What is Rugby?
The International Rugby Board (IRB), the governing body of rugby, has created a comprehensive guide to the game and the laws created to keep it as safe as possible and exciting as possible. Download A Beginner’s Guide to Rugby Union HERE.
Continue reading for rugby from the perspective of an American football convert.
Rugby is, in simple terms, a game of possession and territory. The open, near continuous play resembles the game we Americans call soccer. The tackling and repeated physical contests for possession of the ball and other aspects resemble American football, or gridiron as it’s known throughout much of the world. This makes sense when you research the beginning of the games. The basics are: football (gridiron) came from rugby, which came from soccer (football). Simple right? Interestingly, James Naismith was a rugby coach, who invented basketball as an indoor winter fitness activity for his rugby players.
Rugby really is a simple game. Possess the ball, gain territory, score. But wait, there’s no blocking. No forward passes. Oh yeah, you must stay on side. And coach will probably yell at you if you run out of bounds with the ball. OK, this is getting complicated. Or is it?
I truly believe that American football, especially the NFL, is way more complicated than rugby. And I grew up watching and playing football. Was that a catch? Did he make a football move? Football is so complicated there are 7 referees on the field during an NFL game. Rugby has 3 by the way. The rugby field is significantly larger and there are more players (30 vs. 22). And play doesn’t stop every 4-7 seconds.
Now, I’m not trying to bash the great game of football. I’m trying to make a point. You probably grew up watching football. Most of the rules are pretty much second nature to you. Yet you and your friends will still argue, sometimes for days, whether or not that was a touchdown catch last Sunday. Rugby is much the same. Grow up watching and playing and it’s mostly second nature. You’ll argue with a mate over calls for days. The point is, rugby is a fantastic sport to both watch and play. It’s not all that complicated when you put it into perspective.
Come out to Dayton Rugby Grounds to catch a match. Try a couple practices if you think you’re up for it. Ask somebody a question about rugby. Guaranteed you’ll get an ear full. We love to tell folks about the game we love.