Washington State University

Women's Rugby

The Basics on Rugby

How do you score in Rugby?

Scoring in rugby is much like scoring in football. A player must run the ball across the try line and into the try zone. The difference is that the player must then touch the ball to the ground in a controlled manner for it to count. A try consist of 5 points, the conversion kick is worth 2 points. There are also Penalty Goals which are awarded after a major rule infraction and are worth 3 points, and finally there is the Drop Goal which is also worth 3 points and can take place at any time during the game.

Is Women's Rugby any different from Men's Rugby?

In no way (other than we are much better looking) is women's rugby different. The rules remain the same and some non-collegiate teams are even coed.

What are the positions of the backs?

The backline or backs consists of 7 players who are the smaller and faster players on the field with adept ball handling skills.

  • Scrum-Half is the number 9 position and is the "manager" of the field. She is the liaison between the forwards and the backs. The "Scrummie" puts the ball into the scrum and pulls the ball out rucks. The Scrummie must communicate well between the forwards and backs. She is usually the smallest quickest member on the team.
  • Fly-Half is the number 10 position and is the director of the backline. She receives the ball from the scrum half and then sets up the play in the back line.
  • Centers are the number 12 (inside) and 13 (outside). They make up the core of the back line and must be fast and have the ability to hit hard. They are also the backs most often involved in rucks.
  • Wings are the numbers 11 and 14 and they are the wheels of the team. The object of the back line is to get the ball to the wings as they have the most speed. The wings are also often the only line of defense near the sideline
  • Fullback is the number 15 and is the last line of defense on big runs towards the try zone. She also needs to be a good kicker and fast runner. She will also join the back line when necessary.

What are the positions of the forwards?

There are eight forward positions which make up what is called the pack. These forwards are the brawn on the field. The purpose of the forwards is to secure the ball so it can be passed to the backs.

  • Props usually wear the numbers 1 and 3 and are the pillars of the scrum. They provide the power for the pack into the other team's forwards and support the hooker in the scrum.
  • Hooker is a position who carries number 2. In a scrum she is held up off the ground by the two props; she then attempts to hook the ball back into her side of the scrum.
  • Locks are numbers 4 and 5. They are placed to stabilize the scrum and to initiate the large push when the ball enters the scrum. They are also usually the "jumpers" in the line-outs
  • Flankers are numbers 6 and 7 and are the mobile part of the pack. They are usually the fastest out of the scrum when the ball is out and are a support to the back line
  • Eight-man is a called that due to the number 8 she wears. The eight-man is the last person in the scrum and is often used to pick up the ball when it is out of the scrum. The Eight-man is usually strong and fast.

What is a maul?

A maul is when a player carrying ball has her momentum stopped but is not tackled. What happens then is her teammates will bind onto her and push her towards the try zone. The other team is similarly pushing in the opposite direction. (see our picture page for an example) The ball is eventually passed through those pushing and is then tossed out the backs.

What is a ruck?

In rugby when a player is tackled the play doesn't stop. Instead the tackled player places the ball on the ground in the direction of their team (Posting). Teammates then step over the player and push against players on the opposing team who are doing the same. They then try to heel the ball backwards to their respective team. The scrum-half then picks up the ball from the back of the ruck and passes it to the backline.

What is a scrum?

This is the most unique aspect of rugby (see our pictures page for a visual). It consists of the eight forwards on both teams and occurs after a rule infraction such as a forward pass. Essentially what happens is the eight players bind on to one another while the front row binds on to the other team. The two packs then push on each other while the ball is thrown in by the team which was not responsible for the penalty. The ball is then heeled (kicked backwards) by the forwards until it pass through the back of the scrum.

scrum positions

What is Rugby?

Legend has it that William Web Ellis in 1823 is the father of rugby. When in a fit of frustration during a soccer game at the Rugby School in England, he picked up the ball and ran with it. The more modern game consists of 15 players on each side. The momentum of the ball never stops except for in penalty situations. Furthermore the ball can be kicked or passed at any point but may only go backward or laterally. The game is played in two 40 minute halves with a 15 minute half time. The 15 positions are broken into to classes; backs and forwards.

Why are there not a mass of random numbers in rugby, like in football?

Rugby jerseys carry the number of the position being played in most cases.

If you have further questions, please contact the club at womensrugby@wsu.edu.

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