A General Rugby Description - Who Does What and Where

Don't think rugby demands quick thinking, fast feet and a solid body? Go ahead and play for an hour and THEN tell me how you feel. Rugby is a world-famous sport with its peculiar image, rules and culture. A great number of people in the whole world are engaged in rugby. Rugby football is an original mode of life; rugby culture is a sound way of thinking; a full rugby description would take volumes of printed pages. This phenomenon is very interesting and worth special attention.

Let's begin our rugby description with rugby definition. The term "rugby football" can be considered as a general term for two similar but separate team-sports: rugby league and rugby union. Also this term is applied to numerous variations of rugby league and rugby union and some new-invented games based on rugby. It may be applied to rugby league, rugby union, rugby sevens, touch rugby, oztag, quad rugby, American football, arena football, etc. But all these variations have something in common, something that makes them "rugby".

Rugby is a tough full-contact sport with minimum or even with no padding. If there were no ball it would resemble a group fighting. This game contains the elements of wrestling, football and it would seem their derivative if it were not so extraordinary in form, rules and scoring. And our rugby description would be incomplete without emphasizing some rugby peculiarities. And as we give rather general rugby description we put a great emphasis on common, general rugby rules, principles and features.

The most distinctive feature of rugby football in all its variations is an ovoid ball and one of the most important of rugby rules is prohibition of passing the ball forward. So, players can only run with the ball or kick it.

An extremely interesting episode in rugby is called "scrum" or "scrimmage", where packs of competing players push against each other for ball possession. Another set piece worth attention is "lineout" when the lines of players try to catch the ball which is thrown from the so-called "touch", the area behind the sidelines. These episodes are more characteristic for Rugby Union.

In the league the scrum exists as well but it is not as important as in the union. As for the "lineout" it scarcely occurs.

A scoring is conducted by crediting a team with points gained from the "tries" and "goals". A "try" consists in grounding the ball over the goal line at the rival's end of field. A goal can be scored when kicking the ball over the crossbar between the goalposts.

Also there are penalty try, conversion goal, penalty goal and dropped goal. Penalty try is scored because of rival's foul play and is awarded between the goal post. Conversion goal occurs when a player gains a try, which gives his team an opportunity to score a goal by performing a kick at goal (it applies to penalty try as well). It may be a place kick or a drop kick. Penalty goal is a goal gained from a penalty kick. Dropped goal is a goal from a drop kick.

The final point of our rugby description is rugby culture. Rugby union is commonly considered as a team sport for gentlemen and at many private schools rugby union is played and trained along with traditional boxing and fencing. Whereas rugby league is regarded as a more "working class" game. Thus there are two types of rugby culture. The first one is more "aristocratic" and often associated with private schools and elite universities (Oxford, Cambridge, etc.) with suits and gowns, with future lawyers and diplomats, with prosperous and beautiful life.

The second one has something in common with blues men's culture and esthetics with its heavy drinking, striped jumpers, specific jargon and humor, numerous girlfriends all named "Kay", etc.

So, there you have it. Rugby. Part American football, part European soccer with maybe a little bit of boxing and hockey tossed in for good measure. Now you can see how interesting and versatile phenomenon rugby football is.

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