Biddenden rugby club

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Biddenden Rugby Club

Biddenden Rugby Club in Kent is your typical local rugby club.

Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand. It is played with an oval-shaped ball with a maximum width and length of 12 inches and 24 inches respectively. It is played on a field up to 330 feet long and 230 feet wide with H-shaped goal posts on each goal line.

William Webb Ellis is often credited with the invention of running with the ball in hand in 1823 at Rugby School when he allegedly caught the ball while playing football and ran towards the opposition goal. However, the evidence for the story is doubtful. In 1845, the first football laws were written by Rugby School pupils; other significant events in the early development of rugby include the Blackheath Club's decision to leave the Football Association in 1863 and the split between rugby union and rugby league in 1895. Historically an amateur sport, in 1995 the International Rugby Board (IRB) removed restrictions on payments to players, making the game openly professional at the highest level for the first time..

Structure of a Rugby Team

Each team starts the match with 15 players on the field and seven substitutes. Players in a team are divided into eight forwards (two more than in rugby league) and seven backs.


The main responsibilities of the forward players are to gain and retain possession of the ball. Players in these positions are generally bigger and stronger and take part in the scrum and lineout. The forwards are often collectively referred to as the 'pack', especially when in the scrum formation.

Front row

The front row consists of three players, two props; the loosehead prop and the tighthead prop, and the hooker. The role of the two props are to support the hooker during scrums, to provide support for the jumpers during lineouts and to provide strength and power in rucks and mauls. The third position in the front row is the hooker. The hooker is a key position in attacking and defensive play and is responsible for winning the ball in the scrum. Hookers normally throw the ball in at lineouts.

Second row

The second row consists of two locks or lock forwards. Locks are usually the tallest players in the team, and specialise as lineout jumpers. The main role of the lock in lineouts is to make a standing jump, often supported by the other forwards, to either collect the thrown ball or ensure the ball comes down on their side. Locks also have an important role in the scrum, binding directly behind the three front row players and providing forward drive.

Back row

The back row, not to be confused with ‘Backs’, is the third and final row of the forward positions, they are often referred to as the loose forwards. The three positions in the back row are made up of two flankers and the number 8. The two flanker positions, called the blindside flanker and openside flanker, are the final row in the scrum. Their main role is to win possession through 'turn overs'. The number 8 packs down between the two locks at the back of the scrum. His role in the scrum is to control the ball after it has been heeled back from the front of the pack and the position provides a link between the forwards and backs during attacking phases.

The backs' role is to create and convert point-scoring opportunities. They are generally smaller, faster and more agile than the forwards. Another distinction between the backs and the forwards is that the backs are expected to have superior kicking skills, especially the fly-half and full-back.


The half-backs consist of two positions, the scrum-half and the fly-half. The fly-half is crucial to a team's game plan, orchestrating the teams performance. They are usually the first to receive the ball from the scrum-half following a breakdown, lineout or scrum and need to be decisive with what actions to take and be effective at communicating with the outside backs. Many fly-halfs are also their team's goal kickers. The scrum-half is the link between the forwards and the backs. They receive the ball from the lineout and remove the ball from the back of the scrum, usually passing it to the fly-half. They also feed the scrum and sometimes have to act as a fourth loose forward.

Three quarters

There are four three quarter positions, the inside centre, outside centre and left and right wings. Like the fly-half they generally possess a good kicking game and are good at reading the play and directing the attack. The centres will attempt to tackle attacking players; whilst in attack they should employ speed and strength to breach opposition defences. The wings are generally positioned on the outside of the backline. Their primary function is to finish off moves and score tries. Wings are usually the fastest players in the team and are either elusive runners, or more commonly in the modern era, big, strong and able to break tackles.


The fullback normally positions himself several metres behind the back line. He fields any opposition kicks and is often the last line of defence should an opponent break through the back line. Two of the most important attributes of a good fullback are dependable catching skills and a good kicking game.

Laws of Rugby Union


Rugby union is played between two teams – the one that scores more points wins the game. Points can be scored in several ways: a try, scored by grounding the ball in the in-goal area (between the goal line and the dead ball line), is worth 5 points and a subsequent conversion kick scores 2 points; a successful penalty kick or a drop goal each score 3 points. The values of each of these scoring methods have been changed over the years.

Playing field

The field of play on a rugby pitch is as near as possible to a maximum of 144 metres long by 70 metres wide. In actual gameplay there should be a maximum of 100 metres between the two trylines, with anywhere between 10 and 22 metres behind each try line to serve as the in-goal area. There are several lines crossing it, notably the half way line and the "twenty two," which is 22 metres from the goal line.

Rugby goalposts are H-shaped, and consist of two poles, 5.6 metres apart, connected by a horizontal crossbar 3 metres above the ground. The original pitch dimensions were in imperial units, but have since been converted to the metric system.

Match structure

At the beginning of the game, the captains and the referee toss a coin to decide which team will kick off first. Play then starts with a drop kick, with the players chasing the ball into the opposition's territory, and the other side trying to retrieve the ball and advance it. If the player with the ball is tackled, frequently a ruck will result.

Games are divided into 40-minute halves, with a break in the middle. The sides exchange ends of the field after the half-time break.Stoppages for injury or to allow the referee to take disciplinary action do not count as part of the playing time, so that the elapsed time is usually longer than 80 minutes. The referee is responsible for keeping time, even when—as in many professional tournaments—he is assisted by an official time-keeper. If time expires while the ball is in play, the game continues until the ball is "dead", and only then will the referee blow the whistle to signal half-time or full-time; but if the referee awards a penalty or free-kick, the game continues.

Passing and kicking

Forward passing (throwing the ball ahead to another player) is not allowed; the ball can be passed laterally or backwards. The ball tends to be moved forward in three ways — by kicking, by a player running with it or within a scrum or maul. Only the player with the ball may be tackled or rucked. When a ball is knocked forward by a player with his/her arms, a "knock-on" is committed, and play is restarted with a scrum.

Any player may kick the ball forward in an attempt to gain territory. When a player anywhere in the playing area kicks indirectly into touch so that the ball first bounces in the field of play the throw-in is taken where the ball went into touch. If the player kicks directly into touch (i.e. without bouncing in-field first) from within their own 22 metre line the lineout is taken by the opposition where the ball went into touch, but if the ball is kicked into touch directly by a player outside the 22 metre line the lineout is taken level to where the kick was taken.