Rugby Dimensions, Rules, Equipments, Terminologies


Rugby football is a very popular sport in many countries of the world. This sport is played with an oval shaped ball by two teams of 15 players (in rugby union play) or 13 players (in rugby league play). Rugby is also popular among women. It is one of the world’s fastest-growing sports

The rapid spread of rugby union led to the establishment of the International Rugby  Board in 1997. It determines the laws of the game and settles any disputes that arose between countries. 

The International Rugby Board headquarter is in Dublin, which boasts more than 100 affiliated national unions.  The top level of this sport is still dominated by Australia, England, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa, and Wales.



The rugby league field is also referred to as a pitch or paddock, it is the playing surface surfaced exclusively with grass.

  • A rugby league pitch or field is 74 yards (68m) wide and 122–133 yards (112–122 m)
  • long. 
  • The try lines or goal lines stand 110 yards (100 m)apart. 
  • Goal post is 5.5 m wide and at least 16 m high, with a crossbar set 3 m above the ground. 
  • The distance from try line to dead-ball line is 6–11 m 
  • All touchlines and dead ball lines are considered out of play.
  • Near each end of the field there is a goal line or try-line. These lines are 100 m apart. 
  • A scoring area called the in-goal area extended to 6–11 m from each try-line to each dead ball line.
  • Most of the play occurs within the field of play, this is the area bounded by the touch lines and goal lines.
  • Between the goal lines, broken lines are there which run parallel to each touch line at 10 and 20 m from touch.
  • Free kicks are taken 10 m in from the point where the ball entered touch after being kicked out to gain ground from a penalty.
  • If a scrum is required to restart play and the event that caused it occurred within 20 meters of a touch line, the scrum shall be brought in twenty meters from the touch line and ten meters from the goal line.
  • Lines are marked every 10 m perpendicular to the touch lines.
  • The goal lines, dead ball lines and touch lines are 15 cm (6 inches) wide and white in color. 
  • There are 40-meter (44-yard) lines, which are usually red colored to distinguish them for the determination of 40–20 kicks in play.
  • The broken lines (10 meters and 20 meters) from the touch lines are 10 cm (4 inches) wide and white in color.
  • The distance markers on the playing field are white with a red outline. 
  • On each goal line there are two goal posts 5.5 m apart connected by a cross bar 3 m from the ground.
  • Each goal post is minimum 16 m in height  
  • The posts and crossbar form an “H” shape. Goal posts which are supported by only one post below the crossbar are permissible.
  • The bottom 2 m of a goal post is padded to protect players from injury. 
  • A non rigid 1.3m high corner post is placed at the points where each touch line meets each goal line. 
  • When any team in possession of the ball is attempting to score a try then the goal line is included in the in-goal area, grounding the ball correctly on either is a try.
  • When the team in possession of the ball is attempting to return the ball to the field of play from their own in-goal area the goal line is part of the field of play. 
  • A team that caught the ball in their own in-goal must restart play with a drop kick of the ball from between their posts.


  • A try can be scored by grounding the ball in the in-goal area between it and the dead ball line or on the try-line
  • A goal is scored when the ball travels above the crossbar and between the posts of the goal which is situated in the middle of the try-line.
  • A penalty try is awarded to a team if a player is fouled in the act of scoring a try but doesn’t ground the ball. The conversion is taken from in front of the goal posts.
  • An 8-point try is awarded to a team if a player is fouled in the act of scoring a try but still grounds the ball. 
  • The conversion kicks are taken from where the try is scored and in front of the goal posts


Rugby union kit consists of a jersey, shorts, long rugby socks, boots with studs and ball.

Light and thin padding is allowed on the head, shoulders and collarbone, that should meet World Rugby standards. Players can wear a mouthguard to guard against concussion and chipping of the teeth.

Ball: Rugby ball 

  • Length: 28–30 cm (11–12 in) long and 
  • Circumference: 58–62 cm (23–24 in) at its widest point. 
  • Weight: 410–460 g (14–16 oz) 
  • Inflated to: 65.7–68.8 kPa (9.5–10.0 psi)
  • Material: Brown leather
  • Shape: Prolate spheroid
  • Color: Variety of colors and patterns
  • Material: Synthetic waterproof materials


There are two types of Rugby boots, 8 stud or the 6 stud. The 8 stud boot is worn by the tight forwards (props, hooker and second row) to provide them extra grip for scrummaging and mauling. The 6 stud boot is worn by backs to get more agility and quicker movement around the field.


Ankle tap

An ankle-tap is a form of tackle which is used stop the player carrying the ball by using a tap or hook to the player’s feet. It is also called tap-tackle

Advantage line

Advantage or gain line is an imaginary line drawn across the center of the pitch when there is a breakdown in open play, 


When a team get opportunity to restart game after stopage due to the infringement is advantage

Ball back

When the ball enters touch, then play is started again by a line-out at the point where the ball left the field of play. 


The small side of the pitch in relation to a scrum or a breakdown in play

Bonus points

It is a method of deciding table points from a rugby match. It is used to encourage attacking play throughout a match. Generally it is used to reward teams for “coming close” in losing efforts and discourage repetitive goal-kicking,

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

Blitz defense

It is a defensive technique which relies on the whole defensive line moving forward together towards their marked man as one, when the ball leaves the base of a ruck or maul. 

Blood bin

It is a replacement for an injured player for up to fifteen minutes. During which he or she receives first-aid treatment to stop bleeding. The player may  return to the pitch to continue playing.


This is a kick taken by scrum half from behind a scrum. In this kick he turns away from the scrum by facing the touchline, and kicks the ball back over the scrum into the clear “box” of space behind the opposition.


The breakdown is a period immediately after a tackle and the ensuing ruck. At this time teams compete for possession of the ball, using their hands initially and then feet in the ruck. 


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


They are the players who wear shirts numbers 12 and 13. They are generally divided into inside and outside centers.


When a team scores a try, they have an opportunity to convert it for two further points. By kicking the ball at any point through the posts or goal and above the crossbar. The kick can be taken either dropping or placing the ball.

Counter rucking

If a team has secured the ball at a ruck, and the other team who manages to force them off the ball and secure possession themselves, then the defending team is said to have “counter-rucked.”

Crash tackle/crash ball

It is an attacking tactic where a player receives a pass while running and enters directly at the opposition’s defensive line and 

creates holes in the opposition’s defense, by creating attacking opportunities for team-mates.

 Drop kick

When a player drops the ball and the ball touches the ground. When any drop kick goes through a goal then it results in a drop goal.

Dummy runner

It is an offensive tactic when an attacker deceives the opposition into believing he is going to pass or shoot in a certain direction, or receive the ball but instead he does something different, thus gaining an advantage.

Dummy pass

It’s an offensive tactic, where an attacker moves to pass the ball to a team-mate, but continues to run with the ball himself

Dump tackle

It is a tackling technique where the tackler hold the ball carrier’s thighs and lifts him a short distance in the air before forcibly driving him to the ground. 

Five meter scrum

When any offense is committed within 5m of either try line and touches it down, the referee will award a scrum on the five meter line.


Flanker is also known as breakaways or wing forwards. Each team includes two flankers, wearing shirts numbers 6 & 7 who play in the forward, and are generally classified as either blindside or openside flankers. The name flanker comes from their position in a scrum where they ‘flank’ each set of forwards.

Fly half

It is a position that is one of the most influential on the pitch. The fly-half position player makes key tactical decisions during a game. He is also the goal kicker due to excellent kicking skills. This player wear shirt number 10.

Forward pass

It is also called a throw-forward. In this the person who is passing the ball must be a member of the offensive team he throws the ball in the direction in which the offensive team is trying to move, towards the defensive team’s goal line.

Fourth official

A fourth official controls replacements and substitutes players he can also substitute for referee or touch judge in case of injury to either of them.

Foul play

It is the deliberate infringement of the laws of the game.


It is also called a short arm penalty usually awarded to a team for a technical offense committed by the opposing side e.g. numbers at the line-out or time wasting at a scrum. Free kick is also awarded for calling a mark.


They are the defense players who is at the last line of defense against running attacks by the opposing three-quarter backs

wearing jersey number 15. He is expected to field high kicks from the opposition, and reply with a superior kick or a counterattack. 


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

Goal from mark

Goal from mark is a method of scoring. It happened when a player “marked” and scored a goal from there. 


A goal is awarded when a player kicks the ball through the plane bounded by the two uprights and above the crossbar. 

Goal line, try line

Goal line is also referred to as try line are two straight white lines one at each end, which stretch 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”. 

Grubber kick

Grubber kick is a type of kick where the ball rolls and tumble across the ground, producing irregular bounces making it hard for the defending team to pick up the ball. 

Group of death

Group of death is the group where a team has an unusual match-up of heavyweight sides where the chances of elimination is very high. 


It is a traditional Maori dance performed by the All Blacks, the international rugby union team of New Zealand prior to international matches. 

High tackle

A high tackle is a form of tackle where the tackler or player grasps the ball carrier above the line of the shoulders 


Hand off is the action by the ball carrier of repelling a tackler using his arm. For the legal action, the ball carrier’s arm must be straight before contact is made


The hooker is the player, who wears the number 2 shirt, is in the center position of the front row of the scrum and who uses his/her feet to ‘hook’ the ball back. 


A knock-on, also called knock-forward, is when a player loses possession of the ball and goes forward off the hands of a player and hits either the ground or another player, which results in a scrum.


A kick that starts the game must cross the opposition’s 10-meter line. Both halves of the match started with a drop kick from the center-point of the halfway line.

Late tackle

A late tackle is an offense. It is a tackle executed on a player who has already passed or kicked away the ball. If it occurs the non-offending team has the option to take a penalty where the ball landed.


When a maximum of seven and a minimum of three forwards line up parallel with each other between the five-meter and 15-meter lines is called line out. 


Locks are the players wearing shirts number 4 & 5. They are very tall and have an excellent standing jump along with good strength. They are the primary targets at line-outs. They are also good ball carriers, bashing holes in the defense around the ruck and maul. 

Line-out code

It is a piece of information given in code which is used to communicate intentions about a line-out within one team in a match without giving information away to the other team. 


It is the place where the game will restart after a stoppage, such as where a scrum-offense occurred or on the touchline where the ball went out of play area.


When a ball carrier is held up by both an opposing player and a player from his own team, a maul is then considered formed.

Number 8 player

They are the players wearing shirts no. 8 is also called the eighth man. This position player is only known by the shirt number. This player must have a good tactical awareness in order to coordinate scrums and ruck moves with the scrum-half.


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

Off-load pass

Off load pass is 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.


When a player is behind the relevant offside line for the particular phase of play, players who are onside take an active part in playing the game.

Open side

It is the broad side of the pitch in relation to a scrum or a breakdown in play. 

On the full

If the ball is kicked 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 and handling the ball on the ground in a ruck. 

Penalty try

A penalty try is awarded by the referee if he believes a team illegally prevented a try from probably being scored. 

Place kick

The place kick is a kicking style commonly used to score goals. 


A phase is the time when a ball is in play between breakdowns. 

Professional foul:

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


Prop are the players wearing shirts number 1 & 3. They support the hooker in the scrum and to provide support for the jumpers in the line-out.

Red card

Red cards are shown to players to be removed from the game without being replaced for any serious intentional offense. 

Round the corner kicking

It is a style of kicking used for kicking penalties and converting tries.


When the ball is on the ground and two opposing players meet over the ball then a ruck is formed. It forms at tackles, but can form anywhere in the field of play.


Eight forward players from each team bind together and push against each other that form a scrum. The half that has been awarded possession feeds the ball into the center of the scrum from the side. 

Scrum half

It is also known as a half-back, they wear shirt No. 9. They form the all-important link between the forwards and the backs. 

Sin bin

It is the notional area where a player must remain for a minimum of ten minutes after being shown a yellow card. 

Spear tackle

A spear tackle is occur in which a player is picked up by the tackler and turned so that they are upside down it is a dangerous tackle


A tackle takes place when one or more opposition players grasp onto the ball carrier and succeed in bringing him to ground and holding them there.

Tap kick

It 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.

Ten Meter Law

It 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.


It is 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. 

Test match

International rugby union matches which have test status are called Test matches.


Television match official, they are commonly called the video referee.

Tight Head

It 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. 

Touch judge

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


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

Truck and trailer

It is a term used for an accidental obstruction, “Truck and trailer” it occurs when a player carrying the ball leaves a maul, along with one or more of his teammates. 


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 


Turnover is happen when a team concedes ball possession, specially at the breakdown, they are said to have turned the ball over to the other team. 

Twenty two meter drop-out

When 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.

Use it or lose it

When the maul stops moving forward the referee will often shout “use it or lose it” to the team who have the possession of the ball. This means that they must pass the ball within a five-second time period. Failing to do so 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. divided into left and right wingers. They must be fast runners and agile in order to avoid tackles and have excellent ball handling skills in order to pass and receive the ball at pace.


When a scrum that has rotated through 90 degrees or more is said to have “wheeled.” 

Also Read: Rugby Six Nations 2023

Hello everyone! I am Raja Roy and I am a mentor, blogger and social media influencer. I want to influence people with my words. I have been writing regularly for three years now. Apart from jotting down words, I love to read books, listen to music, do videography and click pictures.

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