Skip to main content

Rugby 101: Rules


Rugby 101: Rules

The rules of rugby at the 2016 Rio Olympics. 

A rugby ball is oval and 28-30 inches long. It's mass (14.5-16.2 ounces) is similar to that of an NFL ball (14-15 oz.). 

Players are allowed (but not required) to wear ankle and shin guards, gloves, helmets, mouth guards and shoulder pads. Women are also allowed to wear chest pads. 

Match Duration
Matches are 14 minutes with seven-minute halves, plus a two minute break.

The gold-medal match is 20 minutes with 10-minute halves, plus a three minute break. 

If a match in the knockout round is tied at the end of regulation, there will be a sudden-death overtime. After a two-minute break, the two teams will play in a five-minute extra time period. If neither team scores, they will switch ends and play a second five-minute extra time period. Switching ends and advancing to another five-minute extra time period continues until the first team scores.

The pitch is 100m long and 70m wide (110 yards x 77 yards). That is nearly 25 yards wider than an American football field.

In addition to the seven players on the pitch, teams are allowed to have five substitutes. 

Try: 5 points
Conversion: 2 points
Penalty: 3 points
Drop goal: 3 points

Rugby 101

Learn more about rugby:

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

More from {{firstLevel.more_from}}




See More Coverage

More from {{secondLevel.more_from}}



More from Olympics