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How to Play Rugby

How to Score in Rugby

The objective in rugby is for a team to score as many points against the opposing team as possible during the 80 minutes of play. Since football is related to rugby, if you understand how points are awarded in football, you won't have any trouble understanding the scoring system in a rugby match:

Try - In a try, players receive five points for touching the ball to the ground between the opposing team's try line and dead ball line. It's like a touchdown in football and the fastest way to accumulate points in the game.

Conversion - Like the extra point after a touchdown, a conversion is a kick through the opposing team's uprights above the crossbar after a try. The place kick or drop kick is taken at a location in line with the spot where the ball touched the ground during the try. It's worth two points.

Penalty try - If a defending team prevents an attacking team from scoring a try through unsportsmanlike or underhanded means, the referee can award a penalty try worth five points to compensate the attacking team for the loss. Because no ball touches the ground to determine placement, a penalty try conversion is taken from a position directly under the uprights.

Penalty kick - Certain penalties provide the not-responsible team with an opportunity to make an unopposed kick through the penalty team's uprights for three points.

Drop kicking goals - Like the penalty kick above, a drop goal kick is worth three points. It can be attempted during normal play. The ball has to hit the ground and bounce up before it can be kicked between the opposing team's uprights. Of all the scoring maneuvers in rugby, drop kicking a goal is the least common because it requires great skill and flawless timing.

After a team scores during a rugby match, the non-scoring team kicks to the scoring team to restart play. During regular play, games can end in a tie, but in tournament play, tied games typically extend into sudden-death overtime to determine a winner.

It's easy to see the similarities between football and rugby. Both are exciting contact sports with a lot to offer spectators and casual players. Memorize the new vocabulary, and you have another entertaining sport to watch -- or play -- on the weekend.