AM I FIT ENOUGH TO PLAY RUGBY?
Our practices will provide for skills and fitness. Players are also encouraged to do strength training. We know that not everyone who comes out to practice is in peak condition. What we ask is that you push yourself to do your best and always a little more than you thought you could.
WHAT IF I REALLY DON'T UNDERSTAND THE GAME?
Rugby takes a while to figure out. Like anything worth doing, it’s not easily mastered. If you listen and concentrate on the drills, your joy for the game will carry you through the learning curve. When everything starts to click, it will feel that much better. We will provide you with a foundation to build upon with each practice.
I AM NOT BUILT LIKE A RUGBY PLAYER, CAN I STILL PLAY?
Rugby is a game for all shapes and sizes and that is one of the sport’s main strengths and attractions because the sum of a team’s parts is always greater than any one individual. In rugby there are forwards, whose role and job it is generally to win the ball from the opposition and compete at most of the more contact-driven areas such as the scrum, the line-out, the ruck and the maul. Forwards tend to be heavier, more powerful players and also taller for winning the ball at the line-out and the restart.
There are also backs, who tend to be a bit faster and whose game is based more on taking advantage of the space created by the forwards’ hard work. Even among the backs there are players who need to be better at passing, kicking, strategizing and simply running, so whatever size or shape, age or gender you are, there should be a position ready-made for you.
I HAVE HEARD HOW DANGEROUS RUGBY IS. IS THIS REALLY THE CASE?
Rugby is a contact sport, so yes, people can get hurt. Rugby is no more dangerous than any other similar contact sport, such as lacrosse. In fact, injury rates and insurance costs are comparable to soccer and lacrosse. Unlike many collision sports that involve equipment and padding (i.e. football and hockey), many rugby players enjoy careers lasting into their 40′s and longer. Rugby is a physical sport, but a sport that delivers significant social and health benefits. Player welfare is the number one priority for the Tyler Hoplites. As a result, we focus on teaching the best-possible techniques. When everyone plays safely, the risk of injury goes down significantly. The majority of the injuries that sideline players are pulled muscles or sprains – injuries not from hitting or being hit, but from not being properly conditioned. Although many of the rugby T-shirts are clever, some of them have given potential players the wrong idea about the sport. However, if you’re really worried about getting injured, you should consider that rugby may not be the right sport for you.
HOW WAS RUGBY INVENTED?
Legend has it that in 1823, during a game of soccer in the town of Rugby, England, a young man named William Webb Ellis picked up the ball and ran towards the opposition’s goal line. Two centuries later, Rugby has evolved into one of the world’s most popular sports, with millions of people playing, watching and enjoying the game. Rugby continues to grow in popularity in the U.S. and we are excited to be a part of history.
WHAT ARE THE DIMENSIONS OF A RUGBY FIELD?
In rugby, the field is called the pitch. Rugby pitches can differ in size, but are generally 112–122 meters by 68 meters (122.5–133.4 × 74.3 yards). The longer boundary lines (or what we might call sidelines in the U.S.) are called touch lines. The shorter boundary lines are called dead ball lines. The touch lines and dead ball lines are out of play.
WHAT’S THE POINT SYSTEM IN RUGBY?
If you are new to rugby, it can be helpful to remember that rugby came from soccer and American football came from rugby. You will notice some similarities and some differences.
You can score different numbers of points depending on what you do in the game.
Try - 5 points - A try is scored when the ball is grounded over the opponents’ goal line in the in-goal area. Unlike American football, breaking the plane does not result in a try. The ball must literally be touched down in the try zone. A penalty try can be awarded if a player would have scored a try if it had not been for foul play by the opposition.
Conversion - 2 points - After scoring a try, that team can attempt to add two further points by kicking the ball over the crossbar and between the posts from a place in line with where the try was scored.
Penalty - 3 points - When awarded a penalty after an infringement by the opposition, a team may choose to kick the ball over the cross bar and between the posts from a place in line with where the try was scored.
Drop goal - 3 points - A drop goal is scored when a player kicks for goal in open play by dropping the ball onto the ground and kicking it on the half-volley.
WHY CAN YOU ONLY PASS THE BALL BACKWARDS IN RUGBY?
In rugby you need to move forwards to score, by carrying the ball over the opponents’ goal line and forcing it to the ground to score, but it's true that you are only allowed to pass the ball backwards by hand. A player may pass (throw the ball) to a team mate who is in a better position to continue the attack, but the pass must not travel towards the opposing team’s goal line. It must travel either directly across the field, or back in the direction of the passer’s own goal line. By carrying the ball forwards and passing backwards, territory is gained. If a forward pass is made, the referee will stop the game and award a scrum with the throw-in going to the team which was not in possession.
This apparent contradiction creates a need for fine teamwork and great discipline, as little can be achieved by any one individual player. Only by working as a team can players move the ball forward towards their opponents’ goal line and eventually go on to win the game. The ball can be kicked forwards, but even then the kicker’s team mates must be behind the ball (onside) at the moment the ball is kicked.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A TACKLE, A RUCK AND A MAUL?
These are often grouped together as they often happen in quick succession, but they are actually distinct areas.
Tackle: Only the ball-carrier can be tackled by an opposing player. A tackle occurs when the ball carrier is held by one or more opponents and is brought to ground, i.e. has one or both knees on the ground, is sitting on the ground or is on top of another player who is on the ground. To maintain the continuity of the game, the ball carrier must release the ball immediately after the tackle, the tackler must release the ball carrier and both players must roll away from the ball. This allows other players to come in and contest for the ball, thereby starting a new phase of play.
Ruck: A ruck is formed if the ball is on the ground and one or more players from each team who are on their feet close around it. Players must not handle the ball in the ruck, and must use their feet to move the ball or drive over it so that it emerges at the team’s hindmost foot, at which point it can be picked up.
Maul: A maul occurs when the ball carrier is held by one or more opponents and one or more of the ball carrier’s team mates holds on (binds) as well (a maul therefore needs a minimum of three players). The ball must be off the ground. The team in possession of the ball can attempt to gain territory by driving their opponents back towards the opponents’ goal line. The ball can then be passed backwards between players in the maul and eventually passed to a player who is not in the maul, or a player can leave the maul carrying the ball and run with it.
WHY DOES THE GAME SOMETIMES CARRY ON EVEN AFTER ONE OF THE TEAMS HAS MADE A MISTAKE, OR COMMITTED A FOUL?
Sometimes, during a game, an infringement of the Laws may be committed where a stoppage in play would deprive the non-offending team of an opportunity to score. Even though the Laws state that the non-offending team should be awarded a penalty, free kick or scrum, the referee can choose to play ‘advantage’, giving the non-offending team the opportunity to continue with open play and attempt to score a try. In this instance, the referee will allow play to continue rather than penalize the offence. If no ‘advantage’ is gained, then the referee blows the whistle and goes back to the infringement.
HOW DOES OFFSIDE WORK IN RUGBY?
Rugby’s offside Law (rule) restricts where players can be in order to ensure there is space to attack and defend. In general, a player is in an offside position if that player is further forward (nearer to the opponents’ goal line) than the team mate who is carrying the ball or the team mate who last played the ball. Being in an offside position is not, in itself, an offence, but an offside player may not take part in the game until they are onside again. If an offside player takes part in the game, that player will be penalized.