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What is Rugby?

The Sport of Rugby

Rugby is a game that is played in over 180 countries throughout the world.  Many of the values of rugby come from its rich history, traditions, camaraderie, and community involvement with the sport.

Through non-contact versions of the game, children as young as six can greatly enjoy rugby.  These games are played at both junior clubs and schools.

Senior club rugby, including colts rugby, offers players an opportunity to experience the camaraderie of the game.  Women's rugby is also popular at clubs and schools.  Rugby is traditionally played as a 15-a-side game, and is also very popular as seven-a-side - the new Olympic sport for 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.  Ten-a-side rugby is also played, most commonly in School age and Womens Competitions.

While many players continue playing the game well into their adult years, others often choose to experience the benefits offered in rugby by coaching, refereeing, and volunteering with their local schools or club side.

See also: 

Some Rugby History

Spectators' Guide to Rugby

Download & print A Beginners Guide to Rugby

Rugby Ethos

The iRB Playing Charter states, inter alia,

"Rugby owes much of its appeal to the fact that it is played both to the letter and within the spirit of the laws.  The responsibility for ensuring that this happens lies not with one individual – it involves coaches, captains, players and referees.

It is through discipline, control and mutual respect that the spirit of the game flourishes and, in the context of a game as physically challenging as rugby, these are the qualities which forge the fellowship and sense of fair play so essential to the game’s ongoing success and survival.

Old fashioned traditions and virtues they may be, but they have stood the test of time and, at all levels at which the game is played, they remain as important to rugby’s future as they have been throughout its long and distinguished past.  The principles of rugby are the fundamental elements upon which the game is based and they enable participants to immediately identify the game’s character and what makes it distinctive as a sport."

The entire iRB Playing Charter may be downloaded at: iRB Playing Charter


There are many great rivalries in rugby.  There is the cross-Tasman rivalry between Australia and New Zealand exemplified by the annual Bledisloe Cup.  In the Northern Hemisphere there is the annual Six Nations Championship between the national teams of Italy, France, England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

Another great rugby rivalry is the annual Varsity Match between Oxford and Cambridge Universities.  The first Varsity Match was played in 1872.

One of the great traditions of rugby is the Haka, the Maori war dance traditionally performed by the New Zealand "All Blacks" before an international test match.

Watch Video of the "All Blacks" performing the Haka!

New Zealand vs South Afica - 2005 Tri-Nations:  -- Haka performed by the New Zealand "All Blacks" before the 2005 Tri-Nations decider.  The Haka - War Dance

new haka (New Zealand vs South Africa 2005)

France vs New Zealand haka

The Haka - New Zealand Vs Tonga