If you’re new to rugby, you're probably thinking “what did I get myself into?!?” Besides just gaining 20-30 lifelong friends and a huge worldwide rugby family, you have joined the best sport that has been around since the early 19th century (although we might be a bit biased!).


For anyone who is familiar with American football, rugby should be an easy game to understand. The purpose of the game is to carry a blown-up pigskin over the goal line, or kick it over a goal post, with more consistency than the opposition.  The rules are simple: keep playing until someone scores, the ball goes out of bounds, or a player from either side breaks one of the rules. Rugby is made up of Forwards and Backs, and the game is about finding the right position for you. Whether you are a small fast sprinter or “not so small sprinter”, there is a rugby position for you!!


Traditional rugby consists of 15 players on each side with 40 minute halves and a 10 minute half time. Other variations of the game include 10 players on a side and 7 players on a side (i.e. Sevens). Rugby Sevens was recently added back into the Olympic Games for 2016 in Rio de Janerio.


There are four ways to get points for your team.

  • Try – the ball is grounded over an opponents’ goal line and in their ‘try zone’ – 5 points

  • Conversion – the conversion kick is taken from any point directly out where the try was scored in the try zone, but can be any distance from the goal line – 2 points

  • Penalty – if the opposition commits a penalty, a team can choose to kick at the goal (i.e. kick at posts) – 3 points

  • Drop Goal – during general play, a team may drop the ball on the ground and kick it over the goal – 3 points


Here’s some good sites to get you on your way and around the pitch:

Rugby for Beginners

Rugby 101 Video

IRB’s Beginners Guide to Rugby


“The way to understand it is to watch it”. Here’s some links to Women’s Rugby:

USA v. England 2013 Nations Cup (go to 1:15 of the video for the game) – featuring our own Kate Daley

“Best Play of the Game” – Chicago North Shore v. Chicago Women 5/12/2012

Rugby 101 

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