Ninh Explains the Rules of Rugby League
The object of the game is for your team to score more points than the opposing team.
The game is played with two teams of 13, playing on a field that’s: In rugby, you may run forwards with the ball
and you may kick the ball forwards. But what’s interesting about Rugby is that
you can only pass the ball backwards or sideways. You cannot pass the ball forwards and doing
so will result in your opponent being awarded possession.
The idea is to score points, and there are several ways to do this.
1) A Try. You can run with the ball into your opponent’s in-goal area and place the ball
down on the ground. This is a try and is worth 4 points. Unlike in American Football, the
player MUST press the ball on the ground with downward pressure. No downward pressure=no
try. 2) A conversion. After scoring a try, you
are awarded a conversion kick to add more points. The kick is made from a spot 20 metres
from the goal line and perpendicular to the spot where the try was scored. Kicking the
ball between the posts and over the crossbar scores 2 POINTS.
3) A penalty. If you opponents commit a foul, you may choose to kick the ball from the ground
between the goal posts. This also scores two points.
4) A drop goal. You can also kick the ball between the posts at any time during open
play. To do this, you must drop the ball on the ground first before kicking it.
This is known as a drop-goal, and is rarely seen because it only scores 1 POINT.
It doesn’t seem like much, but in close games, this might make the difference between
winning and losing. To stop you from scoring, your opponents will
try and stop you by tackling. Your opponent can grab you below the shoulders
and pull you to the floor or stop you moving forwards. In Rugby League, once a player is tackled,
the opponent MUST let go of the ball carrier, and his team MUST retreat 10 metres.
The ball carrier is allowed to stand up and kick the ball back to a team mate to start
the process over again. You are allowed up to six tackles to score.
That’s right, six. Six is the magic number, and the number of
tackles allowed is 6. If your team is tackled a sixth time, your
opponent gets possession of the ball from the spot of the tackle.
Just like in American Football, a team will usually kick the ball away after the fifth
tackle to make it more difficult for the other team to score.
The game is played in two 40 minute halves. For a combined playing time of 80 minutes.
Team with the highest score after 80 minutes wins.
In summary: A team will run with the ball, get tackled,
kick it back, run forwards, get tackled again, kick it back, run forwards, get tackled yet
again, kick it back run forwards etc. 6 times over and then the other team gets to have
a go. That’s it right? Well, that’s basically the gist of it, but
there’s a few other rules you’ll need to understand before playing or going to a
game. For example:
Knock on: Any player deflecting the ball forwards with
their arms or body is committing ‘knock on’.
Remember, you’re not allowed to pass the ball forwards, so you’re not allowed to
deflect it forwards either unless it’s a kick.
Committing a knock on will result in the other team being awarded a scrum.
Scrum: This is a method of restarting play, usually
after a ‘knock on’ or ‘forward pass’. The forwards of both teams line up and push
against one another whilst the ball is rolled between them.
Possession of the ball is usually won by the team that is awarded the scrum.
In touch: This is rugby terminology for ‘out of the
playing area’. The outer lines of the field are touch lines,
and any ball leaving the field of play is said to be ‘in touch’.
40-20 Kick: If you think you can kick the ball from behind
your own 40 metre line, bounce it on the floor and into touch within the opposition’s 20
metre line, your team is awarded possession. The referee will award you an extra six tackles
and possession of a scrum where the ball has left the field.
This can be a tremendous advantage if kicked correctly as you gain big field position with
a single kick of the ball. However, it’s easier said than done and
should you fail to execute this, your opponents are given the ball where your kick was made.
This is disastrous and can potentially cost you the match if you get it wrong. There are many other rules not discussed here,
but as you watch or play these games, they will be very clear.
Remember, if you can count to six, yes, six, then you understand Rugby League. Ninh Ly, www.ninh.co.uk, @NinhLyUK