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Rules of Rugby

27 Sep 2019


For the next four weeks the nation is going to be glued to their screens as Ireland, the number one team in the world, take on their opponents in the Rugby World Cup 2019.

We’ve outlined just some of the terms and rules that you’ll need to know while you're cheering on Ireland in RWC:

A RUCK: A ruck is formed when the ball is on the ground and one or more players from each team are on their feet and in physical contact, enclosing the ball between them.

THE MARK: To make a mark, a player must be on or behind that player’s 22 meter line. The player must make a clean catch direct from an opponent’s kick and at the same time shout “Mark”. A mark cannot be made from a kick-off or a restart kick except for a drop out kick.

KNOCK ON: A knock on occurs when a player loses possession and the ball travels forward. If the ball touches the ground or another player before the original player can catch it, it is deemed to be a knock on. Penalty: Scrum

BALL KICKED DEAD IN GOAL: If a team kicks the ball into their opponents’ touch -in-goal or over the dead ball line, except for penalty kicks at goal or a dropped goal, the defending team can choose to have a drop out or a scrum at the place where the ball was kicked from.

BALL DEAD IN GOAL: When a player carrying the ball touches the corner post, the touch-in-goal line, the dead ball line, or touches the goal beyond those lines, the ball becomes dead.

IN TOUCH: The ball is in touch when a ball carrier or ball touches the touchline or the ground beyond the touchline.

HIGH TACKLE: A player must not tackle (or try to tackle) an opponent above the line of the shoulders. Penalty: Penalty Kick

A MAUL: A maul consists of at least three players, all on their feet, the ball carrier and one player from each team. All players involved must be caught in or bound to the maul and must be on their feet and moving towards a goal line.

HOLDING ON: A tackled player must not lie on, over or near the ball to prevent opponents from gaining possession and must try to make the ball available immediately so that play can continue. Penalty: Penalty Kick

UNCONTESTED SCRUM: If after a front row player has been sent off or during the time, a front row player is temporarily suspended, and there are no further front row players available from the nominated team, then uncontested scrums will be ordered.

TIME REGULATIONS: If time expires and the ball is not dead, or an awarded scrum or line-out has not been completed, the referee allows play to continue until the next time the ball becomes dead. If time expires, and a mark, free kick or penalty kick is then awarded, the referee allows play to continue.

OFFSIDE: A player is offside in open play if that player is in front of a team-mate who is carrying the ball or who last played it. An offside player must not interfere with play which includes playing the ball, tackling the ball-carrier or preventing the opposition from playing as they wish.

KNOCK ON: A knock-on occurs when a player, in tackling or attempting to tackle an opponent, makes contact with the ball and the ball goes forward. Sanction: Scrum (if the ball goes into touch, the non-offending team may opt instead for a quick- throw or lineout.