Rugby is one of the fastest growing sports right now in America. It originated in England in the 1820’s and is played worldwide with a lot of notoriety almost everywhere except the USA. This is in large part because of America’s extremely popular National Football League. However, rugby and football do not share as much in common as one might think.
I started playing rugby my freshman year in college and quickly fell in love the complexity of the game. Every time someone finds out I play rugby, they almost always ask “That’s the one that is like football without pads?” While true that rugby shares many aspects with football like tackling, running with the ball, kicking the ball between field goal posts, and trying to get to the end of one side of the field to score, it is not the only sport it relates to. In rugby the game is continuous for two 40 minute half’s. There is no stoppage in play after tackles, only when there is a penalty or someone runs out of bounds. Also there is no blocking in rugby like football, and you can only pass laterally or backwards, which is very difficult. After playing football and baseball all throughout my childhood I am so used to throwing over my shoulder that I still haven’t mastered a great rugby pass in the four years I have been playing.
The flow of rugby actually shares many characteristics with soccer. Both games are constant movement, and require a lot of stamina. The strategy of each sport is similar where you want to pass a lot to create a gap in the defense for one of your teammates to exploit. Another similarity between the two is that every player on the field must be able to contribute to every aspect of the game. In football the lineman rarely ever touch the ball, while in rugby every player can run the ball and tackle.
Rugby is a very unique sport that many American’s are never introduced to because of its popularity here in the U.S. It is not a sport where an individual can takeover like basketball, because it requires a tremendous amount of teamwork and discipline. I would encourage you all to try it at least once in our life or see how it is played.
If you want to see a video of a rugby game being played click here
If you want to read all the official rules of rugby click here