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Rugby 101: Glossary

Rugby
USA TODAY Sports

Rugby 101: Glossary

Learn the language of rugby. 

All Blacks
The nickname for the national team of New Zealand. 

Center
Position in Sevens. Requires speed to make plays both on the attack and on defense. 

Conversion
After a team scores a try, they have the opportunity to drop kick the ball from any spot perpendicular to where the ball was touched down. If the kick goes through the uprights, it is worth two points.

Drop Goal
Players are allowed to try for a drop goal at any point when the posts are within range. If the kick is successful, it is worth three points. 

Drop Kick
A player "drops" the ball and then kicks it after it bounces on the ground. A drop kick is used to start and restart a game, as well as for conversions and penalties. 

Eagles
The nickname for the national team of the United States of America. 

Fly Half
Position in Sevens. The player who orchestrates the team's attack. Often has to make split-second decisions about whether to kick, pass or run. 

Hooker
Position in Sevens. One of three forwards in the front row of a scrum, along with the loose-head prop and tight-head prop.

Knock On
If a player loses possession of the ball and it moves forward, the referee calls a "knock on" and a scrum is awarded at the place of infringement. 

Maul
A maul occurs when the ball carrier is held by one or more defenders, and one or more teammates of the ball carrier grab on as well to provide resistance. 

Ruck
A ruck occurs when the ball is on the ground, and one or more players from both teams are standing above it. Players are only allowed to use their feet, not their hands, to move the ball in the ruck. 

Penalty
After a team commits a serious foul, the other team has the option to "kick for goal." If the kick is successful, it is worth three points.

Pitch
The name for the playing field in rugby. It is 100m long and 70m wide.  

Scrum
A scrum is used to restart play after a stoppage. Three players from each side lock together and use their feet to attempt to send the ball back towards a teammate. 

Scrum Half
Position in Sevens. The link between the forwards and the backs. 

Sin Bin
Where a player is sent for two minutes after receiving a yellow card.

Tackle
Only the ball carrier is allowed to be tackled by an opposing player. Once the tackle is made, the ball carrier must release the ball and the tackler must release the ball carrier. 

Try
When a player runs the ball over the goal line and touches it to the ground. Worth five points. 

Wing
Position in Sevens. Usually one of team's fastest players. 

World Rugby
The international federation of rugby. Previously known as the International Rugby Board. 

Rugby 101

Learn more about rugby:

Basics | Competition format | Glossary | Olympic history | Qualification | Rules | Venue

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