Lowdown on understanding the game

TEAM TALK: South African captain John Smit, centre left, rallies his teammates after an Argentina try during the Rugby World Cup semifinal between Argentina and South Africa, at the Stade de France Stadium in Saint Denis, near Paris, last Sunday. Pic. Matt Dunham. 14/10/07. © AP.
TEAM TALK: South African captain John Smit, centre left, rallies his teammates after an Argentina try during the Rugby World Cup semifinal between Argentina and South Africa, at the Stade de France Stadium in Saint Denis, near Paris, last Sunday. Pic. Matt Dunham. 14/10/07. © AP.

Bruce Fraser

Bruce Fraser

The game of rugby and its rules tends to confuse a great number of people, but if you follow a few simple pointers it's actually quite an easy game to learn.

l The basic idea of the game is to score a try. This means placing the ball behind the opposition's goal line and will earn your team five points.

l After a try has been scored you have a conversion when a designated kicker tries to kick the ball between the uprights of the posts. This earns you two points.

l An indiscretion by an opponent might result in the referee awarding your side a penalty. If it is within kicking distance of the posts you may attempt a kick. If successful, you get three points.

l To recap - a try is five points, a conversion two and a penalty three.

l A team consists of 15 players - 8 forwards and 7 backs. The forwards take part in the scrums and line-outs and the backs position themselves across the field.

l In rugby you have seven replacements on the bench. The coach can bring on his replacements at any time during the game and it is often a tactical move. If he feels a player is not performing or is tired he will substitute him.

l The game is divided into two halves of 40 minutes each - with a 10-minute break at half-time. Extra time will be played in tomorrow's final if the game results in a draw.

See pages 45 and 48

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