FEATURES

Rugby referee explains the Laws of the Game

5 Laws of the Game Every Rookie Needs to Know

FacebookTwitterRedditShare

Being a rookie rugby player is part of becoming a veteran and one step of the game we all experience. As such we all know it can be difficult, especially learning all the rules and how to apply them to the game and World Rugby Shop examines the 5 Laws of the Game all rookies need to know.


By Kimber Rozier CSCS, Pn1 – We were all rookies at one point or another, but once we picked up that oval ball, we never looked back. If you’re in that confusing, overwhelming spot of learning everything there is to know about rugby, welcome to the best sport you’ve ever played.

Related: 5 Things All New Rugby Players Need to Know…Before they Start Playing

I understand it can be a lot to take in. Between preparing the team for the season, running fitness, and drawing plays, your coach might forget a rule or two here and there. Make sure you learn these 5 rules every rookie needs to know, including the recent laws about tackling.

 

Offside

 

If the whole idea of tackling isn’t daunting enough, learning where the offside line lives is a nightmare. Especially since it shifts with the game. Eager new players will look to make an impact defensively and run the risk of standing offside. Learn early that you have to be behind the last foot in order to avoid a penalty.

Another note is figuring out when the ball is out. Refs might give a different answer on the day, but as soon as the ball leaves the ruck, it’s time to launch off the line and offside vanishes. That is, until, another tackle is made and ruck is formed. Rugby is a constant cycle of launching and realigning, and it’s crucial that new players learn to align behind the back foot.

Pro Tip: Stand a meter behind the ruck and make sure you’re aligned with your teammates. The person directly next to the ruck has the best vision of the last foot and should set the line for everyone else. If it’s during set piece, the refs will look to the fly half to set the line 5 or 10 meters back.

Read the Law: 11 – Offside and Onside in General Play

 

Proper Entry at the Ruck

 

I get it. It’s tempting to just clock someone from the side and tell them to get off of your teammate. After all, the ruck is a battle. But the beauty of rugby, and what differs us from the rest, is that our aggression is controlled and specific. Don’t blindside someone. Not only is it illegal, but it goes against the spirit of the game – we’re entrusted to protect ourselves as well as the integrity of safe contact.

A ruck is “a phase of play where one or more players from each team, who are on their feet, in physical contact, close around the ball on the ground. Open play has ended. Players are rucking when they are in a ruck and using their feet to try to win or keep possession of the ball, without being guilty of foul play.”

If no one else is there, no ruck is formed you can come from the side, front, or wherever you want to take the ball and run with it. If there’s another player there and you aren’t sure whether you can grab the ball quickly enough, then don’t take a chance. Come in low, from an onside position, and remove the threat.

There’s an imaginary line straight behind the body of the tackled player – you have to go through that. Make sure you get around and come straight in rather than creeping in at an angle. The ruck will be formed as soon as you make contact with the opposition and your teammates can follow suit. Or you can join in an already-formed ruck to add more fighting power.

Pro tip: If you make the tackle, you’ll definitely be the first person there. Get back on your feet before any other player can arrive and get your body over the ball. If it’s available, fair game. If not, you’ve created havoc and a likely turnover.

Read the Law: 16 – The Ruck

 

Release the ball and tackled player

 

I see this one a ton in the first few games. We want to keep possession, so why would I let go and give the opposition a chance to grab it? Or why would I just let the tackler get away?

Well, it not only makes the game fun and interesting, but it also keeps us safe. If you didn’t have to release the tackler or the ball, mayhem would ensue and slow down the game. And no one wants to be stuck at the bottom of a dog pile.

Related: Essential Gear for Your First Rugby Training Session

Offensively, you have about a second to readjust and place the ball towards your team, or pop off of the ground. As a tackler, you need to let go as soon as they’re down and get back to your feet to contest (see above).

Pro tip: You can actually roll once as you’re placing the ball behind you to get a little more time and space. Don’t go crazy, because you’ll get binned if you’re just rolling down the field. But aggressively falling as you present ball back towards your team buys an advantage.

Read the Law: 15 – Tackle: Ball Carrier Brought to Ground

 

Touch the ball down

 

It seems simple, but everyone knows that guy who forgot and cost their team 5 points… It’s so obvious that we forget some players have never seen a rugby game, only the NFL. So they get all-excited for their first try and get tackled mid-celebration. As soon as you cross the whitewash in to the try zone, dot that ball on the floor under control. Don’t spike it, don’t drop it.

You can even touch the ball down without holding it. As long as there is downward pressure from your waist up and you didn’t knock it on (see below), it counts. An example would be a ball kicked into the try zone and touched down after crossing the line.

Pro tip: Make it easier on your kickers, please. If you have time and space to center the ball and THEN press it down, do so. Kicks have to be taken from the spot the try was scored, and two points can make a difference. It’s much harder to kick from 35 meters away at an angle than it is right in front of the posts. We don’t want to miss, but sometimes it’s the wind…

Read the Law: 22 – In-Goal

 

Knock on/Forward Pass

 

The only way the ball can travel forward legally is by running it or kicking it. That’s it. Hence, all passing and even dropping of the ball must be backwards. Use those fancy feet of yours to step around defenders, and then pass it to the open player behind you. This relies on two things: the depth of your support player and your ability to turn and pass.

Funny enough, this rule is actually more important when you don’t have the ball. Stay deep enough so that all your teammate has to do is think about passing you the ball. If you’re behind them, it’ll be backwards. Then, you have to catch the ball. Forwards will hate you, backs, if you drop the ball forward because this is a knock on.

Pro Tip: Try not to drop it (seems obvious), but if you must, at least drop it behind you so we can play on. AND don’t get cheeky on defense and intentionally knock it on to block a pass. You’ll earn yourself a shiny new yellow card.

Read the Law: 12 – Knock-on or Throw Forward

 

The Most Important Rule

 

Would it be incredibly cliche to say “have fun”?

Yeah, it would.

When it comes down to it, rugby is a simple game meant to be played and enjoyed. So it goes without saying that you should have fun. But I’m going to leave you with an edited version of what my first rugby coach told me. It’s a rule that applies to rugby as well as life.

Related: Rugby Boot Buyer’s Guide

If you’re going to mess up, mess up with confidence.

You’re not going to know everything, and that’s okay! You’re learning something incredibly foreign and no one expects you to get it right the first time. And even the best players in the world make mistakes. But you’ve got to go confidently into every situation, even if you decide to throw a hail mary pass 50 meters forward. You’ll only learn by first making mistakes. And who knows, maybe you know more than you think! Back yourself, trust your teammates, and have a go.


Kimber Rozier is a NSCA certified strength and conditioning specialist and Precision Nutrition nutritionist who holds dual Bachelor’s degrees in Exercise and Sport Science and Spanish from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She spends her time traveling the world as an international rugby player for the USA and her career in 7s and 15s has taken her to places such as Hong Kong, Paris, London, and Dubai. She earned a bronze medal in the 7s World Cup in Moscow and played fly half for the squad throughout 15s 2014 Rugby World Cup in Paris. Kimber has recently played overseas in Ireland, furthering her career with Railway Union and as an athlete with Scion Rugby Academy out of Washington, D.C. She is currently training with Harlequins in England.

/ by / 0 Comment
rugby cleat spotting Six Nations 2017

Rugby Cleat Spotting – Six Nations

FacebookTwitterRedditShare

The battle for European supremacy is heating up with two rounds played in the RBS Six Nations. We take a look at the footwear selections of some of the players that are lighting up the tournament. (more…)

/ by / 0 Comment
Jonny Wilkinson kicks the winning drop kick at the 2003 Rugby World Cup

The Training Pitch is Where Players Develop Mental Toughness

FacebookTwitterRedditShare

By Kimber Rozier CSCS, Pn1 – What is mental toughness? Try and define it, and you’ll probably come up with something along the lines of the ability to execute when facing obstacles or a resolve of steel when faced with high pressure situations. (more…)

/ by / 0 Comment
(Image courtesy official Guinness Pro12 website)

World Rugby Shop’s Guide To The Pro12

FacebookTwitterRedditShare

The domestic leagues in northern Europe can be tough to understand with the season running from the fall to spring and the Guinness Pro12 is the most confusing its unique cross-border format.  But never fear – World Rugby Shop is here to explain all! (more…)

/ by / 0 Comment
How to play rugby defense

Everything You Want To Know About Defensive Rugby (But Were Afraid To Ask)

FacebookTwitterRedditShare

Rugby is a game brimming with jargon, and if you’re a newbie, watching or playing it can feel like you’re back in the first day of a high-school language class at times, such is the volume of unique terminology bandied about the place. (more…)

/ by / 0 Comment
how to buy rugby shorts

Rugby Shorts Buyer’s Guide

FacebookTwitterRedditShare

Shorts are a necessary piece of equipment for every rugby player but not just any pair of shorts will stand up to the rigors of the game. Rugby shorts are designed and constructed to be as tough as the game and World Rugby Shop takes a look at what you need to consider when buying rugby shorts. (more…)

/ by / 0 Comment
Rugby ball being placed on rugby kicking tee

Rugby Kicking Tee Buyer’s Guide

FacebookTwitterRedditShare

Rugby kicking tees are a specialty piece of equipment but a necessary one that is a huge factor in whether a kicker can successful convert the post try conversion. World Rugby Shop takes a look at the differences between kicking tees to help you find the perfect one for your game. (more…)

/ by / 0 Comment
Vodafone partners with Australian Super Rugby clubs

Australian Super Rugby Clubs Partner with Vodafone

FacebookTwitterRedditShare

The 2017 Super Rugby season kicks off on Thursday, February 23 and the Australian Super Rugby clubs announced a partnership with Vodafone at the official league launch over the weekend. The league has been looking for a new sponsor since Asteron Life opted not to renew their contract at the end of last season. (more…)

/ by / 0 Comment
Attacking-Rugby-Article

Everything You Want To Know About Attacking Rugby (But Were Afraid To Ask)

FacebookTwitterRedditShare

A few weeks ago we gave you everything you wanted to know about rugby (but were afraid to ask) but apparently, you guys wanted to know even more! So, without further ado, we’re going to demystify some of the more confusing terms you’ll hear when a team is attacking with the ball… read on and be enlightened! (more…)

/ by / 0 Comment
Sydney Sevens Cleat Spotting

Rugby Cleat Spotting – Sydney Sevens

FacebookTwitterRedditShare

The 4th round of the HSBC Sevens Series stopped off in Sydney with the surging South Africa Blitzboks taking the title, their 3rd of the young season. The tournament featured many great moments with players leaving their mark on the fields of Sydney. (more…)

/ by / 0 Comment
referee-discussion

Law Discussion: New Rugby Test Laws for 2017

FacebookTwitterRedditShare

World Rugby, the international governing body for rugby, is once again tweaking the laws of the game. The goal is always, of course, to ‘improve’ the game and we take a look at the amendments that will be implemented this year. (more…)

/ by / 0 Comment
rugby-scrum-getty-2017

Everything You Want to Know About Rugby (But Were Afraid To Ask)

FacebookTwitterRedditShare

We all know that rugby is the most exciting, engaging sport around, but it’s not exactly the easiest one to understand. For newbies and long-time rugby fans some of the game’s history, rules and terminology can be a bit confusing. (more…)

/ by / 1 Comment
World Rugby Shop's Kimber Rozier and teammate Deven Owsiany of the USA during the IRB Women's Rugby World Cup 2014 5th/6th Place Playoff match

Negative Impacts of World Rugby’s New Tackle Laws

FacebookTwitterRedditShare

World Rugby implemented new ‘tackle laws’ (in reality they are not new laws but new instructions on how to enforce the laws) regarding tackling earlier this year. The changes focus on ‘reckless tackles’ and ‘accidental tackles’ and while the intentions are good the rules will have negative impacts on the game. (more…)

/ by / 0 Comment
Henshaw-Robbie-NikeMercurial

Six Nations 2017 – Five Players To Watch (And The Boots They Wear)

FacebookTwitterRedditShare

We’re just a few weeks away from some of rugby’s oldest and most bitter national rivalries resuming as the sport’s oldest tournament, the Six Nations Championship, kicks off once again. (more…)

/ by / 0 Comment
@SixNations
England win Six Nations Grand Slam

World Rugby Shop’s Guide To THE SIX NATIONS

FacebookTwitterRedditShare

The annual Six Nations tournament is upon us again, and as perhaps the most high-profile annual tournament on the international calendar, it’s an event that sees the the whole rugby world come together to watch as old rivalries are renewed between Europe’s best teams. (more…)

/ by / 0 Comment
Layering-basics-rugby

Layering Basics for Rugby Training and Matches

FacebookTwitterRedditShare

The rugby season runs from fall to spring in most parts of the United States. The cooler temperatures are nice but with them come inclement weather (cold, rain, and snow) to hamper training sessions and match days. World Rugby Shop examines some basic layering basics to help you stay warm and dry regardless of the outside conditions. (more…)

/ by / 0 Comment
snow-field-getty2

Planning for Cold Weather Rugby Training/Matches

FacebookTwitterRedditShare

Rugby does not take a break just because it is cold outside but it does add another challenge for the players willing to brave the cold. World Rugby Shop’s Kimber Rozier takes a look at the steps you should take to be ready for when the temperature drops. (more…)

/ by / 0 Comment
Super Rugby 2016 Champions, Hurricanes

World Rugby Shop’s Guide to SUPER RUGBY

FacebookTwitterRedditShare

The end of the year brings with it a new round of official club rugby jersey releases. It is highlighted by the unveiling of Super Rugby jerseys ahead of the new season. Super Rugby can be hard to pin down for U.S. fans so World Rugby Shop takes a look and attempts to simplify why you should care about it. (more…)

/ by / 0 Comment
top-moments-fp

The 20 Best Rugby Moments Of 2016

FacebookTwitterRedditShare

It’s been another an eventful and memorable year in rugby union, and as 2016 draws to a close, what better time to look back and consider some of the highlights. From the brilliant to the bemusing, the triumphant to the touching, here are our 20 best moments in rugby union this year… (more…)

/ by / 0 Comment
Speed ladder training for rugby

Rugby Training with a Speed Ladder

FacebookTwitterRedditShare

By Kimber Rozier CSCS, Pn1 – The New Zealand All Blacks are the most dominant team in the game and they regularly pull out their team speed ladder (or do reps on the marked off floor) to improve their speed, footwork, and timing and your club should too. (more…)

/ by / 0 Comment
“World