There has been a circling of the wagons at Northampton, creating an us-against-the-world mood of defiance, which has proved effective so far. But in time, the captain hopes that the squad can be galvanised when not backed into a corner.
Lineout: Looks somewhat like a jump-ball in basketball, with both teams lining up opposite each other, but one team then throws the ball down the middle of the tunnel. Line-outs restart play after the ball, or a player carrying it, has gone out of bounds.
As captain, Wood sought to instigate a shift in mind-set and mood within the squad and the response has been Premiership wins against Sale and Gloucester, which have lifted the siege. The revival has been founded in part on some old-school, drunken nights out, to re-establish unity and spirit in the ranks. ‘We did a little bit of that,’ said Wood, ‘in Dublin, and over Christmas too.
The goal of every rugby team is to score a “try.” There is an infinite number of ways to score tries, but they all involve crossing the goal line and touching the ball on the ground. One try is worth 5 points, after which the scoring team has the opportunity to kick the ball off the ground for a “conversion” worth two points.
A line-out consists of at least two players from each team standing in a two straight lines between five and fifteen metres from, and at right angles to, the scoring bay. The gap between the two teams must be 1 metre and the opposing team cannot have more players in the line-out than the team that was last in ‘fluid possession’. One player from each team has to stand two metres back from the line-out to receive the ball and the opposing team must have a player standing at the front of the line-out two metres from the centre of the line-out. The player throwing the ball stands outside the field of play and must throw it at least five metres down the centre of the line-out. If the throw in is incorrect the opposing team has the choice of taking a scrum fifteen metres from the sideline or throwing the ball in themselves. The player throwing the ball in must not delay or pretend to throw the ball in. Players not taking part in the line-out must stand back ten metres or on the goal line if that is closer.
A penalty is awarded for the following infringements; – a forward pass, – offside play, – performing a roll ball over the mark, – claiming a Touch when none was made, – interfering with the roll ball (running around the ruck) – passing the ball once touched. The referee must give the exact mark from where the Tap Ball must be taken. The defending team must retire 10 metres from the mark or behind the try-line.
No obstruction, excessive contact, verbal abuse or foul play will be tolerated – the referee is sole judge. A penalty will be awarded in such cases and a player can receive 2 minutes in the SIN BIN. Serious or continual foul play of any nature will result in the player being sent off without a replacement.
iv. Disciplinary Matters Cards are dealt to any player who engages in the foul play detailed in point iii. A yellow card is a final warning. Any player receiving one is sent to the sidelines for 10 minutes in what has become known as the ‘sin bin’, leaving his team a player light and cursing his name. If, on his return, he commits another offence worthy of a caution, that player then sees a red card and is sent off for the remainder of the match.
Maybe the most commonly asked question is: What is that thing with all the guys mushed together in a big blob? That’s a scrum. On each team, eight of the 15 players, known as the forward pack, bind together. Three in the front, four in the middle and one at the back. They push forward in the same formation, while the team that didn’t commit the foul puts the ball into the scrum, hoping it comes out at the back of the scrum on their side. Around 90 percent of the time, the team that puts the ball in gets the ball back. Have a look at this video of scrums if you’re still confused.
6.1 Where reasonably practicable, a player shown a red card will have his case heard within seven days of the relevant match. 6.2 EPCR will appoint a Citing Commissioner for each match. The Citing Commissioner will be entitled to cite a player for any acts of Foul Play that warranted the player being shown a red card. Clubs will not have the power to cite a player but may refer incidents to the Citing Commissioner within 26 hours of the start of the match. The Citing Commissioner will have 50 hours from the start of the match to submit a citing complaint to EPCR, although this deadline may be extended in certain circumstances. EPCR may refer the complaint to a Citing Officer (also referred to as a ‘Gatekeeper’) to determine whether it should proceed. The case will then proceed to a disciplinary hearing.
A try, worth five points, is scored when the ball is touched to the ground in the area between the opposition’s try line and before the dead ball line (the “in goal”). A player can score a try by carrying the ball into the in goal and then touching it to the ground while holding on to it. No downward pressure is required, but the player must be holding the ball in at least one of their hands or at least one of their arms. If the ball lands in the opposition’s in-goal, usually as a result of a kick or the opposition losing possession, a player can score by applying downward pressure with their hands, their arms, or the front of their body. In this situation, if the player is outside the field of play when they touch the ball, a try is still scored.
To score a try (worth 5 points), the player must simply place the ball on the ground with downward pressure in the in-goal area – the zone behind the goalposts, between the try line and the dead ball line. If any part of his body crosses the touchline – the white line marking the edge of the pitch – the try will not count. Crucially, the player must also be in control of the ball as they ground it.
The IRB trialled 23 changes to the modern laws in 2006 and some competitions in Scotland and Australia adopted them in 2007. In 2008, 13 of the variations were trialled globally. Important changes included; no gain in ground if the ball is kicked directly into touch after it has been moved back into the 22 by a player from the same team as the kicker, the offside lines for backs moved five metres from the scrum, allowing mauls to be legally pulled down and players to enter with their head lower than their hips, no restrictions on the number of players in a line-out, and allowing pregripping and lifting. In 2009 the IRB approved 10 of the laws, rejecting the laws relating to mauls, and numbers in a line-out.
The referee may punish a player’s misconduct by using penalty cards. A yellow card indicates caution, a red card indicates a player has been sent off. Players may be cautioned for foul or dangerous conduct, for persistent breaches of the same rule, or for deliberate infringement to prevent their opponents from gaining a decisive advantage. A player receiving a caution is temporarily suspended from play for ten minutes. This has become known as the sin-bin. If the same player subsequently commits a further cautionable offence, he is sent off for the rest of the game. A player can also be sent off permanently, without first being cautioned, for serious foul play.
Earlier this week, a new zero-tolerance approach in relation to contact with the head came into effect, in a bid to stave off the spectre of concussion. But players are already struggling in vain to cope with the hard-line officiating of so-called dangerous tackles involving opponents in the air. A genuine attempt to compete for the ball is not considered a mitigating defence.
A maul is formed when a player carrying the ball is held by one or more opponents, and then one or more of the ball carrier’s teammates bind onto the ball carrier. Players that join the maul must join from behind the hindmost foot of their most hindmost teammate. Players in the maul must try to stay on their feet, although the ball carriers may go to ground as long as they make the ball available immediately. Deliberately collapsing, jumping on or dragging players out of the maul is illegal. Players not in the maul or who leave the maul must retire behind the hindmost foot of the player at the back of the maul. The maul successfully ends when the ball or a player carrying the ball leaves the maul, the ball ends up on the ground (becomes a ruck), or the ball is carried over the sideline. If all the players of one team voluntarily leave the maul, the maul continues, with the offside line for the leaving players the front foot of the leading player still in the maul. If the maul stops, it must start again, or the ball must emerge, within five seconds, otherwise it has ended unsuccessfully. It can only restart once; the second time the ball must emerge in five seconds. If the maul collapses and it is not the result of illegal play, it is also an unsuccessful end. All unsuccessful endings result in a scrum being formed, with the defending team putting the ball into the scrum.
The game is played by 7 players on each side. Each team is only allowed 5 reserves per game, and they’re permitted to make five substitutions. Unlike in 15s, a player can re-enter the match after he or she has been subbed out.
The early rules of football were determined by pupils before the game, with the legality of carrying or running with the ball often agreed shortly before commencement. The first set of written rules were published by pupils at Rugby School in 1845 and while a number of other clubs based their games on these rules there were still many variations played. The Football Association intended to frame a universal code of laws in 1863, but several newspapers published the 1848 Cambridge rules before they were finalised. The Cambridge rules included rules for “running with the ball” and “hacking” (kicking an opponent in the shins) which were not part of the Football Association draft. They decided not to include those rules in their release, causing a number of rugby clubs to break away from the Football Association.
When a try is awarded by the referee, the team scoring the try has the right to attempt a conversion. A conversion is a kick at goal that passes between the two posts and above the crossbar. The ball has to be either place kicked or drop kicked, and if successful will earn the team two points. The conversion attempt is taken from a spot perpendicular to where the try was scored and must be completed within one minute from the time the player has indicated his intention to kick. The opposition must stand behind their goal line. When the kicker moves forward with the intention of kicking the ball they may run at the kicker in an attempt to charge the ball down or put the kicker off. They can not shout while doing this, but if the ball falls over after the kicker has started his approach they can continue with the charge.
When the ball crosses the sideline during general play a line-out is formed with the team that did not put the ball into touch throwing it in, unless it was kicked into touch from a penalty kick, in which case the team kicking to touch throws in. If the ball is kicked directly (does not bounce first) over the sideline by a team member who is outside his 22-metre line, the line-out is formed on the sideline perpendicular to where that player kicked it. The same rule applies if the ball is moved (passed, knocked, kicked or run) back inside the 22 by a player from the same team as the kicker. Once a tackle, scrum, line-out, ruck or maul occurs inside the 22 or the ball is moved there by the opposition a player can kick it directly into touch with the line-out forming where the ball crossed the sideline. If the ball bounces before crossing the sideline or is carried across by a player the line-out is formed where the ball crossed the line. However, a line-out can never take place within five metres of the ingoal area, and is always moved back to a mark five metres out.
After a tackle, a ruck will sometimes form. This occurs when at least one player from each side bind onto each other with the ball on the ground between them. Additional players may join the ruck, but must do so from behind the rearmost foot of the hindmost team mate in the ruck (often referred to as “coming through the gate”) and bind onto the body of a team mate. The offside line for uninvolved players is perpendicular to the last feet of the rearmost player on their side of the ruck and they must remain behind this line until the ball emerges. In a ruck, no player may use their hands to win the ball, except if they were on their feet and had their hands on the ball before the ruck formed. Teams try to win the ball by pushing the opposition off it or by using their feet to “ruck” it to their side. One player (in many cases the scrum-half) directly behind the ruck may reach in and retrieve the ball from the ruck provided they do not participate in the ruck (that is, they do not bind on to an opponent) and stay behind the offside line. A player doing so may not be tackled or grasped by an opponent in the ruck until he or she has played the ball, as this would violate the laws on tackling players without the ball. Players in a ruck must stay on their feet and not deliberately ruck or step on players lying on the ground. Players who are on the ground at a ruck must not impede the ball as it emerges from the ruck. The ruck ends when the ball emerges, a player commits an offence and is penalised or it becomes unplayable and a scrum is awarded. An amendment to the laws on this point is currently being trialled, under which a team which is able to retrieve the ball from the ruck must do so within five seconds. This is to prevent time-wasting; for instance by a team which is leading as the end of the game approaches.
Where there is a link, click to get what you need to know. For full details of rugby rules, follow this link to the World Rugby Laws.
The Rules of Play use a ‘building block’ approach and aim to equip players and coaches with the skills they need as they build towards the XV-a-side game. They offer progression and challenge for players season by season and state the furthest players can travel towards the 15-a-side game at each age. This ensures our game remains Player Centred and Development Driven. This gradual introduction of new rules, a simpler game, and a focus on growing confidence and self-esteem will ensure that the development of each individual child goes hand in hand with the development of the game through the age groups. This stepping stone approach will equip players with the skills and confidence they need to fully enjoy the XV-a-side game later in life.
A scrum is formed as near to where the infringement or stoppage occurred and at least five metres from either goal line. A normal scrum contains eight players from each team. If for some reason a team is reduced below fifteen men the scrum numbers can also be reduced, although there can never be fewer than five. The hookers binds with their props, the locks bind each other and their front row, with all the other players in the scrum binding to the locks. The referee makes a mark where the scrum is to be formed and waits for both teams to bind together. The referee then calls “crouch” (both front rows must crouch down) “touch” (the props touch each other’s shoulders) “pause” and then “engage”. However, a shortened sequence is currently being trialed in which the referee calls “crouch” (both front rows must crouch down) “Bind” (the props secure binds on each other’s shoulders) and then “Set” at which point both packs rows engage. When engage (or set) is called the two front rows can come together and everyone in the scrum must stay bound until it is completed. Once the referee is happy with the engagement the scrum-half from the team awarded the fee throws the ball into the tunnel (gap) between the two front-rows.