Basic Rules of Rugby

Learn the basic rules of rugby for a fun, fast-paced game that has some similarities to football.

Add a little rugby equipment and a rugby ball, and you’ve got all you need for an exciting game that will give your kids a great workout!

As you look through these basic rugby rules, you’re going to see some terms that may seem strange and funny to you because rugby has a vocabulary all its own.

I mean, where else but on a rugby pitch will you find yourself in the middle of a scrum, a ruck or a maul?

But, no worries! With just a little help you’ll be speaking Rugby in no time!

A lot of kids haven’t ever seen a rugby game played before. Let me tell you, it’s a very unique and crazy-looking sport!

If the game sounds a little too rough for you, don’t worry. There are plenty of ways you can modify the rules of rugby to make it a little safer and more appropriate for your situation.

Object of the Game

rugby goal post

Rugby is a game played by two teams with 15 players each who try to earn points by getting the ball across the opponent’s goal line or kicking it over the crossbar between the goalposts.

It’s a very fast-moving game with very few stops in the action and continuous change of possession.

Every player on the field has to be able to play offense and defense because they may all have opportunities to run, pass, kick, and catch the ball as well as defend and tackle opponents.

Playing Area

rugby pitch

Rugby is played on a field called a “pitch” that’s about the size of a soccer field. A standard pitch measures 110 yards long by 75 yards wide. There is an end zone at each end beyond the goal line that’s 25 yards deep.

A crossbar with upright goalposts is located in the center of each team’s goal line. It’s about the same size as those used in American football.

Check out this rugby field diagram if you’d like to see more specific rugby field dimensions and how the pitch is marked.

Rugby Equipment

rugby ball

The only piece of equipment you really need to play rugby is a rugby ball, which looks like a fat football with rounded ends.

It’s made of leather or synthetic material that’s easy to grip. Unlike a football, a rugby ball doesn’t have any laces.

Rugby balls come in various sizes (3, 4, or 5) for youth, intermediate, and adult players.

Things to know before the rugby match at the Camp Nou

The Camp Nou will host rugby league on Saturday, 4.30pm CEST. The Catalans Dragons from Perpignan will face the Wigan Warriors in the Super League. So, here are 10 things for you to know about the sport played with an oval ball:

1) The Perpignan Catalans Dragons are a rugby club who were founded in 2006 in the southern French city. Immediately after their creation they joined the English Super League, and are one of the European elite in this sport. The club has grown and grown, serving up competition for the area’s rugby union club, the USAP, and are seven times champions of France.

 2) The Dragons managed to win the first trophy in their history last summer, the Challenge Cup, after beating the Warrington Wolves (20-14) in the final at Wembley, a stadium full of good memories for Barça as it is where they won two Champions League titles in 1992 and 2011. Before this unprecedented win for the Perpignan club, the English stadium reverberated to the sound of ‘Els Segadors,’ the Catalans Dragons’ anthem, as well as that of Catalonia.

3) On September 23, 2018, the Catalan Dragons had a schedule full of events in Barcelona after their historic victory in the Challenge Cup. The Generalitat received them and the Camp Nou, at half-time between Barça v Girona, showed their appreciation.

4) Against Wigan, the Dragons could find it difficult, having previously lost 42-0 to the same opponents earlier in the seaosn. However, at the moment, the Dragons have 8 wins and 6 defeats in the Super League, giving them 16 points in fourth place whilst the English team are eighth with 12 points (6 wins and 8 defeats).

5) For Saturday’s duel at the Camp Nou, the Catalans Dragons will wear a special blaugrana shirt, similar to the Barça jersey. The French club usually plays in white, red and yellow and its badge carries the colours of the Catalan flag.

6) Next week, the Catalans Dragons will play at Anfield during the traditional Magic Weekend. The 12 Super League clubs are invited.

7) Wigan Warriors, a club located in near Manchester, are the current champions of the Super League.

8) The Super League is one of the best rugby leagues in the world, along with the National Rugby League in Australia and New Zealand. At the end of the regular season of the Super League, the top 8 play a final league phase (a Super 8) retaining the points of the regular season. At this stage, all teams face each other once before the top four meet in the semifinals.

9) Two years ago at the Camp Nou, a rugby match was held. And there was a record attendance of 99,000 people. on that occasion it was the final of the 14 (French rugby union) between Racing Metro and Toulon. In 2009, the Dragons played at Montjuïc Olympic Stadium in front of 18,150 spectators.

All You need to Know about Rugby

Rugby is one of the most physical of sports. Internationally the pinnacle of the sport lies in the Rugby World Cup. Other tournaments such as the Tri Nations (including South Africa, New Zealand and Australia), Six Nations (including England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Italy and France) and the Heineken Cup are other tournaments which are held in high esteem throughout.

Object of the Game

The object of the game is score more points than your opponents in the 80 minute time frame allotted for each rugby match. The team with the greater number of points at full time is announced as the winner. Games may end as a draw.

The team with the ball must move the ball up the field in ‘phases of play’. The ball can never be passed forwards but players can run forwards with the ball or kick the ball forward to chase it down. The opposing team needs to stop the attacking team by tackling and trying to retain the ball.

Players & Equipment

Each rugby team will consist of 15 players. The team is split into two groups known as forwards and backs. There are 8 forwards (positions include Hooker, Prop, Second Row, Flanker and Number Eight) and 7 backs (positions include Scrum Half, Fly Half, Inside Centre, Outside Centre, Wingers and a Full Back).

The pitch is split up into three sections; one main playing area which must not exceed 100 metres and two dead goal areas which can range from 10 to 20 m. The pitch must then be equal to 70 metres wide. The goal posts are in an ‘H’ shape and are roughly 5 to 6 meters apart with no restrictions on height.

Studded boots can be worn along with gum shields, head guards, shoulder pads and shin pads. Each team must wear the same coloured jerseys with matching shorts and socks.


Points can be scored by one of four ways:

  • try is awarded when a player places the ball down in their opponent’s dead ball area behind the goal. 5 points are awarded.
  • conversion is a free kick that the team is awarded after a try to earn 2 bonus points. A successful kick needs to pass between the upper posts and top bar on the goal.
  • penalty kick will gain a team 3 points and is awarded to a team when the opposing team causes an infringement.
  • drop goal can be kicked out of the hand as long as the ball bounces first and can earn a team 3 points.

Winning the Game

To win the game you must score more points than your opponent within 80 minutes. Points can be scored via any of the methods mentioned above.

Rules of Rugby

  • The game is broken down into two 40 minute halves with a 10 minute rest period in between. The game carries no stoppage time and will end exactly on 80 minutes.
  • Each team can start with 15 players and up to 7 substitutes. Players that have left the field are only allowed to return if they have been treated for an injury.
  • The field must be roughly 100 metres long and 70 metres wide with a minimum of a 10 metre dead ball area. The H shaped goal needs to be 6 metres wide with no restrictions on height.
  • The field consist of the following markings; half way line, 5 metre line, 22 metre line, 10 metre line and dead ball line. Also included is a centre spot for restarting the game after a try, penalty or drop goal has been scored.
  • The game must have one referee and two touch judges. It’s the referee’s job to time keep, make decisions throughout the game and keep order on the field. The two touch judges can assist the referee with decisions and also notify the referee when players are in touch (out of playing boundaries).
  • The game will stop if a player is fouled, the ball goes out of play or a try or drop goal is scored.
  • The defending team must tackle a player by grabbing a hold and pulling them to the floor. A tackle cannot be made above shoulder height and doing so will cause the referee to award a foul.
  • Once the ball goes into touch a line out is called. Up to 7 players can enter a line out and any of these players can be lifted in order to catch the ball being thrown in. Both teams can compete to win the ball.
  • A successful conversion, penalty or kick at goal only occurs when the player manages to kick the ball through the top section of the goal. If a player is unsuccessful the ball is still in play until it crosses one of the playing fields boundaries.
  • Attacking players must remain behind the ball whilst active or run the risk of being called offside. Players not interfering with play can be in front of ball but must get back behind the ball before then again interfering with play.