Lessons in Manliness From Hardboiled Detective Philip Marlowe
The attacking players are likely to be either their scrum half or number-eight who have decided to run the ball rather than pass it to their backs. When the ball goes to the opposition backs the number-eight follows at speed to help the flankers, stop the attack and get the ball back!
When the ball comes to our side of the scrum you, the number-eight play a part. The ball comes either past you on one side or the other or out between your feet. Your job is to make sure the ball is available for the scrum half to pick it up cleanly. Remember the opposition forwards are pushing as hard as they can to make it as difficult as possible for your team. They will be really pleased if they can push you off the ball or cause your half back to fumble. It would mean another scrum.
They would put the ball in. You are allowed to keep the ball in front of your feet if you want to. Remember their forwards can't break from the scrum until the ball is 'out'. If you have a powerful pack and you have a scrum near their try line, you can make use of your ability to control the ball. You keep the ball in front of your feet, push hard to drive them and the ball back over the try line.
When the ball is over the line, you ground the ball - TRY. You are also allowed to pick up the ball from in front of your feet and attack by running with the ball or passing it to your scrum-half or any other player near enough and in position to receive a pass.
The line-out restarts play after the ball "goes into touch". Number-eights towards the back of the line-out sometimes get the ball because of their size, you may also have to lift another player to receive the ball. If your side get the ball it may be given straight to the backs.
If not you will combine withe other forwards to make sure you keep possession and move the ball forwards. This would certainly happen if you are near their try line. Just a small break through and gain in ground and you may well score! If they get the ball you must defend. You must stop the ball carrier breaking through the lineout where you are positioned and break away fast to harass the opposition backs so they can't make ground. The number-eight and the two flankers defend in a co-ordinated way, getting to every break down in play as fast as possible to get the ball.
In attack you'll often be doing 'the hard yards'. You pick the ball off the ground and drive forward with it, making as much ground as possible. This is known as 'pick and drive'. Sometimes you may make as little as a couple of metres - or may even be forced backwards if you are up against powerful opponents.
At any break-down you assist the flankers in getting the ball, provide part of the defensive wall and stop any counter-attacks. This article will focus on Rugby Union, which is the more prominent of the two. A rugby ball is most similar to an American football in size and shape, although it is larger and most modern versions have no laces. Scrum caps are very similar to the old leather helmets of American football. Known as the pitch, a rugby playing field is a large grassy surface meters long and 70 meters wide with uprights on each end.
Behind the uprights is the goal area, which has to be 10 meters deep at minimum and is usually 22 meters in depth. Line markings are illustrated in the diagram below. Two teams are represented on the pitch, with 15 players per side. The players on a team are broken down into two separate groupings, the pack and the backs.
Generally speaking, the pack consists of larger, more physical players who are equivalent to defensive lineman in American football. The backs are usually the faster, more maneuverable players comparable to the backfield and receivers in American football. Jersey numbers represent pack players, and are the backs. The diagram below illustrates the breakdown of the fifteen separate positions on the field of play:.
Rugby game play is not terribly complicated; however, it is extremely confusing to many who are unfamiliar with the game. This can be attributed to the fact that while it does share similarities with other sports, it is vastly different from the other games we try to compare it to namely soccer and American football.
Unlike soccer, carrying the ball is legal, which in many ways makes it more similar to football. However, unlike football, there are no forward passes allowed in rugby, and match play is only stopped for penalties, not between every play. A regulation length match lasts for 80 minutes broken down into two 40 minute halves with a 10 minute break during halftime. The clock constantly runs and play only stops during the match for penalties.
Essentially, the average rugby player is constantly in motion varying between jog and all out sprint. Any player may carry the ball and is capable of scoring. A try is worth 5 points, after which a conversion kick is awarded, allowing for the chance to score 2 additional points if successful.
There are also other means of scoring, the first being a drop goal. In order for the drop goal to count, the ball must make contact with the ground before being kicked essentially dropped then kicked, making it a difficult maneuver. A penalty kick can also be granted for certain penalties, allowing for a free kick from the site of the infraction as long as it is behind the 22 meter line. The penalty kick is also worth 3 points. So how do teams go about scoring?
There are various elements that occur during play after certain events. By following along with an imaginary scenario of how a match might progress, we can analyze these elements.
At the start of the match and immediately following halftime, there is a kickoff from the 50 meter line. Who kicks off is decided by a coin toss before match play begins. A kickoff also occurs after a team scores a try. Upon receiving the kick, players will attempt to advance the ball up the field either by running, passing, or kicking. Any player can run the ball; however, teammates are not allowed to block defenders from tackling the ball carrier, and it is illegal to use your teammates as a shield when carrying the ball.
Passing is allowed, but only in the form of a reverse lateral, meaning that the player you are passing to must be behind you on the field of play. Laterals and forward laterals result in penalties. What forms out of this is known as the ruck. While being tackled, the ball carrier will attempt to roll so that his back is facing the defense and will shield the ball with his body.
All this must be simultaneous with the tackle, as a player on the ground is not allowed to guard or handle the ball at all with their hands. While the tackled player is shielding the ball, pack players from his team usually 2 or 3 will move over him in an attempt to keep the defense away from the ball, which anyone can take at this point.
Assuming the defense has not recovered the ball, another offensive player, usually the scrum half, will come in, retrieve the ball, and pass it out to the backs, allowing play to continue. Depending on the violation, the opposing team is presented with options from the official. Many penalties result in the other team being awarded a scrum. A scrum is the most recognizable of the rugby formations, and you have likely seen pictures of it before.
With both teams having created this formation, the two masses face each other and lock shoulder, with a tunnel naturally being created between the front rows. The object is then to drive the opposite team off the ball, carrying the ball underneath your own team no hands allowed and into the hands of the scrum half, who is now there awaiting it.