The Rugby pitch (that’s another word for a field) is 100 meters long from try line to try line. The sidelines are called “touch lines” and you will hear quite a bit through the match if a ball goes past that line, the ball will go “into touch.” So thats where it comes from. Every line on the pitch is designated with flags on each side.
There are two 22-meter lines, where the kick at the beginning of each half takes place, as well as a 10-meter line on each side of the line at midfield.
There is also a five-meter line, which is used for penalties, where a five-meter scrum would take place.
The goalposts are on the try line, which is the near side of the goal area.
The goalposts are three meters from the ground to the crossbar and 3.4 or more from the crossbar to the top of the posts. The goalposts stand 5.6 meters away from one another.
Seriously, the Heineken Cup is an absolutely spectacular tournament. Never would I have imagined how fluid the flow of play on the club level is. Before the Rugby World Cup, I had not watched many games below the International level, (all we really are exposed to here in the states) and it seems to me that the play us much better at the club level. This is not at all to say that the International game isn’t as good, it is just not as fluid, unless of course one team is annihilating the other.
I watched Gloucester play Ospreys last week, and I was absolutely floored by the intensity and passion for the game. Why you ask? Well, I have been a soccer fan for my entire life, and I don’t see passion like that on a regular basis in Champions League. Really, the only level that the passion really comes out is during major tournaments, or during friendlies between nations that hate each other. It wasn’t even taunting or anything like that that you see in soccer, it was just a bunch of rugby players being really fired up for the game.
Okay, maybe a little taunting…..but still, isn’t this a hooligan’s game played by gentlemen?
By the way, Gloucester beat Ospreys 26-18.
And oh yeah, I also got to check out the Worcester-Sale Guinness Premiership game. Let me start off by saying Worcester is a sad, sad team. It is a bit of a shame. They have some pretty sweet kits.
Here, look for yourself:
I really dont like Sale’s kits on the other hand, even though they have “L’homme des Cavernes” on their squad:
So, Worcester definitely wins the kit battle, but they lost the game miserably. In their defense, they have gone down in some pretty close games, but they really need to be much, much better to have a shot at staying up. I know it is still early, but to be 19 points behind the leaders this far in is not going to bode well for you.
And since we are talking about Relegation, lets take a quick note on Promotion.
Northampton is TEARING National Division One up. They are up on Doncaster by 11 points and it is looking quite good for the newly-relegated side to get back up to the top.
I have learned that if you really, really like this sport, your best bet is to go out of your way to watch it. When the World Cup was going on, they did play some games on tape-delay on Versus, which was awesome because it means that the next World Cup may get some face time on a bigger network, or at least live.
But I wouldn’t be satisfied with only being able to watch a couple of the USA Eagles matches, and I believe only one of the France matches. So I went the expensive route. I bought Setanta Sports Broadband. Granted, it did cost me $150 to watch the entire World Cup on my laptop, but what was awesome about it is that it was for an entire year. So I do get to see some English Premiership Footie matches, GAA (Gaelic Sport) and of course, RUGBY. They play a lot of international football matches on there too and they will be giving me the Six Nations early next year. It’s really not bad that it costs this much, as it is worth it.
Only thing that blows is that we shouldn’t have to pay for it in the USA. It’s pathetic that we can’t get rugby here without buying Setanta on Dish Network or DirecTV.
If you do buy it online, do note the warning they give you. You can’t give out your password because then if your buddies are watching it on their screen, you can’t see it on yours. And, probably more importantly, once the year is up on your contract, they will automatically recharge you for another year if you don’t say “NO!” So be mindful.
You can also go to Media Zone and buy specific games to watch.
For those who enjoy “Free Viewing” like P2P servers, it is rather hard, if not nearly impossible to get rugby on P2P. I honestly don’t know why, but maybe ruggers don’t like breaking international laws on copyright……..which I find hard to believe. (I’m kidding, we are still better than soccer players.)
Of course, if there are any other ways of doing it, I am all ears. Let me know and I will put it in here.
Rugby has 15 positions, which means 30 players on the pitch at one time. This may seem like a lot, but the flow of play in rugby can still be, and usually is quite quick. Rugby positions are split into two categories, Forwards and Backs. The Forwards are the bigger, slower players that make up the scrum, and they do most of the hitting. The Backs are the faster, more athletic players. They do more of the scoring, kicking and passing. It is not unlike American Football in that sense. The forwards are the linemen and the backs are the Quarterback, Wide Receivers and Running Backs. One thing this sport has on American Football is that everyone can touch the ball, and Rugby is better.
Each position has a number from 1-15
1, 3 Loosehead and Tighthead Props. They are at the front row of the scrum on the right and left sides, and they engage with the other team whilst holding the Hooker up.
2 Hooker. Placed in between the Props, they litterally “hook” the ball toward the back of the scrum, so the Scrum Half can get it. This completes the front row.
4, 5 Second Row/Locks. These players litterally “lock” the scrum together. They are usually the tallest players on the team and they do a large part in pushing the scrum. They bind together and put their heads at each side of the Hooker. (I play lock, it’s pretty sweet.)
6,7 Flankers. These two are on the outsides of the Locks. They bind in by grabbing onto the Locks and “sit” next to where the Number 8 is. They usually get first dibs on destroying the other team’s scrum half, so that is always amusing….when they are your Flankers at least.
8 Number 8. Not a complicated name. They close up the back of the scrum. The ball ideally will travel to their legs, where the Scrum Half will grab it.
9 Scrum Half. The Scrum Half is behind the Number 8. He is more or less the “Quarterback.” The Scrum Half will pick the ball up from scrums or rucks and either run with it or pass it to the Fly Half, or others behind him.
10 Fly Half. The Fly Half will either Kick the ball or decide to pass it down the line of backs if need be. He is a crucial part to deciding how the play will go along. They are right behind the Scrum Half.
11, 14 Wings. The Left and Right Wing are not immediately behind the Fly Half, but rather on the edge of each side of the pitch. They will stop any play on the wings from developing, or they will chase on the wings if a ball is kicked.
12,13 Centres. The Inside and Outside Centres descend from where the Fly Half is. They receive the ball when it is passed down the line, and they are litterally the center of defense. The Centres are utility positions, as they need to be well rounded in the game of Rugby.
15 Fullback. This is the last line of defense. The Fullback will prevent all attacks if they can, before the other team can get into the try zone, and they also will clear the ball out. They also will catch deep kicks.
I have created a podcast that covers such topics as the USA Rugby search for a new coach, USA Rugby review of recent play, and the possibilities for the future.
The Guinness Premiership is one of the best Rugby Union top flights in the world. The Prem is the top flight of English Rugby and has some of the best players in the world playing in it.
Some of the top players are as follows:
Sebastien Chabal (France)- Sale Sharks
Jonny Wilkinson (England)- Newcastle Falcons
Lawrence Dallaglio (England)-London Wasps
Martin Castrogiovanni (Italy)-Leicester Tigers
De Wet Barry (South Africa)-Harlequins
Marco Bortolami (Italy)-Gloucester
Gareth Llewellyn (Wales)-Bristol
Eliota Fuimaono (Samoa)-Bath
With six games played in the Guinness Premiership this season, it is still a tightly contested race, with Gloucester holding a slim lead over Bath 23 points to 22. Saracens and Harlequins are trying to nip at their heels, tied for third at 19 points.
Worcester and Leeds are trying desperately to get back into it and avoid relegation. Worcester has four points and Leeds have five.
Here are the tables:
Bath 22 pts
Leicester Tigers 17pts
Sale Sharks 14pts
Newcastle Falcons 14pts
London Irish 10pts
London Wasps 8pts
Leeds Carnegie 5pts
According to Guinness Premiership’s website, “In all Guinness Premiership matches, four points are awarded for a win and two points are awarded for a draw. One bonus point is awarded to a team scoring four or more tries and one bonus point is awarded to a team losing a match by seven points or less.”
Not many people on this side of the pond know much about the game of Rugby, so I will put up a series of explanations of the game so that one can better understand how the game works.
The first installment is the scoring aspect of the game.
There are three ways to score points in Rugby. First off is the Try.
Tries are the main scoring option in rugby, and they are worth 5 points. In order to score a try, you have to have the ball cross the goal line and physically put the ball down to the ground. You cannot spike it, drop it or bring it down and lose it. There has to be complete possession from a player to be called a success by the official.
Once a player scores a try, the team has to kick a conversion, which is much like an American Football field goal. The only difference is that it is uncontested and the designated kicking person has to kick it from the distance to the left or right of the goalposts that they scored. For example, if the player scored right under the goalposts, they can kick a straight ball to the posts directly in front of them. If they are to the left or right of the posts when they score the try, they can kick it anywhere back of the spot that they scored from. This is worth two points. The ball is also placed on a tee when kicked.
Penalty Goal: Also called a penalty kick, it is worth three points and can be scored from the spot of the penalty. The kick is from a tee and is very similar to the conversion kick.
Drop Goal: The drop goal is the most complicated, and subsequently, most impressive way of scoring. It also involves a kick, but it is during live play. The player quickly drops the ball to the ground, and as it hits the ground, it is kicked between the posts. This is worth three points.
Next Rules Explanation: The positions on the pitch.
South Africa has overtaken the defenders of the Webb Ellis Trophy, the English, by a score of 15-6. This is much to the joy of many fans around the world, as many were confused to how England even got this far. They had scares throughout the group stage, including having quite the problem with still-minnow United States, but to their credit, they were able to overcome adversity to get to the final, only to be beaten by the South Africans for the second time this tournament. The first score was a lopsided 36-0.
South Africa is the only unbeaten in the World Cup this year. They overpowered everyone they played and looked like a sure favorite from game one, when they ran all over Samoa 59-7.
Here’s to the champions of the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France.
South Africa Springboks!
This is a video of South African Fans singing their national anthem on the day of the final:
England 14-9 France
Jonny Wilkinson is the savior for the English Rugby Union again.
After France looked to be closing in on another victory, England stopped the French at the one-meter line and proceeded to stop them again in a five-meter scrum and Wilkinson was able to score a conversion off of a French penalty, as well as a drop goal to win it.
England was able to stop two more late drives by the French, one of them in extra time to win it for England.
Lewsey scored an early try in the second minute after latching onto a loose ball in the French try zone.
Lionel Beauxis scored three penalty coversions for Les Bleus, but it would prove to not be enough.
Sebastian Chabal, who was subbed in later in the match and was, for all intents and purposes, a non-factor, may be penalized by the IRB for an alleged thrown elbow while being tackled into touch late in the match.
England plays the winner of South Africa-Argentina Saturday the 20th of October.
The French will play the loser of the other semifinal on Friday.
France 20-18 New Zealand
The “best team in the world” has been shut down by the World Cup hosts while playing away from home in Cardiff, Wales. One of the most impressive defensive stands in the history of Rugby trumps the All Blacks. (Who were actually wearing their “All Silver” kits during the match.)
French Celebration after the match:
New Zealand were led through the first half by Luke McAlister’s try and a pair of penalties by Dan Carter, but Thierry Dusautoir took advantage of McAlister’s second half sin bin appearance to even it up at 13-13. Late in the game, Yannick Jauzion capped off a spectacular team effort and canceled out Rodney So’oialo’s second half effort. Jean-Baptiste Elissalde’s conversion from Jauzion’s try put the French up before what seemed like the longest (and most intense) defensive display since South Africa defeated France by stopping them within inches of the try zone in the 1995 semifinals.
England 12-10 Australia
After the sub-par play that the English have had during this tournament, they put it all out on the line against the Aussies, and boy, did it come through for them. Jonny Wilkinson’s four Penalty kicks outshine Lote Tuqiri’s try and Stirling Mortlock’s efforts.
Both the Aussies and Kiwis severely hurt the notion that the Southern Hemisphere squads were the best in the tournament and rugby world domination was turning back toward the south. Unless South Africa wins this tournament, it looks like the complete opposite is happening.
England fans go nuts in a bar after the triumphant victory: