Rugby, or rugby football, as it is called, is an aggressive game descending from a common form of football, which was developed in the United Kingdom. In the UK, they call rugby a 'thug's game', because of the nature of the game which involves a lot of power play. With those intimidatingly strong rugby players, it is bound to seem that way. In the USA, it is very close to American football.
The Game: A rugby union game is referred to a match, and its duration is 80 minutes. It is divided into 2 sessions of 40 minutes each. Now, some time can be added on account of timeouts and injuries during the game. A single referee controls the play on the field, in addition to a couple of assistant referees. Professional matches have a video referee as well.
Scoring: A try or a goal, either of these can score for a team. A try happens when a player takes the ball across the goal line and then grounds the ball. Then, a proper goal is scored when a player kicks the ball between the uprights and above the crossbar of the goal posts.
Playing Area: The length of the pitch is supposed to be 100 meters or less between the two goal posts. Further, an in-goal area behind each post is a must, with the length of the in-goal area ranging between 10 and 22 meters. The H-shaped goal posts are stationed on the goal line. The pitch must be 70 meters wide. The 2 uprights have a distance of 5.6 meters between them, and the crossbar lining them is just 3 meters above the ground.
Game Play: One team with the possession tries to move the ball up-field and score a goal. In such a situation, the other team has to defend, or attack the opponents or take control of the ball. In rugby, which player stands where on the field matters a lot for the team's victory or defeat.
Ball Travel: The team having the ball advances it by kicking or passing the ball forward. But, in rugby union games, the ball cannot be passed forward.
Tackling: Tackling is the act of blocking and defending the offense by the team not in possession of the ball. A tackle consists of holding on to an opponent and bringing him to the ground. The rulebook says that a tackled player should release the ball, and if he does not do that, it is held as a foul.
Offside: To take a proper and active part in the game, a player must be behind the ball. A player who comes in such a position where he is between the ball carrier and the goal, is considered to be 'offside', and then might cease to play.
Line Out: If a ball gets into 'touch' it is got back into play. Here, many times, what is done is a line out. A line out refers to the lining up of teams with equal number of players, one meter apart. They then vie for the ball thrown towards them.
Restarts: If a game is obstructed on account of any reason, mostly the breaking of rules, it starts again with either a scum, a free kick, or a penalty kick. The free kick and penalty kick is totally upon the field referee to decide.
Goal Kick: A team which is attacking can score a goal by kicking the ball between the 2 goal posts above the cross bar. Now, in the course of the game, if a team wants to score a goal, the ball is hit from the ground. During a penalty kick, the ball is kept on a pile of sand.
Score a Try: A 'try' is what is cherished by the attackers of a team; fullbacks and the likes, on a rugby field. It is an act by an attacking player of a team to ground the ball in the goal area behind the goal line. This is worth 5 points.
Conversion: Once a team sores a try, that team is given a chance to have a go at the goal in the form of a free kick. This is termed as conversion in golfing jargon. It is taken from the spot exactly where the ball touched the ground for a try.
Though the game seems to be nearly the same, player positions in rugby are very different from American football.