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Rugby 101

What is rugby?

Rugby: 1. A municipal borough of central England east-southeast of Birmingham. It is noted primarily as the site of Rugby School, opened in 1574, where the game of Rugby was developed in the 19th century. Population: 59,564.

Rugby: 2. A game played by two teams of 15 players each on a rectangular field 110 yards long with goal lines and goal posts at either end, the object being to run with an oval ball across the opponent's goal line or kick it through the upper portion of the goal posts, with forward passing and time-outs not permitted.

Is rugby like american football?

American football was derived from rugby, but there are some major differences. The most obvious differences are that (i) forward-passes and (ii) blocking of any sort is not allowed in rugby. Other differences include the lack of 'hard' protective equipment such as a helmet and the continuous nature of the game (the clock is always running akin to european football, aka soccer). Another importance difference is that on any given 'play', rugby players are concerned more about retaining ball possession than gaining yardage. Possession in rugby is not related to gaining a certain amount of yardage in a certain amount of time.

How can I play, I don't even know the rules?

The game of rugby, although technically complicated, can be played easily by beginners. Many positions do not require a vast understanding of the game, but only require a few pratcices. The fastest way to learn is to simply come out and play a few games.

Am I too old or too fat?

One very appealing aspect of rugby is that players of many shapes, sizes and fitness levels can play. Some positions require fast guys, some positions require heavy guys and other positions require a mix.

Currently, our membership ranges in age from 16 to 52 and in weight from 120 lbs to over 250 lbs.

Will I get injured?

Rugby has a 'reputation' for being excessively brutal. However, this is a common myth as described by Lyle J. Micheli, MD and past president of the American College of Sports Medicine:

"The main reason rugby players have a relatively low risk of injury (10%) compared to football players (52%) is paradoxical – rugby players don’t wear protective equipment. Thus the rugby player doesn’t have the same disregard for the safety of his or her head, neck, and shoulders when tackling or trying to break through a tackle. The other reason is that unlike football, rugby is a game of possession, not yardage. Consequently rugby players don’t tackle by “driving through the numbers,” as football players are taught to do with their heads when tackling a player. In rugby, players are taught to use their arms to wrap a player’s legs and let the momentum of that player cause him to go to ground. Furthermore, in rugby there is no blocking, and so players who don’t have the ball don’t get hit when they’re not expecting it. One of the reasons rugby has a reputation for being “dangerous” in the United States is because when the average American sees rugby being played, he or she sees a free-flowing contact sport. Because it doesn’t have the familiar stop-and-start character of football and other TV-shaped sports, to the uninitiated rugby can appear confusing and “scary.” Furthermore, while the bumps, bruises, and scrapes you see on the elbows, knees, and faces of many rugby players can appear alarming, they are of considerably less concern than the anterior cruciate ligament ruptures, finger fractures and dislocations, and chest contusions characteristic of a sport such as football in which heavy protective equipment is worn."

t;What do I bring to practice?

The first thing that most new players bring to practice is a jock strap & cup ...leave this at home! ! The only thing that you can wear that is not 'soft' are your cleats (i.e. even the buttons on rugby jerseys are made of rubber). Specifically:
  1. Boots: Softball or soccer cleats can be worn as long as the toe-cleat has been removed (cut off any toe cleat with a utility knife and make sure the remaining surface is somewhat smooth).
  2. Shirt: For most practices, you will want a T-shirt for the non-contact drills and a heavy jersey for contact drills. You will not need the jersey right away, and the club will provide jerseys when we play a match.
  3. Shorts: Shorts tend to take a beating in rugby so wear the stongest shorts you own (remove any metal loops or tags first).
  4. Water: Expect to share :)
Suffolk County does not have a specialized rugby retailer. However, you can purchase rugby gear online at World Rugby Shop.

What do I need for a match?

The club will provide jerseys for all club matches. In addition, you should have the following:

  1. Boots: as described above. Toe-cleats MUST be removed prior to your first match.
  2. Shorts & Socks: Before your first game, you must purchase a set of navy shorts and socks. This will cost about $30 at World Rugby Shop.
  3. Mouthguard: Although not a league requirement, the club STRONLGY recommends that you use a mouthguard. Paradoxically, this is not to primarily to protect your teeth... mouthguards reduce the chance of concussion by 90%.  World Rugby Shop carries mouthguards. However, custom sports mouth guards provided by your dentist are much more comfortable and will fit better. Ask your dentist if your insurance covers mouthguards.
  4. Water

How much does it cost to play for your club?

Check the Men's Registration page or the Women's Registration page for current fees and membership forms