Rugby, the 2nd most popular sport in the world, 646540th most popular in Baltimore

April 02, 2008 |

That’s right, rugby is second only to soccer in popularity (world wide) and yet most people in Baltimore are unfamiliar with the sport. That is where this blog comes in. I want to help promote the sport in Baltimore and keep everyone up to date on the success of the local clubs, from the men’s club down to the youth leagues. 
So you might be thinking, “Why should I be interested in Rugby?”  Have you ever watched a soccer game and wished there was more scoring? Or do you think that football could be played at a faster pace with less timeouts? Do you like seeing hard bone crushing hits? Or do you like to see a sport played with some finesse and style? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, then rugby is the sport for you! Rugby combines the style and finesse of soccer with the excitement and physicality of American football.   
For those of you unfamiliar with the sport, let me give you a brief (very brief) overview.
Rugby is played on a field about the same size as a soccer field, with 15 guys on each side (description of positions will be made in later blogs). Games are 80 minutes long consisting of 2 40 minute halves. Up to 7 substitutions are allowed, but once a player is subbed off, he is not allowed back on the field. Like soccer, players are responsible for both offense and defense, and anyone can run with the ball. (This was great for me, growing up playing football and being relegated to the offensive line, I never got to run the ball.) The ball is moved up and down the field by passing it laterally or behind you, forward passes are not allowed. The ball can also be advanced by kicking (which makes sense since the sport is said to be derived from soccer). Scoring is fairly similar to American football. If a team scores a try (advances the ball into the opponents end goal and touches the ball down) they receive 5 points. The team then gets a chance to convert, much like the point after in football. A successful conversion is worth 2 points. If a team receives a penalty and they are close enough to the opposing team’s goal, they can opt to “kick for points”, that is someone will set the ball on the team at the spot of the penalty and attempt to kick it through the uprights. A successful penalty kick is worth 3 points. A player can also at anytime attempt to drop kick the ball through the uprights. The ball must leave the players hand and hit the ground before he kicks it. A drop kick is also worth 3 points. And like most sports, at the end of regulation, the team with the most points wins the match, and yes the game can end in a tie. 

So that in a nut shell is rugby. In future blogs, I’ll write more in depth about laws and phases of the game.