Basic Rugby Rules: Part 2

In Part 2 of 6 of basic rugby rules, let's learn about game length, rugby positions, starting play, and legal ways to move the rugby ball up the field.

rugby rules

For more rules of rugby, follow the links below: 

Part 1


Playing Area


Part 3


Part 4

Restarting Play

Part 5


Tackles, Rucks, & Mauls



Part 6

Modified Rugby Games 

Duration of Game

A rugby match consists of two 40-minute halves. Teams change ends at halftime.

Players & Positions

An official rugby game is played with 15 players on a team. Players are assigned numbers based on their rugby positions. Players are numbered in the following way:

#1-8 = Forwards

Forwards are typically larger, stronger players whose main job is to get possession of the ball.

#9-15 = Backs

Backs tend to be smaller, faster players whose main job is to advance the rugby ball up the field.

Starting Play

The game starts with a kick-off to the opponent from mid-field. As long as the kick-off travels beyond the 30-yard line, any player of either team may gain possession of the ball.

Rugby Rules
Moving the Ball

There are several ways to move the rugby ball. Any player may carry, pass, or kick it. 


When a player runs with the ball, he can keep running until he is tackled, steps out of bounds, or crosses the goal line.

rugby game


rugby rules

The ball may be passed to any player on the field, but it can only be passed to the side or backward; it can never be passed forward.


Any player can kick the rugby ball forward at any time.

Once it's kicked, players of either team can gain possession of the ball regardless of whether or not it hits the ground.

Play is not stopped and keeps going even if the ball hits the ground or a player is tackled. The ball carrier has to release the ball when tackled and roll out of the way so that other players on their feet can try to get it.

No blocking is allowed in rugby. Unlike football, rugby does not have downs, and a team is not required to move the ball 10 yards in order to keep possession of it.

Play is continuous like soccer, with the person in possession of the ball leading the attack.

Learn more about official youth rugby rules and competitions at USA Youth Rugby.

rugby games

See more basic rules of rugby... prev   pg  3   4   5   6

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