Rugby Union - A brief guide.

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It is widely believed that William Webb Ellis who picked the ball up in an association football match at Rugby School in 1823 and started running with it, was the catalyst that kicked started Rugby Union. The first rugby club was founded at Guy's Hospital London in 1843, Rugby School published the first rules in 1845.

Rules and other Info a ball game played with an oval ball in which handling of the ball is allowed. 

Two teams of 15 players on a rectangular pitch approximately 100m x 70m with H shaped goals at each end, additionally there is an 'in goal' area at each end of the pitch which extends backwards from the goal line 10m and runs the width of the pitch.  The pitch is divided into two equal halves and further lines cross the pitch 5m and 22m from the goal line. 

The 5m line is broken the 22m is solid. Further to these markings broken lines run parallel to the side lines at 5m and 15m  these end 5m from the goal line.  The duration of the game is 80 minutes divided into 40 minutes halves and teams change ends at half time.

The aim of the gaime is to score more points than your opponents you get 5 points for a try, a try is acheived when you advance the ball and press it onto the surface on or over the opponents goal line. 

You can also score points by kicking the ball between the post and over the bar an attempt is allowed after a try for which two points are awarded, the ball must be placed on the ground. Known as a conversion. infringements of the rules are sometimes punished with a penalty and this will gain three points if successful, finally a drop goal also worth three points to acheive this a player must drop the ball so it bounces then kick it so it passes over the bar.

Advancement is made by running with the ball passing it to another player, by kicking or in certain circumstances advancing when bound to another team mate, forward passes are not allowed.  The opposition may tackle the player with the ball with their arms, Minor infringements of the rules will result in a scrum this involves 8 players from each side, the forwards bind together in rows, heads locked together and they push against each other.  The ball is put in to the gap between the front rows, the team putting the ball in usually is able to move the ball to the rear of the scrum with thier feet and from there it is removed and passed to a team member

Major Competitions

Major competitions are 6 Nations Championship a round robin event involving England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and Italy first won in 1882 by England (only 4 nations)

World Cup first held in 1987 now takes place every 4 years the last winners were England.

Tri Nations held between the Rugby super powers of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Heineken European Cup started in 1996 as a cup competition for the Major European Club sides.

Super 12 another competition started in 1996 for the leading teams in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.