By Kelly S. Croslis – Sports

 

 

 

As talks continue among football coaches, fans wait with anticipation to see if there will be a football season this year, interest in Rugby is building.  Some will argue that Rugby is nothing but football without pads and helmets, there is, however, more to the sport than meets the eye.   Rugby is credited with influencing American, Canadian and Australian Rules football, but it seems to be where the similarity ends.  

Originated in England during the 19th century, Rugby became an organized sport with 15 players on a side.  The rules for Rugby are simple; each team tries to score as many points as possible by carrying, passing, kicking or grounding the ball.  The main goal for each team is to gain and maintain possession of the ball and place it in the goal area.  Scoring, however, is not so simple for instance, if the ball is grounded in the goal area, it is worth five points, a conversion kick is worth two points and a penalty kick is worth three points.  

Among the differences between Rugby and American football, are the ways the ball is passed from one player to another.  During a rugby game, the ball cannot be thrown forward, it must be passed laterally or backwards to another player, the only way to move the ball forward is by kicking, a player running with it and passing to another teammate.  There is no blocking; as in American football, only the player with possession of the ball may be tackled at any time.  While a goal post is also used, it is in the shape of an H and has no special meaning, it is simply known as the goal area.  

While the Rugby may have originated in England, it is now played in over 120 throughout the world, at all age levels and is popular among women as well.  During the 2016 Summer Olympics, Rugby will be played as an Olympic sport.  This is not the first time it has been included however, the original 15 on 15 version of the game was played during the 1924 games in Paris, where the United States defeated France for the gold medal.  When rugby is included in 2016 it will consist of smaller teams, referred to as Rugby Sevens, where seven players will take the field for each team, as opposed to the original 15.  

True football fans know that nothing can replace their beloved football, but if they need to watch a game, Rugby may be the closest they can come.

 

 

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