Rugby — A Guide for the Beginner

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by Shamus Beck

Rugby is a game of stamina, strength, and love. Although only a few are lucky enough to experience what this means, it’s true.

Riley Spice, a Wing for the West Carroll Marauders, has gotten the chance to find out what this means. “Rugby is the greatest game ever played where everlasting bonds are formed between teammates and rival teams,” said Spice. The whole game is fast paced, elegant violence, and without a true love for this game you will not be able to survive.

If you were ever lucky enough to see a rugby game before this article, you would think it’s just a bunch of guys in short shorts tackling each other for fun. But this isn’t the case — there is a set purpose for each of those fifteen people.

sports - rugby positionsNumbers One and Three are called props; their job is to prop up the hooker who stands in between them; he is number two. Four and Five help hold the props up as well as give a push. Numbers Six through Eight are normally the strongest, fastest, and best tacklers.

Numbers Nine through Fifteen are normally the smaller and more fleet-of-foot players who get all of the fame. Nine and Ten are like a quarterback on the football field; they have to be able to think on the move and are also the most technical. Campbell Johnstone, a Flyhalf for the West Carroll Marauders, says “Flyhalf is a position that makes me think about what’s going to happen next and what my reaction should be.”

Eleven and Fourteen are called wings and they stand on both edges of the field waiting for that one big run to break through and score. Twelve and Thirteen are the inside and outside centers; they are tough runners who are like fullbacks with the speed of a wide receiver. Fifteen is a fullback and it’s one of those positions that you have to have a few screws loose to willingly play, because every time the ball is kicked you are a punt returner with fifteen other players bearing down on you.

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The ball, field, and the rules are unique to rugby. The ball is similar to the shape of a football but it’s rounder at the ends. The field is longer and wider than a football field. The most absolute rule of rugby is that you cannot pass the ball forward; it must go backward! If it does not go backwards a scrum occurs.

A scrum is where all players with numbers one through eight come together and fight for possession of the ball. That is the most likely way to restart the game after a penalty. When the ball goes out of bounds, unlike football, the other team gains possession in what is called a lineout. In a lineout a player throws the ball into the tunnel which is the meter between the two teams who both lift a player into the air to try and catch and give their team the ball.

With all of this  new-found knowledge you may now go watch a rugby game and not think it’s just a bunch of hooligans running around.

The head coach for Mount St. Mary’s Men’s Rugby team Jay Myles states, “Rugby is a way of life. It is about allowing others to succeed based on your efforts and about supporting your family on the pitch. Rugby is not a brutal sport rather a sport of gentlemen who respect themselves, each other, their opponent, and the referees. Are there any other sports where the players refer to the referee by sir?

“When a try is scored it is about the team who scored, not one individual celebrating his own efforts and success. Because it is truly about the team playing as one and never allowing a man to go into a tackle or breakdown alone, none of us is stronger than all of us is a life belief. If I can allow a coworker to succeed, don’t I also succeed?

“If I create an opportunity for a young man to learn how to be a good friend, teammate, and son, don’t I also succeed? Rugby is a microcosm of life. Be true to yourself and always look to support others and you will be successful in life. THAT’S RUGBY!”

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