Rugby is often called “the game for animals played by gentlemen.” The game has evolved into two main forms, rugby union and rugby league, with their own distinct ways to play. Rugby union is commonly played in Europe especially England, while rugby league is popular in Australia and New Zealand.
Rugby Union – Assemble two teams of fifteen players each. There are eight forwards, who mainly get possession of the ball, and seven backs who mainly carry and move the ball. Start play with the defensive team kicking the ball to the offensive team. Run with the ball until tackled. You may also pass or kick the ball to a team mate, but you cannot pass the ball forward.
Release or pass the ball if tackled. If released, the ball is open for anyone to take. Play only stops on a rules violation, two opposing players grabbing the ball (known as a ruck or maul) or the ball going out of bounds.
Restart play with a scrum after a rules violation, such as a ball dropped forward or a forward pass, or a ruck or maul. This is when the forwards on the team lock up in a huddle and contest for the ball by kicking in backwards. The ball is thrown into the scrum by someone on the team that did not commit the violation.
Restart play with a line-out if the ball went out of bounds. The forwards on each team line up facing each other. The team that didn’t knock the ball out throws it back in, and the players contest for possession.
Score five points for a try, which is touching the ball to the ground in the goal area. A kick is then attempted through the goalposts for two extra points. Score three points for a goal, kicking the ball through the goalposts while in play.
Rugby League – Assemble teams of thirteen players each. There are six forwards and seven backs. Start play originally with a kick to the offensive team by the defensive team. The player with the ball then runs with it until tackled, or may pass (not forward) or kick the ball to a team mate.
Play the ball after being tackled by kicking the ball backwards to a team mate. This is the biggest difference in league than from union. Scrums only occur on rules violations, and line-outs are not allowed.
Surrender possession if your team is tackled six times before scoring. The other team plays the ball from the spot of the last tackle. Score four points for a try by downing the ball in the goal zone. A conversion kick is then attempted though the goalposts for two extra points.
Score two points for a penalty kick through the goal posts. This occurs only after a foul that definitely prevented a try from scoring.
Score one point for a field goal kick through the goal posts. Attempt this with a drop kick while the ball is in play.