Rugby: a quick intro

Rugby is a game in which players carry, pass or kick an oval ball into their opponent’s goal area, where there is an H-shaped goalpost. The main objective is to score a try, which consists of carrying or kicking the ball across the goal line and touching it down. It is a sport that demands a lot of endurance, strategy, and skill from the players. So, let's get to know this sport better!


About the game

  • The pitch is rectangular in shape, with a maximum length of 100 meters (plus one in-goal area on each end of the pitch, a maximum of 22 metres long) and a maximum width of 70 meters
  • The rugby ball is oval-shaped, made of leather or synthetic material
  • Rugby is played by two teams of fifteen players
  • Each rugby match lasts 80 minutes, divided into two periods of 40 minutes


Basic Rules

  • The aim is to put the ball into the opponent’s “in goal” - the area located immediately after the goal line. It is always necessary to place the ball on the ground, it is not enough to just enter with the ball in your hand or throw it on the ground.
  • It is not permitted to pass or throw the ball forward with the hands. To drive the ball forward, players may carry or kick it.
  • It is permitted to grab the player in possession of the ball to attempt to regather it. The ball player may also be grabbed and forced to ground to halt progression. This is called a tackle.
  • Some of the most common infringements are passing the ball forward, knocking down a player without attempting to grab him/her, and holding onto the ball whilst on the ground after a tackle, to mention a few.
  • In rugby, there are two types of sanction cards: the yellow card, which suspends the player for 10 minutes of playing time, and the red card, which permanently expels the player from the match.
  • The winning team is the one that scores the most points.


Scoring points

There are four main ways to score points in the game of rugby:

  1. Try (5 points) - when the team manages to drive the ball, touching it on the ground behind the opponent's goal line. This play is called a try and is worth 5 points.
  2. Penalty goal (3 points) - when a team infringes certain laws, a penalty kick is awarded to the opponents. This team can attempt to score 3 points by kicking the ball over the crossbar and between the opposing team’s posts.
  3. Conversion (2 points) – After scoring a try, a player from that team can attempt to score 2 extra points by kicking the ball over the crossbar and between the opposing team’s posts.
  4. Drop goal (3 points) - This occurs when a player in possession of the ball, with the game in motion, drops the ball to the ground and on its first upward bounce, kicks it over the crossbar and between the posts of the opposing team.


Basic formations

  • Scrum: eight players on each side and the ball is introduced in the middle of the formation, being hooked backwards with the foot by one of the sides.
  • Line-out: is the throw-in, with a row of players on each side of the throw-in point. The ball is thrown into the middle of the rows of players and its possession is contested by them.
  • Ruck: usually occurs after a tackle, when players from both teams stand and bind onto each other over the ball which is on the ground.
  • Maul: when the ball carrier is held by at least one teammate and at least one opponent and they all remain on their feet, contesting for the ball.

There would be much more to say about rugby, but here are the main ideas to arouse the curiosity of those who do not yet know well this incredible team sport. Now after reading this article, why not visit the Portugal Rugby Youth Festival, on April 1st & 2nd at Estádio Universitário de Lisboa, and see these rules in motion?


Rugby with Move Sports

Move Sports has a great and long relationship with rugby. We're proud to organize the Portugal Rugby Youth Festival, now in its 15th edition, which is the largest rugby youth tournament in Europe. It's an amazing event that brings together teams from all over the world, giving young rugby players the chance to showcase their skills and compete against their peers. We're passionate about creating opportunities for young athletes to grow and develop, and the Portugal Rugby Youth Festival is one of the ways we do that. It's a must-see event for any rugby fan!

But we’re not only Moved by rugby, we’re moved by Sports! So get to know all that Move Sports can do for you. We organise life-changing experiences and events around different sports such as rugby, football, field hockey, swimming, basketball, and athletics, among others.

Check out our training camps and sports experiences, tournaments and events, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin.