England is currently awash with national pride as it’s hosting the 2015 Rugby World Cup which is the eighth Rugby World Cup of its kind and is held every four years. The tournament is hosted from 18 September to 31 October and Twickenham Stadium in West London holding the final.
You may not be interested in Rugby but recently it has been hard to ignore the TV adverts, the promotions and general hype surrounding this event. It’s also hard to ignore that Rugby union is played in over 100 countries across six continents and there are 101 full members and 18 associate members of World Rugby. Nations involved in this year’s tournament hail from such diverse places as Romania, Namibia, Japan and Uruguay proving it really is a global sport. Pre-tournament favourites are New Zealand where the game is almost a national obsession with teams such Australia, South Africa, Wales, England and Ireland hoping to give the ‘All Blacks’ a run for their money.
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If you know very little about the sport, here’s a beginner’s guide to help you swot up before the knock out part of the tournament begins.
Legend has it that in 1823, during a game of school football in the town of Rugby, England, a young man named William Webb Ellis picked up the ball and ran towards the opposition’s goal line.
Two centuries later, Rugby Football has evolved into one of the world’s most popular sports, with millions of people playing, watching and enjoying the Game.
At the heart of Rugby is a unique ethos which it has retained over the years. Not only is the Game played to the Laws, but within the spirit of the Laws.
- A game of rugby has two halves each of which last 40 minutes total (plus injury time).
- Each team consists of 15 players; eight forwards and seven backs.
- The first tournament was held in 1987 and they are scheduled every four years making this the 14th Rugby World Cup.
- A try is when a player places the ball on the ground while in the goal area and is worth five points.
- After a try a team gets the chance of scoring an additional two points by kicking the goal through the posts. This is called a conversion.
- A drop goal is when a player drops the ball and kicks it through the posts on the half-volley. This is worth three points.
- You can only pass the ball backwards.
- Only a player in possession of the ball can be tackled.
Those are just some basics, the rules of the game are a LOT more complicated than that and there’s no better way to learn than by sitting back and watching the blood, thunder, guile and skill on display in a game described by Winston Churchill as a hooligans game played by gentlemen.