Rugby Essay, Research Paper
On a windy fall evening. The stadium is filled to its capacity. The players take the field as
their crowd yells in anticipation of the big game. The ball is placed for the kicker.
Suddenly the ball is kicked and even through the crowd’s enormous howl, the ball is still
heard by the everyone as it is kicked into the air. The ball is caught by one of the players.
He takes the ball up the field; as he runs, his hardest he dodges supermen throwing their
bodies at the ball carrier. As he runs, he sees the endzone in front of him; the crowd yells
in excitement for the man who is fearlessly dodging the enemy. He breaks one tackle and
then another, and is about to break free and just as he thinks he has avoided all that there
is; he is abruptly side-blinded by the man that was not seen in the corner of his eye. If an
American sportsfan were to read this, then he or she would come to the conclusion that
this is the game of American football. If asked in the British Common Wealth countries
then the response would be different. For I did not describe the kick off of a American
football game but the British game of Rugby. Heart, dedication, perseverance, respect,
hard work, rewards and toughness are some of the words that would describe the two
games that are very similar but at the same time worlds different.
Rugby was said to have originated when a boy in Rugby, England, picked up and
carried the ball during a game of soccer in 1923. Previously, the rules had only allowed
the ball to be kicked. The modern game of rugby dates from the 1860s when it was
adopted and modified by other English schools and universities. In 1871 the English
Rugby Union was formed to standardize the rules. The game is played with an oval ball,
blunter in shape that the American football so that it may easily be bounced and
Rugby today is now played in more than 100 countries, including Australia, New
Zealand, Japan, England, France, Italy, Fiji and South Africa. The sports governing
body is the International Rugby Football Board(IRFB). Since 1995 Rugby in the United
States has became more serious. Now the IRFB has pass a resolution that US players can
be paid for the sport that they love.
A rugby team consists of 15 players, divided into 8 forwards and 7 backs. No
substitutions of players are permitted, which seems to say that a rugby player would need
to be in top physical shape to perform on the field. Only when a injury occurs can there be
any substitutions and the injured player may not return to play. The game usually lasts for
80 minutes and is divided into two 40 minute halves with no time-outs.
The rugby field is 109 yards in length and 75 yards in width, and is divided
transversely by two lines that are 24 yards from each goal and a halfway line. The
uprights of the goal are 6 yards apart. They are connected by a horizontal crossbar 3
yards above the ground.
The game begins with a place kick and then by a scrummage or the nick-name
called scrum. The scrum is when the forwards of each team pack together with their arms
across one another’s shoulders and their heads down. Locked together, the forwards
push against the opposing forwards, while attempting to hook the ball backward with
their feet to one of the backs, called the scrum half. Having the ball, the scrum half can
do many things to advance the ball. He can run the ball downfield, pass the ball
downfield, or immediately passing the ball to teammates. If the scrum half passes the ball
, the teammates will attempt to advance the ball forward and across the opponents’ goal
line. Once the ball is over the line the ball must be touched to the ground to what is called
score a try, which is worth 5 points. After scoring a try, a team can attempt a conversion
like in American football. In rugby the conversion kick is taken from anywhere on a line
perpendicular to the goal line were the ball touched down. If the ball is kicked over the
crossbar and between the uprights, team gets 2 more additional points.
No player on the team with possession of the ball is permitted to move downfield
ahead of the ball, and any obstruction of a player not carrying the ball is a foul. There can
be no running, interference or blocking like American football. When a ball carrier is
downed, that player releases the ball, and the game continues. The game, even though it
sounds confusing has only two major rules. The first one is that a player may not pass the
ball forward. The second one is that a player may not touch the ball while it is in play if it
was touched behind scrummage.
American football was developed in the United States in the 19th century. Its
four-fathers being soccer and rugby. Football is played by professionals and amateurs,
football is one of the most popular American sports, attracting thousands of participants
and millions of spectators annually.
A type of football may have been played by the ancient Greeks. They called it
harpaston. In this game there was no limit to how many players that could play. The
object was to move a ball across the goal line by kicking it, throwing it, or running it.
Classic literature contains detailed accounts of the game, including its rougher elements
like tackling. Most modern versions of football originated from England in the 12th
century. The game became so popular that kings like Edward II and Henry VI, banned
the game because it took interest away from the military sport of archery. Later the game
split into two other games, soccer and rugby. From these two sports came the great
game of American football.
The football field is rectangular in shape, measuring 120 yards long and 53 yards
wide. At both ends of the 100 yard main body of the playing field, white lines called goal
lines mark off the entrances to the endzones. Each team defends one endzone. A team
must carry, pass or kick the ball into the opponents 10 yard endzone to score. A set of
lines called the sidelines, runs along both sides of the field. In addition, two rows of
lines, called hash marks, run parallel to the sidelines. The hash marks are 53ft from each
sideline in college and high school football. In professional football they are 70ft from the
sidelines. Each play must begin on the hash marks. Before every play the officials place a
new ball on the on the hash mark or between the hash marks closest to the previous play.
At the rear of the line of each endzone are goalposts that are 10ft vertical pole topped by a
horizontal crossbar were two vertical uprights extend. In college and professional
football, the posts are 18ft 6in apart.
The football is also different than the rugby ball. The football is a inflated rubber
bladder encased in a leather or rubber cover. It is an extended spheroid that has a
circumference of 28.5 in around the long axis and 21.25in around the short axis. It weighs
between 14 and 15oz.
The playing time of a football game is divided into four quarters. Each quarter is
15 min. and in high school it is 12 min. The first two quarters make up the first half; the
second two quarters make up the second half. between the halves there is a rest period of
15 min. called half-time.
Each team has 11 players. Each team tries to move the ball down the field to score
in the endzone. During the game their is always a offensive team and a defensive team.
Players involved in the kicking game are called special teams. There are several groups of
special teams. They include the kickoff team, kickoff return, punt team, punt return and
field goal or extra point team.
The offensive teams are divided into 7 groups, who play on the line of scrimmage.
and a backfield of 4 players, called backs. The backs stand in various positions behind the
lineman who block out schemes so the running backs can run to advance the ball. The
offensive team can place receivers on the field instead of backs to catch the ball if thrown.
A team can have both backs and receivers aslong as their is only 11 players on the field.
There are many positions with each one having a specific duty on every particular play.
The most famous position is the quarter back, who is the commander of the offense. He
controls the were the ball ends up. The ball is snapped to the quarterback from the center,
who is the middle of the offensive line. The center has two guards who play on both sides
of him and the guards each have a tackle who play next to them. On some formations and
plays there is sometimes a tightend who plays next to the tackle. The tightend is a
offensive lineman who is eligible to go down the field for a pass. No other offensive
lineman can go down field for a pass.
The defensive team consist of a row of linemen, a row of linebackers, and a
collection of defensive backs, known as the secondary. The defensive lineman are
responsible for stopping the rushing attack (when the offense tries to run the ball) and in
passing situations, putting pressure on the quarterback. The linebackers line up behind
the defensive line. Depending on the situation the are to stop runners, pressure the
quarterback, or cover the opposition’s receivers. Teams usually have three or four
linebackers. The secondary is composed of cornerbacks, who cover the receivers, and
safeties, who cover receivers, offer support in stopping the rushing attack, and pressure
The really big difference between football and rugby is that football players were
protective equipment and rugby players do not. The players wear expensive equipment to
keep their bodies from becoming injured. It costs $500 to outfit a single football player.
In comparison, $500 is about how much it costs to outfit a entire rugby team. The
padding worn includes lightweight plastic padding covering the thighs, hips, shoulders,
knees and often forearms and hands. Players also wear plastic helmets with guards that
cover their face.
Externally, football players and Rugby players are very different, as well as
similar, but the outstanding similarity comes from within. The competitive spirit and the
unrelenting aggressive nature of both sports make them unlike any other and identical to
When playing or spectating either sport, one can not help but to become intensely
motivated to shout, scream and root for his or her team. Theses qualities are what make
football and rugby great pastimes in countries all over the world and will continue to be
played and loved for many years to come.
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