A for Athlete


Drop kick: A kick made when the player drops the ball and it bounces off the ground prior to being kicked. Worth three points if it travels through the goalposts. Drop kicks are also used to restart play after a score.

Forward pass: A violation that usually results in a scrum to the defending team.

Infringement: A violation of a law.

Knock on: The accidental hitting or dropping of the ball forward. The infringement is the same as that for a forward pass: a scrum to the other team.

Non-Contact Rugby: A Version of rugby designated to introduce the game to first time players (touch rugby). Two hand-tag replaces the tackle.

Penalties: Penalties occur regularly in rugby. Unlike other sports, there typically aren't yardage penalties and only occasionally do teams have to play short handed. Instead, the non-offending team is usually awarded a choice to kick the ball to gain field advantage. Some of the more important penalties are listed below:

Penalty Kick: Awarded after a serious infringement of the law. Offenders are required to retreat 10 yards while the opposing team is given the opportunity to restart play unopposed. Teams will often kick the ball up field and out of bounds to gain field advantage. When they do this, play is restarted as a lineout where the ball goes out of bounds. If in range, they may attempt a kick at the goal posts, worth three points. Finally, they may simply tap the ball with their foot and run with it.

Free Kick: This is awarded after a less serious infringement of the law. The free kick is similar to the penalty kick except a player cannot attempt a kick at goal to try to score three points. A player must restart with a tap kick or attempt to kick the ball out of bounds. If the kick is made from in front of the 22 meters (25 yards) line and goes directly out of bounds, the lineout occurs back where the kick was first kicked. If the ball bounces out of bounds, or if the kick was taken from behind the 22 meter (25 yards) line the resulting lineout is where the ball crossed the touch line.

Sin Bin: On occasion, the referee will send a player to the Sin Bin (behind one of the in goal areas) for a specified period of time, for serious and/or repeated infringements. The team is required to play short-handed until the referee permits the player to return. This penalty is fairly rare, but used by the referees to maintain control of the game.

Send-Offs: In extreme cases a referee may send a player off the field for dangerous or reckless play. A player who has been sent off is banned from that game and is not permitted to return or be replaced.

Put in: Rolling the ball down the center of the scrum tunnel by the Scrum Half.

Sevens: An abbreviated game of rugby that follows the same laws except a 7's team consists of only seven players and each half is seven minutes long. Much like a game of three-on-three full court basketball, it's a wide-open contest. Because of its wide-open style of play, the Seven's version of rugby is a very entertaining game to watch.

Set piece: A term for scrums and lineouts because these are the only choreographed plays of the game.

Support players: Players who position themselves to increase the ball transfer options of the ball carrier. Tap and play kick/ move: A gentle kick to oneself, followed by a pick up, used to restart play after either a penalty or free kick is awarded.

Throw in: Throwing the ball down the middle of a lineout.

Touchline: The side boundary of the field (sideline).

Try line: The end boundary of the field (goal line).

22-Meter line: Is a line 22 meters (25 yards) from the try line. If a kick is made from behind the "22", the opposing team gets a lineout where the ball went out of bounds. If the kick was made in front of the "22", the resulting lineout is from the point of the kick if the ball goes directly out of bounds.

TACKLES, RUCKS AND MAULS Players in possession of and carrying the ball may be stopped by being tackled by the opposing team. Players are tackled around the waist and legs and, in general, may not be tackled higher. Once a player is tackled, however, play does not stop. The player must release the ball and roll away from it to allow other players on their feet play the ball.

A player who is tackled to the ground must try to make the ball available immediately so that play can continue. Supporting players from both teams (one from each team) converge over the ball on the ground, binding with each other and attempt to push the opposing players backwards in a manner similar to a scrum. This situation is known as a ruck. The ball may not be picked up by any player, until the ball emerges out of the ruck. The ruck ends and play continues. A team that can retain possession after the tackle and the ensuing ruck has a huge advantage, because a ruck forms offside lines. These offside lines are the same as in the scrum and everyone must get back onsides in order to rejoin play. This opens up space into which the attacking team can move the ball forward.

A Maul is formed with a similar gathering of players, except the player in possession of the ball is not brought to the ground (not tackled) but it held up by an opponent and one his/her own players converge on him/her. This creates offside lines through the feet of the last players on each side. Players from each team must retreat behind these offside lines if they are to take part in any subsequent play. The maul ends when the ball emerges.