And if you're new to rugby...

Taken straight from the Telegraph posting with the same name - on 'em:

The Game
Two halves of 40 minutes each with 'added time' played at the end of each half to account for stoppages and injuries. In the knock-out stages of the World Cup, two periods of 15 minutes extra time will be played to find a winner in the event of a draw at full-time.

Each side consists of 15 players, divided into eight forwards and seven backs. Within the backs there will be one full-back, two wings, two centres, one fly-half and one scrum-half. In the forwards you have two props, one hooker, two locks, two loose forwards (also known as flankers) and one No 8. Up to seven substitutes are allowed in international matches.

One referee presides on the field of play, assisted by two touch judges, who mark where the ball goes out of play, adjudge kicks at goal and inform the referee of foul play.

A fourth official controls the movement of substitutes and the bench area, and a video referee sits by a TV monitor to adjudicate on some try decisions.

Methods of scoring
  • Try 5 points.
  • Penalty try 5 points.
  • Conversion 2 points.
  • Penalty goal 3 points.
  • Dropped goal 3 points.

Phases of play

Kick-off: You line up across the field to receive the ball from the opposition who have to kick it at least 10 metres into your half.

Scrum: When the game is restarted by the two sets of forwards packing down against each other.

Line-out: When the ball goes out of play over the touchline it is restarted by throwing the ball in and the two opposition packs 'jumping' against each other to secure possession.

Ruck: When a player is tackled to the ground and the ball touches the ground, he must immediately release the ball. At the ensuring melee players can only use their feet to play the ball. Players joining the ruck have to come from behind the feet of the rear-most player otherwise they will be deemed to be off-side.

Maul: When a player is held but is not tackled to the ground, a maul is formed as the two sets of forwards fight for possession. You are not allowed to drag this maul to the ground or join it from the side.

Common terms
Garryowen: When a team kick the ball high into the air in the general direction of the opposition full-back and chase hard to tackle him and win possession or a penalty. This tactic reportedly originated at the Garryowen club in Ireland.

Forward Pass: When passing the ball it is not meant to move in the direction of the opposition try-line - ie, it must either go backwards or at the very least be 'flat' between the passer and the receiver.

Not Straight: When the two packs scrum down or contest a line-out, the ball is meant to be put or thrown in straight.

Dummy pass: When you make out to pass to a team-mate but in fact retain possession of the ball.

Overlap: When the attacking side - ball in hand - have more players in that area of the field than the opposition.

Blindside: The narrow side of the pitch in relation to a scrum or a breakdown in play.

Openside: The broad side of the pitch in relation to a scrum or a breakdown in play.

Big Hit: When you pull off a big, painful but legal tackle on the opposition.

Gain line: A hypothetical line beyond which the attacking team must progress to gain territory after a set piece or a breakdown in play.

Phase: Phrase used by commentators and coaches. A phase is the time a ball is in play between breakdowns, i.e, first phase would be winning the ball at the line-out and passing to a centre who is tackled. Second phase would be winning the ball back from the breakdown and attacking again.


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