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Rugby – rules, rugby ball, how long does a match last

Rugby is a group of sports - the most popular is the classic union version, but there are also rugby league and rugby 7 - team, contact sports. Matches are played on a rectangular field, with two goalposts in the shape of the letter H. Behind the goalposts is the so-called try zone. The rugby ball is oval in shape (commonly referred to as an "egg"), and can be passed with hands and feet, although passing with hands can only be done backwards. The team that scores more points wins. Points can be scored by scoring a try, which involves placing the ball in the opponent's try zone (5 points), kicking a drop goal (3 points), kicking a penalty goal (3 points), or by converting a try (an additional chance after scoring a try, valued at 2 points - so a total of 7 points can be scored after scoring a try). Theoretically, it is also possible to score 5 points for a penalty try - a foul on a player who had a chance to score a try - but in practice, this is rare. Each team has separate formations, which are subject to additional rules. Specific to rugby is the scrum, a way to restart play after a minor infringement, usually by the opposing team. In the scrum, played in a special zone, 8 players from each team participate (in rugby union), they line up in specific positions, grab onto opponents, and the formation for spectators really resembles a mill wheel. 

A rugby team consists of 15 players, and a rugby match lasts two halves of 40 minutes each. There is a 5-minute break between halves, during which players do not go to the locker room. If a tiebreaker is needed, extra time is played, consisting of two halves of 5 minutes each.

The most important rugby events (Rugby World Cup, Six Nations Championship, and others)

The most prestigious event in rugby (in the union version) is considered to be the Rugby World Cup. In reality, despite the name, it is the world championship in this discipline. Like the football World Cup, it is held every 4 years (although its history began much later, in 1987). Since there haven't been many events of this kind so far, only 4 nations can boast championship titles - South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and England. The next Rugby World Cup will be held in 2027 in Australia. 

The second most prestigious rugby tournament is considered to be the Six Nations Championship. Only national teams from Europe compete in it, so the tournament can be seen as a kind of continental championship, with the participation being fixed, always featuring the same best teams - Wales, Ireland, England, Scotland, France, and since 2000 Italy (until 2000 it was the Five Nations Championship). The Six Nations Championship has a much richer tradition than the Rugby World Cup - 129 such events have already been held! 

The third important tournament is considered to be The Rugby Championship. It is a championship for the "rest of the world", colloquially called the Four Nations Cup, as the best rugby nations outside of Europe participate - South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and since 2012 also Argentina. In addition, rugby teams in Asia, South America, and jointly in both Americas have their own championship events.

American football and rugby

For a layman, American football is almost the same as rugby. However, if you take a closer look at both sports, you will find plenty of differences. Of course, some rules are similar or identical, American football in a sense grew out of rugby (but also drew from other disciplines). 

In rugby, players compete on a larger field, which is also divided slightly differently, there are no so-called 5-yard lines, which are crucial for football. The goalposts have a different shape in both disciplines, and even the balls are different - in rugby, the "egg" is lighter and not as pointed at the ends. 

Rugby is a less contact sport, so players do not have to wear "armor" (those from American football seem like true giants with huge shoulder pads). As if that wasn't enough, points are scored slightly differently in both sports and are passed differently (in rugby, passes are made only backwards). There are 11 players on the field in football - echoing references to soccer - and the game is played in quarters of fifteen minutes each (but compared to rugby matches, they are longer in football, as only effective playing time counts, there are more situations where the clock is stopped).

Rugby – broadcasts, results

The biggest events in the world of rugby are broadcast live on major television stations, while the smaller ones are usually shown on less prominent channels. A clear overview of live rugby match broadcasts - as well as results from already finished matches (including the history of participants' performances) - can be found on our website.