Anatomy of a rugby match
No time to study up on rugby before this week’s Tri-Nations Rugby Series? Matador Goods editor Lola Akinmade breaks down a typical rugby game through photos.
IF YOU HAPPEN TO FIND yourself in Auckland, New Zealand this week, you’ll no doubt feel the “rugby fever” spreading throughout the city. The Tri Nations Rugby Series is one of the world’s premier rugby events that brings together the top three teams in the southern hemisphere – Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.
You probably won’t have enough time to decipher all the rules of rugby so here are a few scenarios you just might witness out on the field in case your buddy invites you to watch your first ever rugby game.
Scrum - Easily the most spectacular display on the field, the scrum is done to restart the game after it has been interrupted.
Scrum Close Up
Here's what the scrum looks like up close.
Ruck - Not to be confused with a scrum, a ruck occurs when a player has been tackled to the ground, and his teammates need to secure the ball back.
This is probably what happened right before the ruck. Watch the bald guy in the middle get low into position, ready to tackle the oncoming player.
After a scrum or ruck, you might see players pause while another (usually shorter) player picks up the ball and passes it. The scrum half is the quarterback of the game and directs the flow of the ball between the big, burly forwards and the taller, leaner backs.
What happens when the ball goes out of bounds? You'll see a guy called a touch judge raise a flag up and point towards the team that gets the ball back.
Even more spectacular than scrums are line outs. Once the ball goes out of bounds, the receiving team has to throw the ball back in, giving the competing team an equal shot at the ball.
You will see massive pile ups of bodies at various times during the game.
Winning the ball
So what happens in a scrum? The scrumhalf ("quarterback") throws the ball into the open area and both teams compete for the ball with just their feet, kicking it back through their tunnels so the scrumhalf receives the ball behind his team's last player in the scrum. Sounds complicated but you'll quickly figure out the logic during the game.
Rarely would you find rugby players getting into a brawl on the field. After all, it's a hooligan sport played by gentlemen. If you do witness a fight, don't fret. They always make up after a couple pints of beer at the rugby clubhouse.