Game Play & Scoring


The goal of rugby is to move the ball forward by running with the ball or kicking. The team which scores the most points (see below), wins the game.


A match begins with a kick-off from mid-field which must travel at least 10 metres. Play is continuous and free-flowing. There are no “downs”, no designated offensive and defensive teams, no blocking and no automatic “turn-overs” of posession. The ball usually marks the offside line.

The ball may be advanced by running or kicking. Passing with the hands cannot be forward but can be lateral or backward. Players without the ball cannot be tackled or interfered with in any way (this includes a player who has just kicked the ball).

When a player is tackled to the ground, the ball must be released and the player must move a way from it; play continues without stoppage. A “ruck” or informal scrum (see below) forms over a tackled player without stoppage of play.


Their are 4 ways in which a team may score points in rugby:

  • Try – Five points when the ball is touched to the ground (“grounded”) in the opponents end zone.
  • Conversion – Two points for a kick through the uprights after a try is scored. The kick is taken on a line (parallel to the touch-line; see above) which passes through the place where the ball was grounded. Thus, grounding the ball “between the posts” makes for an easier conversion attempt than if the ball is grounded near the side-line.
  • Drop Goal – Three points for ‘drop kicking’ the ball through the opponent’s uprights at anytime during play.
  • Penalty Kick – Three points for place-kicking the ball through the opponent’s uprights following an infraction by the opposition. Penalty kicks must be taken from the point of the infraction.

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