Play rugby

Every year we take in at least 10 players who have never played or even watched any rugby before. If this you... you've come to the right place. The most effective way to learn the game is to come down to practice and give it a try, but it does help to familiarize yourself with the basics first.
  • 15 players on each team
  • Score by advancing the ball over the opponent's goal line and touching the ball down
  • You can only pass the ball sideways or backwards.
  • No blocking
  • After a player is tackled the game does not stop, both teams compete for the ball
There are a few more details, but this is the real essence of the game.
Here is short video that goes into some more details and introduces some of the jargon.

Basic attacking play

In rugby there is no blocking or forward passes, this means that if you are on the attacking team everyone needs to be behind the ball. This is the most counter-intuitive element of rugby compared to soccer/football/basketball where everyone's instinct is to run forwards as far as possible.

Almost all tries come from some mix of individual speed/power and fast teamwork of the ball. The most dangerous combination is a player coming from deep behind the ball at full speed. Look at the video below for some great examples of attacking play.

Basic defensive play

A common misconception is that rugby has more concussions than American football because people don't wear helmets, in fact the opposite is true. Because players do not have helmets/pads it is extremely important to tackle with proper form. That means using your shoulder, with your head safely to the side and tackling low around the thighs.

That being said, it doesn't mean that a rugby doesn't have big hits... it does - and they're awesome!

Tackling is an individual exercise, but defense is as a team. It is crucial that the defending team maintains a flat line in defense. This means that every defending player should be in a parallel line across the field, without any "chinks" for attackers to run through.

Key takeaways for new players:

  • Attack: get behind the ball ready to run fast and straight forward onto it.
  • Defense: join the defensive line and make a flat line with your team to guard each channel.

For daily updates on highlights/big hits go to