Rugby Dictionary; Terminology

Giorgi DolidzeCorrespondent IJune 14, 2009

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 14:  The Lions prepare for the British and Irish Lions training session held at Bishops School on June 14, 2009 in Cape Town, South Africa.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

If you play rugby or just enjoy watching it, you will always have an idea on what is happening on the field, you’ll scream from anger when your favorite player will get tackled in the head, because you’ll know that a rule was broken, you’ll always jump from excitement when you’ll see a thunderous tackle performed, because it is legal, and surely you will cry from happiness when your favorite team will score a game winning try on the last minute, because it’s just the way you wanted it be.

But almost everyone (some of the readers are professionals, which means they understand everything) will agree with me that there are moments when you just don’t understand what’s going on during the match.

Referee shouts a word that you have no idea about, players start moving in a strange direction and you don’t understand why, a yellow card is pulled out without a reason (at least you think so) and so on. Nobody’s knowledge about this sport is perfect, including mine, so I decided to write this article to make some terms and situations clearer.

Most of the terminology you’ll understand, but I’m sure there will be a word or two you haven’t heard and would like to know.

So here is the rugby terminology:

Ankle tap

An ankle-tap or tap-tackle is a form of tackle. It is used when the player carrying the ball is running at speed and a defending player is approaching from behind.

Even if the defender is not able to get close enough to the ball-carrier to wrap his arms around him in a conventional tackle, he may still be able to dive at the other player's feet and, with outstretched arm, deliver a tap or hook to the player's foot (or feet) causing the player to stumble.

Advantage line

Also called the gain line. It is an imaginary line drawn across the centre of the pitch when there is a breakdown in open play, such as a ruck, maul or scrum. Advancing across the gain line represents a gain in territory.


"Advantage" is the period of time after an infringement, in which the non-offending side has the opportunity to gain sufficient territory or tactical opportunity to negate the need to stop the game due to the infringement.

The referee will signal advantage with their arm out horizontally, toward the non-infringing team. If no tactical or territorial advantage is gained, the referee will whistle, and give the decision that had been delayed. If sufficient advantage is gained, the referee will call "advantage over", and play will continue.

The Advantage Law allows the game to flow more freely, and not stop for every minor infringement. An example of the application of advantage would be if Team A knocked the ball on (technical offence, conceding a scrum) but a Team B player picked the ball up and made a run forward before being tackled.

Ball back

If the ball enters touch, then play is restarted by a line-out at the point where the ball left the field of play. The exception to this is if the ball is kicked into touch on the full. In this case, a line-out is taken from the point from where the ball was kicked from, and not from where it entered touch.


The narrow side of the pitch in relation to a scrum or a breakdown in play; it is the opposite of open side. The blindside flanker is expected to cover the opposing team open side at scrum and breakdown.

Bonus points

Bonus points are a method of deciding table points from a rugby union match. It was implemented in order to encourage attacking play throughout a match, to discourage repetitive goal-kicking, and to reward teams for "coming close" in losing efforts.

1 bonus point is awarded for scoring 4 (or more) tries and 1 bonus point for losing by 7 points (or fewer).

Blitz defense

The blitz defense is a defensive technique similar to the defense used in rugby league. It relies on the whole defensive line moving forward towards their marked man as one, as soon as the ball leaves the base of a ruck or maul. The charge is usually led by the inside centre.

The idea of this technique is to prevent the attacking team gaining any ground by tackling them behind the gain line and forcing interceptions and charged down kicks.

However, the defending team can be vulnerable to chip kicks and any player breaking the defensive line will have lots of space to play because the defense are running the other way and must stop, turn and chase.

Blood bin

It is also called blood replacement. A player who has a visible bleeding injury may be replaced for up to fifteen minutes (running time not game time), during which he or she may receive first-aid treatment to stop the flow of blood and dress the wound. The player may then return to the pitch to continue playing.


This is a kick taken from behind a scrum, normally by the scrum-half, in which he turns away from the scrum facing the touchline, and kicks the ball back over the scrum into the clear "box" of space behind the opposition to allow his own team to chase through and regain the ball in undefended territory.


The breakdown is a colloquial term for the period immediately after a tackle and the ensuing ruck. During this time teams compete for possession of the ball, initially with their hands and then using feet in the ruck. Most referees will call "ruck" or "hands away" as soon as a ruck is formed. Most infringements take place at the breakdown, owing to the greater variety of possible offences at a breakdown, for example handling in the ruck, killing the ball, offside at the ruck and so on.


A player who deliberately or repeatedly infringes the laws is cautioned, and shown a yellow card. A cautioned player is suspended from playing for ten minutes.


They are the players wearing shirts numbers 12 and 13. They are divided into inside and outside centre.



If a team scores a try, they have an opportunity to convert it for two further points by kicking the ball between the posts and above the crossbar—that is, through the goal.

The kick is taken at any point on the field of play in line with the point that the ball was grounded for the try parallel to the touch-lines. So it is advantageous to score a try nearer to the posts as it is easier to convert it.

The kick can be either a drop kick or a place kick.

Counter rucking

If a team (usually the team that took the ball into contact) has secured the ball at a ruck, and the other team manage to force them off the ball and secure possession themselves, the defending team is said to have "counter-rucked."

Crash tackle/crash ball

It is an attacking tactic where a player receives a pass at pace and runs directly at the opposition's defensive line. The crash ball runner attempts to commit two or more opposing players to the tackle, then attempts to make the ball available to team-mates by off-loading in the tackle or recycling the ball quickly from the ruck.

By committing players to the tackle, the crash ball runner creates holes in the opposition's defense, thereby creating attacking opportunities for team-mates.

Drop kick

A drop kick is when a player kicks the ball from hand and the ball touches the ground between being dropped and kicked. If a drop kick goes through a goal then it results in a drop goal.

Dummy runner

Another offensive tactic; a player on the attacking team runs towards the opposition as if running onto a pass, only for the ball to be passed to another player, carried on by the ball carrier or kicked forwards. As with a dummy pass, this tactic draws defenders away from the ball and creates space for the attacking team.

Dummy pass

An offensive ruse, where the ball carrier moves as if to pass the ball to a team-mate, but then continues to run with the ball himself; the objective is to trick defenders into marking the would-be pass receiver, creating a gap for the ball carrier to run into.

Dump tackle

It is a tackling technique. The tackler wraps his arms around the ball carrier's thighs and lifts him a short distance in the air before forcibly driving him to the ground. The tackler must go to ground with the ball carrier for the tackle to be legal. This technique is useful to completely stop the opponent in his tracks. A dump tackle which drops the ball carrier on his head or neck is known as a spear tackle, and will almost invariably concede a penalty and possibly result in a caution for the tackler.

Five meter scrum

When a scrum offence is committed within 5m of either try line, or a player carries the ball over his own try line and touches it down, the referee will award a scrum on the five meter lie; this is to prevent all but the most brutal packs from driving the ball over the try line within the scrum.



Also known as breakaways or wing forwards. They are the players wearing shirts numbers 6 & 7. They are the players with the fewest set responsibilities. The player should have all round attributes: speed, strength, fitness, tackling and handling skills. Flankers are always involved in the game, as they are the real ball winners at the breakdown, especially the number 7. The two flankers do not usually bind to the scrum in a fixed position. Instead, the open side flanker will attach to the scrum on whichever side is further from the nearer touchline, while the blindside flanker attaches himself to the scrum on the side closer to the touchline.

Fly half

Also referred to by a number of different names, they are the players wearing shirt number 10. This position is one of the most influential on the pitch. The fly-half makes key tactical decisions during a game. Generally a fly-half is also the goal kicker due to excellent kicking skills.

Forward pass

It is called a throw-forward in the laws of the game.

A forward pass occurs when the ball fails to travel backwards in a pass. If the ball is not thrown or passed forward but it bounces forward after hitting a player or the ground, it is not a throw-forward.

If the referee deems it accidental, these results in a scrum to the opposing team, however deliberate forward passes result in the award of a penalty.

Fourth official

A fourth official is one who controls replacements and substitutes. He may also substitute for referee or touch judge in case of injury to either of them.

Foul play

Foul play is defined as the deliberate infringement of the laws of the game.

Free-kick/ Short arm penalty

Also called short arm penalty. This is a lesser form of the penalty, usually awarded to a team for a technical offence committed by the opposing side such as numbers at the line-out or time wasting at a scrum. A free kick is also awarded for calling a mark.

A team cannot kick for goal and the normal 22m rule applies for kicking for position from a free kick. A Free Kick is signaled by the referee with a bent arm raised in the air.


They are the player wearing jersey number 15. They act as the last line of defense against running attacks by the opposing three-quarter backs. The full back is expected to field high kicks from the opposition, and reply with a superior kick or a counterattack. The full back is sometimes the specialist goal-kicker in a team, taking penalty and conversion kicks.


A Garryowen or up and under kick, is a high short punt onto or behind the defending team.

Goal from mark

Goal from mark is an antiquated method of scoring. It occurred when a player "marked" and scored a goal from there. In the modern game, a goal cannot be scored from a free kick, but in the past the reward for scoring a "goal from mark" (which is a difficult kick to play) was three or four points. Occasionally referred to as a field goal.


A goal is scored when a player kicks the ball through the plane bounded by the two uprights and above the crossbar. A drop goal or penalty goal count for 3 points except and conversions count for two.

Goal line, try line

Two solid, straight white lines (one at each end) stretching across the entire width of the pitch passing directly through the goal posts which defines the boundary between the "field of play" and the "in-goal". As the goal line is defined as part of the "in-goal," attacking players can score tries by placing the ball with downward pressure onto the goal line itself. The base of the goal posts and post protectors are also defined to be part of the goal line.

The goal line is often referred to as the "try line" though that term does not appear in the Laws of the Game.

Grubber kick

It is a type of kick which makes the ball roll and tumble across the ground, producing irregular bounces making it hard for the defending team to pick up the ball without causing a knock-on. It gives the ball both high and low bounce and on occasions, the ball can sit up in a perfect catching position.

Group of death

Is an informal sobriquet used in to describe a situation that often occurs during the group stage of a tournament, where any team in the group could qualify and any team could be eliminated.

Typically, a group of death will see an unusual match-up of heavyweight sides, due to a quirk in the seeding system.


The haka is a traditional Maori dance performed by the All Blacks, the international rugby union team of New Zealand, immediately prior to international matches. It serves as a challenge to the opposing team.

High tackle

A high tackle (or head-high tackle) is a form of tackle where the tackler grasps the ball carrier above the line of the shoulders (most commonly around the neck or at the line of the chin and jaw).

Executed violently or at speed, a high tackle is potentially instantly lethal and, as extremely dangerous play, high tackles are a cause for penalties, and yellow or red cards.


Handing off (also called fend) is the action by the ball carrier of repelling a tackler using his arm. For the action to be legal, the ball carrier's arm must be straight before contact is made; a shove or "straight-arm smash", where the arm is extended immediately before contact or on contact, is illegal and classed as dangerous play.


Hookers traditionally wear the number 2 shirt. The hooker is the player who is in the centre position of the front row of the scrum and who uses his/her feet to 'hook' the ball back. Due to the pressure put on the body by the scrum and the requirement to use both arms to bind to other players (and hence having no free arm to use to support or deflect bodyweight) it is considered to be one of the most dangerous positions to play.

Hookers normally throw the ball in at line-outs, partly because they are normally the shortest of the forwards, but more often because they are the most skillful of the forwards.


It is also called knock-forward. A knock-on is when a player loses possession of the ball and goes forward off the hands or arms of a player and hits either the ground or another player. It results in a scrum with the put-in to the opposition.


A coin is tossed and the winning captain either chooses which direction his team shall play, or elects to take the kick that starts the game. Both halves of the match are started with a drop kick from the centre-point of the halfway line.

The kick must cross the opposition's 10-metre line, unless played by a member of the receiving team. The opposition are not allowed to encroach beyond the 10-metre line until the ball is kicked.

If the ball does not travel 10 metres, goes straight into touch, or goes over the dead ball line at the end of the pitch, the opposing team may accept the kick, have the ball kicked off again, or have a scrum at the centre.

After a score, the game is restarted from the same place under the same restrictions, with the conceding team drop-kicking the ball to the scoring team.

Late tackle

A late tackle is a tackle executed on a player who has already passed or kicked away the ball. As it is illegal to tackle a player who does not have the ball, Late tackles are penalty offences (referees allow a short margin of error where the tackler was already committed to the tackle) and if severe or reckless may result in yellow or red Cards.

If a late tackle occurs after a kick and a penalty is awarded, the non-offending team has the option of taking the penalty where the ball landed.


A maximum of seven and a minimum of three forwards line up parallel with each other between the five-meter and 15-metre lines. The hooker of the team in possession throws the ball in while his opposite number stands in between the touchline and the five-meter line.

All players not involved in the lineout, except the scrum-half, must retire 10 meters.

The ball must be thrown in straight down the middle of the lineout and the hooker must not cross into the field of play while throwing in. If throw is not straight then the throw is given to opposition or a scrum.

Jumpers can be lifted by their team-mates below the waist, but the opposition's jumpers must not be obstructed, barged or pulled down.


Locks or second-row are the players wearing shirts number 4 & 5. Locks are very tall, athletic and have an excellent standing jump along with good strength. So they are the primary targets at line-outs. They also make good ball carriers, bashing holes in the defense around the ruck and maul. They also have to push in the rucks and mauls.

Line-out code

It is a coded piece of information, used to communicate intentions about a line-out within one team in a match without giving information away to the other team. The advantage in line-out comes from knowing in advance how the throw will be made.


A mark is the place where the game will restart after a stoppage, such as where a scrum-offence or penalty offence occurred, or on the touchline where the ball went out of play (or where the ball was kicked in the case of ball-back).

Marks are generally defined by the referee, or the touch judge when the ball leaves play by the touchline.

Marks can also be defined by a defending players who execute a clean catch (catch the ball before it bounces or touches another player) of a ball kicked by an attacking player if the defender is standing within his/her own 22 meter zone or in-goal. To "call a mark", the player shouts "Mark!" as he/she catches the ball.

The referee then awards that player a free kick which must be taken by that specific player. (If for whatever reason, that player cannot take the kick, a scrum is awarded instead.) If the player is simply a poor kicker he/she is likely to take a 'Tap Kick' and immediately pass the ball to the fly-half or full back that will generally deliver a clearance kick.

Marks can be called when the ball is cleanly caught following a kick by the opposition for any type of kick except a kick off or restart after a score. It is legal, though very unusual, to call a mark from a clean catch of a penalty kick.


The mulligrubber kick is a style of kicking. A mulligrubber is directed towards the ground and forced to bounce. Often used in situations where either the ball needs to be placed in a specific position (i.e. on the try line) or to intentionally stop the opponent from being able to catch the ball on the full.


When a ball carrier is held up (without being tackled) by both an opposing player and a player from his own team, a maul is then considered formed.

The offside line becomes the last foot of the last man on each side of the maul. Players can only join in from behind that team-mate. Anyone who comes in from the sides will be penalized by the referee. Hands are allowed to be used in the maul. If either team deliberately collapses the maul then that side will be penalized by the referee.

If the ball does not come out in a timely fashion, the referee will award a scrum to the team that did not take the ball into the maul.

Mauls can only exist in the field of play. Play that looks like a maul can exist within the in-goal but restrictions on entry to the maul and the need to bind on to a team member do not apply.



Number 8/eightman/eighth-man

They are the players wearing shirts no. 8. It is the only position that is known only by the shirt number. No. 8s must have a good tactical awareness in order to coordinate scrums and ruck moves with the scrum-half.

If the ball is at his feet at the back of a scrum, ruck or maul, it is normally the number eight's decision whether to pass the ball out or drive the breakdown on in order to make ground.


A player is offside when he/she is forward of the relevant offside line i.e. between the relevant offside line and the opposing team's dead ball line.

In a match, most players will be offside several times but they only become liable for penalty if they do not act to attempt to become onside (which generally means retreat downfield) or attempt to interfere with play.

In open play, only the ball carrier's team (or the team that last carried or deliberately touched the ball) is bound by offside - the offside line for them is the ball. (Note every player who passes the ball backwards is offside and must attempt to retire.)

Off-load pass

A short pass made by a player being tackled before he reaches the ground, usually by turning to face a team-mate and tossing the ball into the air for a team-mate to catch.


A player is onside whenever he or she is behind the relevant offside line for the particular phase of play. Players who are onside take an active part in playing the game.

Previously offside players may be "put onside" by the actions of other players (for example, in a kick ahead in open play, players in the kicker's team in front of the kick are offside but can be put onside by the kicker or any other team member who was onside at the time of the kick running up the pitch past them).

So that players can be confident they are now onside and can take an active part in the game, the referee may shout "Onside" or "All Onside."

Open side

The broad side of the pitch in relation to a scrum or a breakdown in play. The openside flanker is expected to cover the cover the opposing team openside at scrum and breakdown. It is the opposite of blindside.

On the full

If the ball is kicked into touch without first bouncing inside the field of play it is termed as ball is kicked into touch on the full.


Penalties are awarded for serious infringements like dangerous play, offside and handling the ball on the ground in a ruck. Penalties are signalled by the referee with a straight arm raised in the air. Players can also receive red and yellow cards, as in Association football.

The offending team must retire 10 meters (or to their goal line if closer) for both penalties and free kicks. A team can kick for goal, tap and run the ball, take a scrum or kick directly into touch with the resulting line-out awarded to them.

Penalty try

A penalty try awarded if the referee believes a team illegally prevented a try from probably being scored. Penalty tries are always awarded under the posts regardless of where the offence took place.

(This gives the non-offending team the opportunity for the easiest possible conversion kick meaning that a penalty try is generally a certain 7 points for the non-offending team.)

Place kick

The place kick is a kicking style commonly used when kicking for goal. It typically involves placing the ball on the ground. To keep the ball in position, a mound of sand or plastic tee is sometimes used.


A phase is the time a ball is in play between breakdowns. For example, first phase would be winning the ball at the lineout and passing to a centre who is tackled. Second phase would be winning the ball back from the ensuing breakdown and attacking again.

Professional foul:

A professional foul is a deliberate act of foul play, usually to prevent an opponent scoring.


They are the players wearing shirts number 1 & 3. The role of both the props is to support the hooker in the scrum and to provide support for the jumpers in the line-out.

The props provide the main power in the push forward in the scrum. For this reason they need to be exceptionally big and strong.

Red card

In International matches, red cards are shown to players who have been ordered off, which results in the player being removed from the game without being replaced. Players are usually ordered off for serious foul play, for violent conduct or for committing two offences resulting in cautions (yellow cards).

Red cards are also commonly used in non-international matches in precisely the same manner as in International matches but there is no regulation requiring their use. (i.e. in a domestic match, a referee may dismiss a player without actually displaying a red card.)

Round the corner kicking

Round the corner kicking is a style of kicking used for kicking penalties and converting tries.



A ruck is formed when the ball is on the ground and two opposing players meet over the ball. The offside line becomes the last foot of the last man on each side of the ruck and players compete for the ball by attempting to drive one another from the area and to 'ruck' the ball backwards with their feet.

Rucks commonly form at tackles, but can form anywhere in the field of play where the ball is on the ground.

Handling the ball while it is in the vicinity of a ruck is a penalty offence. (Though modern practice allows a player on the ground to support the ball with his/her hands and for the player who is acting as scrum half to 'dig' for the ball once possession has been secured.)

If the ball does not come out of a ruck after about five seconds, the referee will award a scrum to the team he considers to have been moving forward in the ruck.


The eight forwards from each team bind together and push against each other. The scrum-half from the team that has been awarded possession feeds the ball into the centre of the scrum from the side most advantageous for his hooker (which is typically the side of loose head prop).

The ball must be fed straight down the middle of the tunnel and the hookers must not contest for the ball until it is put in. If they do, a free-kick is awarded for "foot up".

The scrum is taken again if the ball comes straight out of the tunnel or if it collapses. If the scrum wheels (rotates) due to pushing more than 90 degrees the scrum is reformed and awarded to the other side. Pulling in an attempt to unbalance the other side or to assist in rotating the scrum is a Penalty Offence.


At the breakdown a ruck commonly forms over the players involved in the tackle.

Where players who are on the ground on the opposition side of the ruck do not move away quickly enough, players on their feet may be tempted to "help" them move by pushing them away with their boots.

This potentially dangerous act is illegal and if done deliberately (or recklessly) may result in penalties and yellow or red cards.

Scrum half

Also known as a half-back, they are the players traditionally wearing shirt No. 9. Scrum halves form the all-important link between the forwards and the backs. They are relatively small but with a high degree of vision, the ability to react to situations very quickly, and good handling skills.

They are often the first tackler in defence and are behind every scrum, maul or ruck to get the ball out and maintain movement. They put the ball into the scrum and collect it afterwards. Scrum Halves generally also act as "receiver" in the line-out to catch the ball knocked down by the forwards. (The receiver is a member of the line out and so stands within 10 metres of it and may join the line once the ball is thrown.)

Sipi Tau

Sipi Tau is a Tongan war dance performed by the Tongan national rugby union team before each of their international match.

Sin bin

The notional area where a player must remain for a minimum of ten minutes after being shown a yellow card. In high level games, the sin bin is monitored by the fourth official.

Stellenbosch Laws

The Stellenbosch Laws are a set of experimental laws of rugby union that are under consideration by the International Rugby Board (IRB) and, if accepted, may to come into effect late in 2008.

Spear tackle

A spear tackle is a dangerous tackle in which a player is picked up by the tackler and turned so that they are upside down. The tackler then drops or drives the player into the ground often head, neck or shoulder first.

Spear tackles are particularly dangerous and have caused serious injury including spinal

damage, dislocations and broken bones in the shoulder or neck. On rare occasion, even death can occur.

Spear tackles are taken very seriously by the various Union discipline committees and can result in lengthy playing bans.


A tackle takes place when one or more opposition players [tackler(s)] grasp onto the ball carrier and succeed in bringing him/her to ground and holding them there.

Once briefly held, the tackler(s) must release the tackled player who must then him/herself immediately release or attempt to pass the ball so that play can continue.

Tap kick

A tap kick is a type of kick used by players at penalties or free kicks to meet the regulation that requires the ball must be kicked a visible distance before a player may pass or run with it.

In a tap kick, the player momentarily releases the ball from his hands and taps it with his foot or lower leg and then quickly catches it again. The player will then generally try to run forward with the ball.

Ten Meter Law

The Ten Meter Law is a form of offside which is designed to prevent injury to a defending player who attempts to catch a ball that has been kicked ahead by the attacking side.

In the normal Law of Offside in open play, it is possible for an offside player to be put onside by actions of the opposing team. This ability to be put onside by a member of the opposing team does not apply if the offside player was within 10 metres along the field of a defending player waiting to catch the ball and the offside player remains offside until either he/she retreats onside or is put onside by a member of their own team.


Despite its name, a tap tackle is a not actually a tackle as the ball carrier is brought to ground by a form of trip, is not actually held on the ground and may attempt to get up and continue to run. A tap tackle is used when a defending player is unable to get close enough to the ball carrier but is able to dive at the other player's feet and, with outstretched arm, deliver a tap or hook to the player's foot (or feet) causing the player to stumble.

At speed, this will often be sufficient to bring the ball-carrier down, allowing a team-mate of the tackling player to retrieve the ball or provide sufficient delay for the defending team to organize a defense.

Test match

International rugby union matches with full (Test) status are called Test matches.


Television match official (TMO), commonly called the video referee.

Tight Head

The tight head prop is the player who takes the right-hand position on the front row of the scrum. A tight head prop traditionally wears the number 3 shirt. He is named the tight head since in the scrum he will have an opposition player bind to both his left and right hand side, meaning his head is unexposed to the side of the scrum as opposed to the loose head, whose left-hand side is exposed.

Touch judge

The touch judge is an official who monitors the touch-line and raises a flag if the ball (or player carrying it) goes into touch. Touch judges also stand behind the posts to confirm that a goal has been scored following a penalty kick or conversion of a try.


Touch is the area outside and including the two touch-lines which define the sides of the playing area. As the touch-lines are not part of the playing area they are part of touch.

Truck and trailer

A colloquial term for an accidental obstruction. "Truck and trailer" occurs when a player carrying the ball leaves a maul, along with one or more of his teammates. Once the ball carrier leaves the maul, the maul is over, and if the ball carrier's teammates are in front of the ball carrier and prevent defending players from making a tackle, the defending team will be awarded a scrum. If the incident of truck and trailer is judged to be deliberate or the latest in a series of similar infringements, a penalty may be awarded instead.


When a scrum is formed, the gap between the legs of the three players from each team who form the front row is called the tunnel.


It is the primary method of scoring. A try is worth five points. It is scored when a player places the ball on the ground with downward pressure in the in-goal area between (and including) the goal-line and up to but not including dead ball line of the opposition's half. (As the goal posts and post protectors are also part of the goal-line, touching the ball down against the base of these is also a try.)

There is no such thing as an "own try." If you touch the ball down in your own in-goal area, it results in a twenty-two metre drop out or a five metre scrum.


When a team concedes possession of the ball, particularly at the breakdown, they are said to have turned the ball over to the other team. This can happen due to defending players stealing the ball from an isolated attacker, counter rucking, a knock on, an intercepted pass or the ball not emerging from a maul (wherein the referee awards the scrum feed to opposing team).

Twenty two metre drop-out

A drop kick is taken from behind the 22m line if a team touches down in its own in-goal area but did not carry the ball over the try line, or if the ball is kicked over the dead ball line from any other play other than the kick-off.

The ball only needs to cross the line, but if it goes directly into touch a scrum is awarded to the receiving team at the centre-point of the 22m line.

Up and under

An up and under or a Garryowen kick, is a high short punt onto or behind the defending team.

Use it or lose it

If the maul stops moving forward the referee will often shout "use it or lose it" to the team in possession of the ball. This means they must pass the ball within a five-second time period. If they do not the referee will call a scrum and the team not in possession at the beginning of the maul will be given the feed.


They are the players wearing shirt numbers 11 and 14. They are divided into left and right wingers. Wingers must be fast runners and agile in order to evade tackles and have excellent ball handling skills in order to pass and receive the ball at pace.


A scrum that has rotated through 90 degrees or more is said to have "wheeled." The referee wil


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