Rugby questions thread

nek

Pelican
As an American, I'm really trying to learn the game of rugby. Seems fascinating and is quite popular on a world stage (moreso than our sports). So I wanted to open this thread so I could get some questions on the sport answered, helping myself and my fellow americans learn the game. With that being said, my first questions pertain to the ruck:

1) I've been watching a lot of matches and I notice that a lot of teams don't 'counter-ruck', they simply line up onside and wait for the ball to be played. Why is this?

2) If there is no counter-ruck, then where is this offside line? and

3) If a defender isn't in contact with a player from the tackled player's team, then a ruck isn't formed according to the rules, yet in the matches I've seen, the players on the defensive side still line up like there is a ruck. What am I missing?

Thanks a lot for any input. I didn't grow up with the game and have tried to understand it as best as I could before asking these questions.
 
I've played rugby for 30 years so i hope I can try and answer your questions.

Sadly I believe rugby nuances to be pretty much impossible to understand unless you have played the game. Also, it's one of those sports where I've never seen a person truly excel unless they learned to play as a child; it's very complicated.

1) Once the ball has been won in the ruck, it is very hard to counter sufficiently to win the ball at the breakdown. It is often better to use your defenders to fan out into the line to give superior defensive numbers. A lot of teams purposefully play this way, committing as few defenders as possible to the breakdown.

2) The offside line is created the moment a ruck or maul is formed from the tackle (2+1 players from either team in the case of a ruck). The offside line is always the back foot of the ruck or maul.

3) I don't exactly know what you mean; a ruck is formed at the breakdown when the ball hits the floor and there are 3 persons present. The ruck is then not over until the ball is played from the back, irrespective of what the defenders do; e.g. if they all get up and fan into the defensive line.
 

britchard

Pelican
1. Far easier to wait for the opponent to make a mistake or present an opportunity for stealing the ball than constantly rucking. Because the 'tackled' player is usually able to place the ball quickly on his team's side of the ruck, it's much easier for his team go get it.

2. As poster above said.

3. As said above, this question is quite confusing. The ruck doesn't finish until a player (often the scrum half) plays the ball out, so there doesn't necessarily need to be contact.
 

Pinocchio

Woodpecker
Also continuously rucking is very draining on your forwards, guys weighing that amount of weight can only hit so many rucks.
 

Sourcecode

Crow
Gold Member
Ive player on against rugby teams from high school and premier level in America.

Where are you located, rugby isn't big in America yet.. But it's possible that there is a team in your area.. If you search, you may find one.

What the above posters have said is correct though
No need to really take the that much farther in the subject of rules and nuance
 

nek

Pelican
CrashBangWallop said:
I've played rugby for 30 years so i hope I can try and answer your questions.

Sadly I believe rugby nuances to be pretty much impossible to understand unless you have played the game. Also, it's one of those sports where I've never seen a person truly excel unless they learned to play as a child; it's very complicated.

1) Once the ball has been won in the ruck, it is very hard to counter sufficiently to win the ball at the breakdown. It is often better to use your defenders to fan out into the line to give superior defensive numbers. A lot of teams purposefully play this way, committing as few defenders as possible to the breakdown.

2) The offside line is created the moment a ruck or maul is formed from the tackle (2+1 players from either team in the case of a ruck). The offside line is always the back foot of the ruck or maul.

3) I don't exactly know what you mean; a ruck is formed at the breakdown when the ball hits the floor and there are 3 persons present. The ruck is then not over until the ball is played from the back, irrespective of what the defenders do; e.g. if they all get up and fan into the defensive line.
For your answer to number 3, I thought there only had to be two players (opponents, on their feet, in physical contact over the ball). Who's the third?

Now, to clarify what I meant with the third question I posed, I've been watching a lot of games where after the tackle, the defensive team doesn't even contest, the only defender in the area is the tackler who is on the ground. So according to the IRB rule, a ruck hasn't formed yet it seems like the defense adheres to the standard offside lines of a ruck. I was confused as to why they did this if a ruck hasn't formed (I think it's rule 16.2 or something close to that which clarifies the what constitutes a ruck being formed). Your input is appreciated.
 

nek

Pelican
britchard said:
3. As said above, this question is quite confusing. The ruck doesn't finish until a player (often the scrum half) plays the ball out, so there doesn't necessarily need to be contact.
This confused me too. Why can the scrum half reach in and get the ball if it isn't out of the ruck?
 
There needs to be three people for a ruck to form and an offside line to be created. According to the rules...

Unfortunately often the rules being adhered to in internationals and pro rugby are not the actual rules...for instance, you will see loads of bridging and killing of the ball in the ruck that would probably get you penalised in a club game.

The rules are also interpreted differently in the different hemispheres; I remember once touring Argentina and we lost all out games because the interpretation of the ruck was so different there we were getting pinged or turned over at every breakdown.

Welcome to the mad world of rugby.
 

nek

Pelican
CrashBangWallop said:
There needs to be three people for a ruck to form and an offside line to be created. According to the rules...

Unfortunately often the rules being adhered to in internationals and pro rugby are not the actual rules...for instance, you will see loads of bridging and killing of the ball in the ruck that would probably get you penalised in a club game.

The rules are also interpreted differently in the different hemispheres; I remember once touring Argentina and we lost all out games because the interpretation of the ruck was so different there we were getting pinged or turned over at every breakdown.

Welcome to the mad world of rugby.
Why do the international and pro matches deviate so much?
 
nek said:
CrashBangWallop said:
There needs to be three people for a ruck to form and an offside line to be created. According to the rules...

Unfortunately often the rules being adhered to in internationals and pro rugby are not the actual rules...for instance, you will see loads of bridging and killing of the ball in the ruck that would probably get you penalised in a club game.

The rules are also interpreted differently in the different hemispheres; I remember once touring Argentina and we lost all out games because the interpretation of the ruck was so different there we were getting pinged or turned over at every breakdown.

Welcome to the mad world of rugby.
Why do the international and pro matches deviate so much?
Good question.

I'm not sure what the answer to that is really.

You will often here who the referee is being discussed before a big game too...rugby is the only sport I can think of where the top two officials in the world may interpret elements of the game in completely different ways and therefore effect how the teams approach elements of said match.
 

nek

Pelican
CrashBangWallop said:
nek said:
CrashBangWallop said:
There needs to be three people for a ruck to form and an offside line to be created. According to the rules...

Unfortunately often the rules being adhered to in internationals and pro rugby are not the actual rules...for instance, you will see loads of bridging and killing of the ball in the ruck that would probably get you penalised in a club game.

The rules are also interpreted differently in the different hemispheres; I remember once touring Argentina and we lost all out games because the interpretation of the ruck was so different there we were getting pinged or turned over at every breakdown.

Welcome to the mad world of rugby.
Why do the international and pro matches deviate so much?
Good question.

I'm not sure what the answer to that is really.

You will often here who the referee is being discussed before a big game too...rugby is the only sport I can think of where the top two officials in the world may interpret elements of the game in completely different ways and therefore effect how the teams approach elements of said match.
Thanks. Sorry if this has seemed like a tedious thread. I'm just determined to understand it and it is definitely quite confusing (there's a whole website, rugbyrefs.com, that seems dedicated to trying to figure this shit out).
 
nek said:
CrashBangWallop said:
nek said:
CrashBangWallop said:
There needs to be three people for a ruck to form and an offside line to be created. According to the rules...

Unfortunately often the rules being adhered to in internationals and pro rugby are not the actual rules...for instance, you will see loads of bridging and killing of the ball in the ruck that would probably get you penalised in a club game.

The rules are also interpreted differently in the different hemispheres; I remember once touring Argentina and we lost all out games because the interpretation of the ruck was so different there we were getting pinged or turned over at every breakdown.

Welcome to the mad world of rugby.
Why do the international and pro matches deviate so much?
Good question.

I'm not sure what the answer to that is really.

You will often here who the referee is being discussed before a big game too...rugby is the only sport I can think of where the top two officials in the world may interpret elements of the game in completely different ways and therefore effect how the teams approach elements of said match.
Thanks. Sorry if this has seemed like a tedious thread. I'm just determined to understand it and it is definitely quite confusing (there's a whole website, rugbyrefs.com, that seems dedicated to trying to figure this shit out).
Hey no problem; every season the rules on the breakdown seem to change and most of the amateur players, myself included, plus the referees don't really know what's going on for a few games.

It's part of rugby's charm.
 

nek

Pelican
Question:

Say a player was selected for the Barbarians and the British and Irish Lions, and they were scheduled to play each other, who would they play for? Also, say they were selected for one of these teams and they were slated to play against their nation's side, what's the etiquette for that?
 

britchard

Pelican
^Those situations rarely happen. The Lions have only played the Barbarians once in 1977. Hypothetically however, if a player was picked for both the Lions and Barbarians squads, they would most likely play for the Lions.

I'm not sure about the etiquette for representative teams playing against national teams.
 

Noir

Pelican
Gold Member
This is a good thread and CBW did a great job explaining. The only sport more complicated in my opinion is cricket.

Maybe we should get a rugby thread going, for the current Rugby Championship and upcoming WC.

Big game this weekend, Springboks - All Blacks.

Let's hope we don't start kicking like idiots again like we did against the Wallabies!

The changes look good- Heinrich Brussow amongst a few back, he always plays good vs the ABs but Vermuelen out is a great miss.
 
I think cricket has more rules and bizarre terminology, but they tend to be consistent, making cricket easier to understand if you take the time to watch enough.

My mum has been watching me and my brother play rugby for 30 years and still doesn't understand what is going on most of the time. My Mrs just stands there looking confused.


Vermuelen is probably the best no8 in the World right now...any team would miss him!

KR is more my kind of No8 but his form hasn't been quite as mesmeric this year.

I see the AB have selected another zero cap fly half. Their strength in depth is utterly frightening.

Can't see past them for the WC this year.
 

T and A Man

Pelican
Gold Member
The rules regarding a ruck are gave evolved from a long time ago.

The original proto rugby used to have a scrum form after ever tackle. The ball carrier would drop the ball on the spot he was tackled signalling the spot, similar to a down in American football.

This is obviously cumbersome so we have the rules now where the ruck is a quasi quick scrum.

The tackled player however is meant to release immediately and play no part in the ruck. The other element is the one player from each side, and the must be on their feet, come in contact of the ruck. These are the 'forward pack' of each side. It is also why no hands us a rule, originating from the scrum rules. Multiple players can join the ruck, so you don't have to await for all eight to bind, engage, etc. That's the dynamic element to it.

So understanding a narrative of the ruck, defenders don't always contest a ruck because it is less 'neutral' than a scrum with the tackled player being able to drop it behind them. Its just a contest you cant win, so don't waste energy.

However an offside line us formed from where the ball is placed, rushing out of the line even I no counter rucking just puts you in an offside position and unable to commit to a tackle until the next ruck.

The bit about different rules is the downside to having more nations play it. Soccer is the most inert, having to get many nations to all agree on a change. Canadian football only needs Canadians ro agree to change the rules for example.

Why national comps can differ is because of their respective markets. Australia is the most common case because they are they only country where Rugby League is mote popular than Rugby Union. The former is a hundred year old offshoot that shares quite a few features and obviously a direct competitor. RU in Australia often feels it has to adjust their game to this. Most other countries vote no to change, not seeing a reason to, and therefore the ARU will then go and change the rules for their domestic comp regardless, knowing they cant affect international change.
 

nek

Pelican
I'm going to try to find the video, but I saw one where the ball was put on the ground via dropped pass, and players from the team in possession got in front of the ball and created a wall of sorts. No tackle or anything. Would this be obstruction? There wasn't a ball carrier and the whole thing seemed to be treated like a ruck.
 
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