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Their main role is to win possession through 'turn overs'. The role of the number 8 in the scrum is to control the ball after it has been heeled back from the front of the pack, and the position provides a link between the forwards and backs during attacking phases.
The role of the backs is to create and convert point-scoring opportunities. They are generally smaller, faster and more agile than the forwards.
The half-backs consist of two positions, the scrum-half and the fly-half. The fly-half is crucial to a team's game plan, orchestrating the team's performance.
The scrum-half is the link between the forwards and the backs. There are four three quarter positions: two centres inside and outside and two wings left and right.
The centres will attempt to tackle attacking players; whilst in attack, they should employ speed and strength to breach opposition defences.
Their primary function is to finish off moves and score tries. The full-back is normally positioned several metres behind the back line. They often field opposition kicks and are usually the last line of defence should an opponent break through the back line.
Points can be scored in several ways: a try , scored by grounding the ball in the in-goal area between the goal line and the dead-ball line , is worth 5 points and a subsequent conversion kick scores 2 points; a successful penalty kick or a drop goal each score 3 points.
Rugby goalposts are H-shaped and are situated in the middle of the goal lines at each end of the field. They consist of two poles, 5. The minimum height for posts is 3.
At the beginning of the game, the captains and the referee toss a coin to decide which team will kick off first.
Play then starts with a dropkick, with the players chasing the ball into the opposition's territory, and the other side trying to retrieve the ball and advance it.
The dropkick must make contact with the ground before kicked. If the ball does not reach the opponent's metre yard line 10 meters away, the opposing team has two choices: to have the ball kicked off again, or to have a scrum at the centre of the half-way line.
Games are divided into minute halves, with a break in the middle. In the knockout stages of rugby competitions, most notably the Rugby World Cup , two extra time periods of 10 minutes periods are played with an interval of 5 minutes in between if the game is tied after full-time.
If scores are level after minutes then the rules call for 20 minutes of sudden-death extra time to be played. If the sudden-death extra time period results in no scoring a kicking competition is used to determine the winner.
However, no match in the history of the Rugby World Cup has ever gone past minutes into a sudden-death extra time period. Forward passing throwing the ball ahead to another player is not allowed; the ball can be passed laterally or backwards.
Only the player with the ball may be tackled or rucked. A "knock-on" is committed when a player knocks the ball forward, and play is restarted with a scrum.
Any player may kick the ball forward in an attempt to gain territory. When a player anywhere in the playing area kicks indirectly into touch so that the ball first bounces in the field of play, the throw-in is taken where the ball went into touch.
The aim of the defending side is to stop the player with the ball, either by bringing them to ground a tackle, which is frequently followed by a ruck or by contesting for possession with the ball-carrier on their feet a maul.
Such a circumstance is called a breakdown and each is governed by a specific law. A player may tackle an opposing player who has the ball by holding them while bringing them to ground.
Tacklers cannot tackle above the shoulder the neck and head are out of bounds ,  and the tackler has to attempt to wrap their arms around the player being tackled to complete the tackle.
It is illegal to push, shoulder-charge, or to trip a player using feet or legs, but hands may be used this being referred to as a tap-tackle or ankle-tap.
Mauls occur after a player with the ball has come into contact with an opponent but the handler remains on his feet; once any combination of at least three players have bound themselves a maul has been set.
When the ball leaves the side of the field, a line-out is awarded against the team which last touched the ball.
Both sides compete for the ball and players may lift their teammates. A scrum is a way of restarting the game safely and fairly after a minor infringement.
A team may also opt for a scrum if awarded a penalty. A scrum is formed by the eight forwards from each team crouching down and binding together in three rows, before interlocking with the opposing team.
The second row consists of two locks and the two flankers. Behind the second row is the number 8. This formation is known as the 3—4—1 formation. There are three match officials: a referee, and two assistant referees.
The referees are commonly addressed as "Sir". Common offences include tackling above the shoulders, collapsing a scrum , ruck or maul, not releasing the ball when on the ground, or being offside.
Occasionally, infringements are not caught by the referee during the match and these may be "cited" by the citing commissioner after the match and have punishments usually suspension for a number of weeks imposed on the infringing player.
During the match, players may be replaced for injury or substituted for tactical reasons. Prior to , all substitutions, no matter the cause, counted against the limit during a match.
In , World Rugby changed the law so that substitutions made to replace a player deemed unable to continue due to foul play by the opposition would no longer count against the match limit.
The most basic items of equipment for a game of rugby union are the ball itself, a rugby shirt also known as a "jersey" , rugby shorts , socks, and boots.
The rugby ball is oval in shape technically a prolate spheroid , and is made up of four panels. The studs may be either metal or plastic but must not have any sharp edges or ridges.
Protective equipment is optional and strictly regulated. The most common items are mouthguards , which are worn by almost all players, and are compulsory in some rugby-playing nations.
Female players may also wear chest pads. It is the responsibility of the match officials to check players' clothing and equipment before a game to ensure that it conforms to the laws of the game.
The international governing body of rugby union and associated games such as sevens is World Rugby WR. Six regional associations, which are members of WR, form the next level of administration; these are:.
National unions oversee rugby union within individual countries and are affiliated to WR. Since , the WR Council has 40 seats.
In addition, the six regional associations have two seats each. The earliest countries to adopt rugby union were England , the country of inception, and the other three Home Nations, Scotland , Ireland and Wales.
The spread of rugby union as a global sport has its roots in the exporting of the game by British expatriates, military personnel, and overseas university students.
The first rugby club in France was formed by British residents in Le Havre in , while the next year Argentina recorded its first game: 'Banks' v 'City' in Buenos Aires.
Seven countries have adopted rugby union as their de facto national sport ; they are Fiji ,  Georgia , Madagascar ,    New Zealand ,  Samoa ,  Tonga  and Wales.
A rugby club was formed in Sydney, New South Wales , Australia in ; while the sport was said to have been introduced to New Zealand by Charles Monro in , who played rugby while a student at Christ's College, Finchley.
Several island nations have embraced the sport of rugby. In North America a club formed in Montreal in , Canada's first club.
The city of Montreal also played its part in the introduction of the sport in the United States , when students of McGill University played against a team from Harvard University in Although the exact date of arrival of rugby union in Trinidad and Tobago is unknown, their first club Northern RFC was formed in , a national team was playing by and due to a cancelled tour to British Guiana in , switched their venue to Barbados ; introducing rugby to the island.
College rugby is the fastest growing college sport and sport in general in the USA. The growth of rugby union in Europe outside the 6 Nations countries in terms of playing numbers has been sporadic.
The rest of Europe were left to play amongst themselves. During a period when it had been isolated by the British and Irish Unions, France, lacking international competition, became the only European team from the top tier to regularly play the other European countries; mainly Belgium , the Netherlands , Germany , Spain , Romania , Poland , Italy and Czechoslovakia.
Other European rugby playing nations of note include Russia , whose first officially recorded match is marked by an encounter between Dynamo Moscow and the Moscow Institute of Physical Education in Popular links.
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Several Barbarians players have been sanctioned and face ban, fines, and community service for breaking COVID protocol prior to October's game against England.
But I can't remember it," former England hooker Steve Thompson said following his diagnosis of early onset dementia.
Argentina did the rugby world a favour by committing to the Tri Nations in Australia despite a mountain of hurdles. The objective of the game is to obtain more points than the opposing team within 80 minutes of playing time.
Points are gained through scoring tries or kicking goals. At each end of the playing field there is a field goal made out of poles, shaped like the letter H in English.
There is also an area called the in-goal. A goal is scored when a player kicks the ball through the top of the H of the other team's goal.
Play starts when a player from one team kicks the ball from the halfway line towards the opposing team's field goal .
Play continues until a try is scored, the ball crosses the side line or dead ball line, or an infringement occurs.