New to Rugby?

Rugby is a thrilling game to watch, but it can be a bit daunting for new fans! Here we've broken down the main rules of the game to hopefully make your first match easier to follow. 

The Basics

A rugby match is played between two teams of 15 players each, with the objective of scoring points by carrying or kicking the ball across the opposing team's goal line and touching it down for a try. Players have a set position and role, which you can see to the right. 

The game is played with an oval-shaped ball that can be kicked, carried or passed, and players must pass the ball backward or sideways, never forward!

The game is divided into two halves of 40 minutes each, and teams switch sides after the first half. The team with the most points at the end of the match wins. Rugby requires a combination of physical strength, skill, and strategic thinking, making it a challenging and exciting sport to watch and play. 

Scroll down the page to learn more about the game of rugby. 

The Language

We'll admit it. Talking about rugby can sound like its own unique language at times. Don't worry though, you don't need to know all of the language to enjoy a good rugby game! And in time, you'll begin to learn them simply by watching the game. 

To help you, however, we've put together a short glossary of the words you might hear while watching a match at Dexcom Stadium or on television, along with a short explanation of what they mean. Most of the unique words used in rugby pertain to a situation unfolding on the pitch.

The most common terms are 'scrum', 'ruck', 'lineout' and 'maul' which all refer to certain scenarios that take place during a match. Read more to the left!

The Person in the Middle

One of the key roles on a rugby pitch, especially when it comes to player safety and discipline, is that of the match referee. Professional rugby is a complex and very physical sport, so the referee is often accompanied by a whole team of assistants, including linesmen and a television match official, who watches it all on the big screen to make sure nothing is missed.

These referees are all linked via radio, and at certain points, they can pause the play to review incidents on the big screens. This is often referred to as checking with the 'TMO'. 

Referees can be any gender, and key to the culture of rugby is absolute respect for the referee. It is highly unusual, and indeed frowned upon, for the referee to be questioned or argued with by the players. 

Referees also have their own special signals to tell you what is happening. You can learn about them to the right. 

Buy a Match Ticket

Experience every second