ellis was playing a casual game of association soccer, when he decided to pick up the ball and run with it toward the opposition’s goal line. The sport developed over time, leaving us with the Rugby Union, a full contact team sport traditionally played with 15 players on each side.
ADVANTAGE LAW – Allows play to proceed after an infringement in the case of the non-offending team receiving an advantage.
ATTACKING TEAM – The team in possession of the ball.
BACKS – Players who spread out and attempt to run the ball delivered from a scrum or lineout.
DEAD BALL LINE – The limit to which a try can be scored beyond the
DEFENDING TEAM – The team not in possession of the ball.
DROP KICK – A kick made after the ball has reached or bounced off the ground. Worth three points if it clears the goalposts; also used to restart play after a score or certain other occasions.
FORWARD PASS – A violation that usually results in a scrum to the non-offending side.
FORWARDS – Players who pack in a scrum or throw and jump in a lineout.
FREE KICK – A relatively minor law violation that allows the non-offending side to restart play in an unopposed fashion. Opponents must retreat 10-meters and wait for the non-offending team to kick the ball through the mark. A free kick cannot be taken for goal.
INFRINGEMENT – A breaking of a law.
INTERCEPT – To catch a pass intended for a member of the opposition.
KNOCK ON – The accidental hitting of the ball from the hands or arms toward the dead ball line. Results in the same scenario as a forward pass — a scrum to the non offending team.
LINEOUT – Restarts play after the ball goes out over the touchline. The team that didn’t touch the ball last has the throw-in.
MARK – The place where the referee signals play will be restarted. For example, the referee marks where the scrum will take place, or where the penalty has occurred.
OFFSIDE – Players in front of a member of their own team who was last in possession of the ball, or in front of established lines at a scrum. Lineouts of loose play are said to be offsides. In some instances, one can retreat to an onside position without penalty; other times the infraction is automatically a violation.
PACK – Forward unit of a team, engages in scrum and lineouts.
PENALTY – Awarded after a serious infringement of the laws. Offenders are required to retire 10-meters while the opposition is given possession to restart play unopposed. Many times the non-offending team will attempt a kick at goal, worth three points.
PUT IN – Rolling the ball down the center of the scrum tunnel.
RUCK – A ball-winning activity following a tackle and release; a ruck is formed if a player from both teams is in physical contact over the ball.
SCRUM – A way to restart play where a bound group of players form a tunnel with the opposition.
SEVENS – An abbreviated game of rugby that follows the same laws but for the number of players and time of the contest. A 7s team fields only seven players; each half is seven minutes long. Much like a game of three-on-three full court basketball, it’s a wide-open contest.
SET PIECE – A term for scrums and lineouts.
SUPPORT PLAYERS – Players who position themselves to increase the ball transfer options of the ball carrier.
TAP KICK (OR “TAP MOVE”) – A gentle kick to oneself, followed by a pick up, used to restart play after either a penalty or free kick is awarded.
THROW IN – Throwing the ball down the middle of a lineout.
TOUCHLINE – The side boundary of the field (sideline).
TRY – Forcing the ball onto the ground with downward pressure over the opposition’s goal line.
22-METER LINE – Balls kicked out of bounds from behind the “22” restarted by a lineout where the ball went out; balls kicked out of bounds from in front of the 22 are restarted by a lineout where the ball was kicked. The exception is a ball kicked out of bounds immediately after a penalty has been awarded; the lineout is held where the ball went out and the non-offending team retains the throw-in.