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Rugby World Cup: the 10 rules to know to be unbeatable

The basic principle of rugby is simple: move forward by passing backwards.

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Rugby World Cup: the 10 rules to know to be unbeatable

The basic principle of rugby is simple: move forward by passing backwards. This is the subtlety of this sport. If a player commits a pass to one of his teammates in front of him, or he drops the ball in front of him, then the referee orders a scrum for the opposing team.

There are four ways to score points in rugby. A try is worth 5 points and 2 more points are added if this try is converted. In addition, a penalty makes it possible to glean three points, just like the drop (read below) which brings back the same number of points.

This is one of the characteristic phases of play in rugby, it occurs after a forward. The eight forwards of each team are organized as follows: the props link up with their hooker, then the second lines hang behind them, the third lines (or flankers) go to the sides of the scrum and the third row is placed behind the second rows. It is the scrum half who introduces the ball into the scrum, the hooker “heels” the ball backwards. Number 8 can decide to grab the ball and challenge the opposing defense. Otherwise, number 9 takes the ball, attempts a breakaway or gives the ball to his fly-half.

When the ball goes out of bounds, both teams line up perpendicular to where the ball went out to take a throw-in. The throwing team decides the number of players in the lineup. It is usually the hooker who does the throwing (previously it was often the scrum-half). When a team obtains a penalty, it can decide to hit in touch, it then keeps throwing the ball, this is called a "penal touch".

When the referee whistles a penalty, several choices are offered to the team which obtains it. Either let his scorer try to pass the ball between the posts, this earns three points if it is successful. Either the team can decide to type in key and obtain a “penaltouch”. Either she can decide to take a scrum where she will have the introduction of the ball.

It is an emblematic gesture of rugby. This is a kick where the ball is kicked after touching the ground. The scorer drops the ball (hence the name drop). It scores three points. The drop is also used to kick off and return from in-goal. Having fallen into disuse, it is once again becoming a lethal weapon in cleaver matches. The Englishman Jonny Wilkinson was a specialist in this gesture, he had offered the world title to the XV de la Rose in 2003 against Australia by succeeding in a drop in overtime. The Springbok Jannie De Beer had set a record: he had passed five in the quarter-final of the 1999 World Cup won against England (44-21).

Also called "carried ball", it is a spontaneous grouping of standing players. It is a phase of the game during which the players organize themselves together to gain ground. The team with the ball is trying to advance while the defending team is trying to limit the opponent's advance. A maul begins when three players link up. When a maul does not progress, the referee returns the ball to the opposing team. If the defending team collapses a maul, they will receive a penalty.

It is the most important clash area in modern rugby, also known as the 'spontaneous scrum'. When a player goes to ground, both teams fight to keep or recover the ball. For this battle, players must stay on their feet and not fall. When a player is on the ground, his teammates must secure the position because, in front, the opponents want to try to recover the ball: either by scratching it (by ripping it out of the player's hands) or by collectively stepping over the ball carrier who went to the ground.

Also read: Dan Carter: “Antoine Dupont is a machine and a world-class player”

This is a recent rule, which appeared in 2021: the so-called "50/22" rule. When a team hits indirectly into touch, from its camp (its own 50 meters), in the opponent's 22 meters, it now recovers the benefit of the throw into touch, whereas previously the ball returned to the defending team. The line referees must be vigilant to monitor if this rule is applied. The purpose of this rule? Make defense lines less compact. The third curtain is indeed more exposed and players must therefore watch the back of the field more carefully.

It is a very recent technological innovation, it will be used for the first time during this World Cup, after having been tested during the U20 World Cup, the Rugby Championship and the preparatory tests this summer. Now the field referees remain the main decision makers on the pitch, but if they are in doubt as to whether a disputed action merits a yellow or red card, they can now appeal to a Foul Play Review Officer (FPRO) , located in what is called “the bunker” (in an isolated place). This FPRO has eight minutes to decide whether or not the yellow card deserves to be turned into a red. This new arbitration system makes it possible to avoid long minutes of waiting on the pitch and controversies with the public who previously saw the images of the disputed action broadcast on the big screens of the stadium.

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