How much do you know about rugby?



By: Torrance Grey

6 Min Quiz

Image: YouTube

About This Quiz

"Give blood, play rugby!" You've seen the bumper sticker, but how much do you really know about this electrifying contact sport? Find out now with our quiz! (Note: unless otherwise specified, questions are about rugby union).

In which country did rugby originate?

Rugby is named for a school, the Rugby School in Warwickshire. Supposedly, a student there named William Webb Ellis picked up the ball in a game of traditional football and ran with it in his hands, launching a new sport. (Disclaimer: this account cannot actually be confirmed).


In which century was rugby born?

Rugby dates back to the early decades of the 19th century. The first set of written rules dates to the 1840s.


How many players are on a rugby union team?

It takes time and effort to fully understand the different positions in rugby and what they do. It's even more confusing because, once a game has started, almost everyone appears to simply be running madly.


A rugby team is divided into which two categories?

A rugby team (called a "side" in UK English) has eight forwards and seven backs. The furthest back is the "full back," while the most forward-positioned forwards are the "front row," aka the "hooker" and the two "props."


What shape is a rugby ball?

A rugby ball is oval, and used to vary in size. This is because early rugby balls were made from pig bladders, and the pigs varied in size. (Sorry if you're taking this quiz over breakfast!)


What is the traditional/British word for a rugby field?

"Pitch" isn't exclusive to rugby. Football is also played on a "pitch."


How much ground must the ball gain at kickoff?

At kickoff, the ball must travel ten meters to officially start the game. After it lands, either team can gain possession of the ball.


What is the name of the classic formation in which forwards fight for the ball?

In a scrum, each side's forwards get together shoulder to shoulder, leaving a gap for the ball to be thrown in. Forbidden to touch the ball with their hands, the forwards try to kick the ball backward to their own players and/or shove the opposing players away from the ball.


Are tackles allowed in rugby?

Tackles are the lifeblood of rugby. Unlike in gridiron football, though, they don't stop play. In fact, it's the start of the ball being contested.


What two things must happen after a player in rugby is tackled?

In American football, a tackle means the ball is no longer in play. In rugby, the ball is let go and immediately sought by players from both teams. At this stage, the tackling player has already let go of the player who had the ball.


What is it called when a tackled player lets go of the ball, and other players fight for it?

During a ruck, players use their feet to try to gain control of the ball. An invisible line forms where the ball is, called the 'gain line,' and players who go over the gain line are "off side."


What is it called when a tackle is unsuccessful, and both teams fight for the ball?

During a maul, the player who wasn't taken down by a tackle, and still has the ball, will try to pass it to his teammates. If this goes on too long, the referee will call for a scrum instead.


Which direction may a player pass in rugby?

One of the key rules of rugby is that you can't pass forward. You can kick the ball up the field, at risk of your team losing control of it.


Which of these physical characteristics usually marks a forward?

True, some forwards have great foot speed, and yes, everybody runs in rugby. But it's the backs who are known for their speed, and they score more often than forwards.


What is it called when a player scores a goal by setting the ball, by hand, over a line?

This is another thing that separates rugby from U.S. football. The American view is, "Hey, if I've scored, the trying part is over."


How many points is a try worth?

A try then gives the side the right to make a kick through the goal posts, called a conversion. This is worth 2 points. So, often, a try results in seven points scored.


What is unusual about jersey numbers in rugby?

In rugby, your position will correspond to your jersey number. However, it's not true that numbers are never retired -- in rare instances, sides have retired numbers to memorialize a player.


What is the name of the line at the very end of a rugby field/pitch?

The try line is the one that players must get the ball over to score. But the field ends with the "dead ball line."


How long does a rugby game last?

Rugby games are a fairly compact one hour and twenty minutes, divided into two 40-minute halves. This might be a relief to fans of American baseball, in which games can easily stretch past the three-hour mark.


How long is halftime in rugby?

You know how you always hear about rugby union's dazzling halftime shows? Wait, you haven't? This is why.


"Loose-head" and "tight-head" are designations for which positions?

The props are part of the front row, along with the hooker. One of their key responsibilities is using their strength to keep their side's players from moving backward in the scrum.


What is a scrum-half?

The scrum-half is the player who sends the ball into the middle of the scrum, for the players to fight over. A scrum half is a link between the forwards and backs, though technically, this position is counted as one of the backs.


In which maneuver would you see a player lifted onto teammates' shoulders?

A line-out happens when the ball has been kicked out of bounds (or "into touch," in rugby terms). A line-out resembles a jump ball in basketball, possibly deliberately. The inventor of basketball, James Naismith, played rugby as a youth.


Which of these is a key job of the hooker?

The 'hooker' is often the smallest of the three front-row players. In a scrum, she 'hooks' her feet around the ball and moves it backward into her side's possession. At least, that what she tries to do. The scrum itself is moving, and the opposition hooker is also trying to get the ball.


What is the name of the player who wears the number eight?

The Number Eight is the last of the forwards, and the only one allowed to pick up the ball by hand as it comes out of the scrum. Otherwise, only the backs can do this.


True or false: Does rugby have a World Cup?

Rugby's World Cup is every four years. Other important championships include the Tri-Nations and the Six Nations.


Which of these countries is NOT part of the Six Nations?

The Six Nations are England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales. The 2017 winner of the Six Nations Championship was England. Cheers!


The Six Nations Championship started out as _______.

The "Home Nations" were those in the British Isles: England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The addition of France made it "Five Nations," and, finally, Italy made six.


The "All Blacks" are the legendary team of which nation?

One funny description of rugby union goes into detail about the positions, rules, and gameplay, ending with "... and then the All Blacks win."


What is considered the "opposite" of rubgy union?

After its birth in the early 19th century, rugby gradually split into two main varieties: union and league. Rugby league teams have 13 players, not 15.


Do women play rugby union?

Proving that the willingness to limp around for three days after a game isn't just a male trait, women have been playing rugby since at least the 1880s. Non-contact versions of rugby, like touch rugby, exist for young children, people who don't want to mess up their looks, and those worried about the cost of ibuprofen.


Which sport is a descendant of rugby?

Gridiron (American and Canadian) football grew out of rugby. Rugby itself grew out of traditional football (aka soccer). So, in that sense, soccer is the grandfather of gridiron football.


The variant "rugby sevens" takes its name from what?

"Rugby sevens" has obvious appeal for casual players -- rounding up thirty people to play on a Saturday afternoon isn't easy! However, it's also a spectator sport, popular in Africa and Asia.


Has a North American nation ever won a Rugby World Cup?

The Southern Hemisphere nations, New Zealand and Australia, have dominated the men's World Cup, though to be fair, it's only been held since 1987. The first Women's was held in 1991, at which the US women's team came away victorious.


Which of these variations on rugby is commonly played in Russia, Finland and the Kashmir region of India?

Yes, because rugby just doesn't offer enough cardio, there's a version in which players run through deep drifts of snow.


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