Rugby Glossary – A Dictionary of Rugby Terms

Red Card – a player can receive one of these from the referee, sending him off for the remainder of the game, for persistent breaching of the rules or for serious foul/dangerous play.

Ruck – typically after a runner has come into contact and the ball has been delivered to the ground once any combination of at least three players have bound themselves a ruck has been set. The primary difference from a maul is that the ball is on the ground.

RWC – short for Rugby World Cup. Tournaments played every four years.

Rugger – colloquial name for the game.

Rugger Bugger– a dated term used to describe a person who played rugby

Scrum – the formation used in the set play re-starting play after a knock-on or forward pass. The forwards from each side bind together and then the two packs come together to allow the scrumhalf with the feed to deliver the ball to the scrum. A scrum can also be awarded or chosen in different circumstances by the referee.

Scrum down – the coming together of the scrum.

Scrum-half – the back wearing No.9 who normally feeds the ball into a scrum and retrieves the ball at the base of scrums, rucks, and mauls. Can also be called the half-back.

Scrummaging – the process of setting and completing a scrum

Sevens – a form of rugby union invented in Scotland and played with only seven total players, usually three forwards and four backs. Each half typically last only seven minutes but can be longer. The lack of numbers usually results in a free-flowing game.

Sin Bin – the naughty corner where all players who have been yellow carded sit all alone for 10 minutes.

Six Nations – the annual tournament from January through March between the national men’s teams of EnglandWalesScotlandIrelandFrance and Italy

Springboks – the national team of South Africa

Super 14 – the annual tournament between the best provincial teams of AustraliaNew Zealand, and South Africa.

Take – a well executed catch of a kicked ball.

Tap Tackle – see Ankle Tap.

Tap Penalty – a quickly taken penalty where a player taps the ball a couple of inches with his foot and immediately catches it and surges forward, done to catch the opposition unawares.

Tens – a form of rugby union played with only ten total players. Each half typically last only 10 minutes but can be longer. Games are almost always played during tournaments.

Test – the name typically used for matches between two national teams. The match can also be called an international.

Tight Five – a common name for all of the front (props and hooker) and second row (locks) forwards. Also known as Front Five

Touch, touchline – the out of bounds line that runs on either side of the pitch. The non-contact version of rugby is also commonly called touch.

Touch judge – an official posted on each side of the pitch to mark the spot where balls go out of touch and to judge kicks at goal. The touch judge is also instrumental in pointing out any serious violence infractions not seen by the referee and in major matches is in radio contact with him.

Tri-Nations – the annual competition between the national men’s teams of AustraliaNew Zealand, and South Africa.

Try – a score of five points awarded when the ball is carried or kicked across the tryline and touched down to the ground by a player.

Try line – the goal line extending across the pitch.

Tunnel – the gap between the front rows in a scrum or the gap between the two lines of forwards in a lineout.

Turnover– when one side takes possession of the ball from their opponents.

22 Metre Drop Out – see Drop Out.

Union – another name for the most popular form of rugby featuring 15, 10, or 7 players per side. The local, provincial, or national organizing body for rugby competition is also often called a union.

Up and Under – a tactical kick which is popped very high but not far, allowing the kicker and supporting players to easily run underneath it for recovery. The kick is intended to put heavy pressure on any opposition player attempting to catch the ball. Also called a Garryowen.

Wallabies – the national team of Australia.

Weakside – see Blindside.

Webb Ellis Trophy – the trophy awarded to the winners of the Rugby World Cup, named after William Web Ellis.

Yellow card – a player who receives a yellow card from the referee has to leave the pitch for ten minutes at sit in the Sin Bin. This is usually given for dangerous, persistent or cynical breaches of the rules. If the offence is more serious then he can be red carded.

XV – a common identifier for the first fifteen selected players of a club or team. A team can also use XV in their name, pronounced as fifteen.

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