Rugby for Football Fans

Yes, football season is over. And some of you are in mourning. But what if I told you I have something that will tide your tackle cravings, and maybe even start a brand new addiction? That’s right, rugby. The sport that you never quite understood but were maybe intrigued by when Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman made a movie about it. It’s time you learned a little bit more about this hooligan sport played by gentlemen. And it is perfect timing. The USA Sevens Tournament is starting its quarter finals tomorrow in Las Vegas.

Object of the game:

Have more points than the other team. You do this by scoring tries. Try = touchdown. The players do this by crossing into the goal area (duh) and setting the ball down (controlled!) on the turf. 5 points.

15 players on the field, unless you’re playing sevens, where there are 7 players. Sneaky name.


Any player can carry the ball.

Offense can’t takle anyone.

Any player can also pass the ball but never forward! Passes can go sideways or down field.

Any player can also dropkick the ball. Mostly this happens when you need to score and try to kick it through the field goals. 3 points.


Defense is allowed to tackle, hold, push, or grasp the ball carrier but only them.

Play doesn’t stop with a tackle.


lineout: ball out of bounds? Someone throws it in between 2 lines of opposing players who leap (and lift others) to catch it.

maul: ball’s off the ground, players have to push and grapple and keep moving (!) or play is stopped.

ruck: ball’s on the ground, players have to kick it over to their teammate outside the group.

scrum: 8 forwards from each team pack down into one giant mass. Ball is thrown in the middle of the group and players try to win control using their feet and legs. No hands!

hakka:  defies explanation

US Sevens Tournament:

Ok, So you’ve got the basics. Tomorrow in Vegas, games to watch:

Samoa (Manus, blue and white) vs. Scotland (Thistles, black)
New Zealand (All Blacks, black) vs. Canada (Maple Leafs, red and black)
South Africa (Springboks, green and yellow) vs. Wales (Dragons, red and white)


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