Rugby 101

Scoring Points

Try – 5 points:

A player scores a try by grounding the ball in his opponents’ in-goal. A try is worth five points.

Conversion – 2 points:

After scoring a try, the scoring team attempts to kick the ball through the uprights from any point on an imaginary line that runs the length of the field through where the ball was touched down. The conversion is worth 2 points.

Penalty Kick – 3 points:

After a penalty, a team may attempt to score by kicking the ball through the goal posts.

Drop Goal – 3 points:

A drop goal is worth three points and can be scored at any time during a game by simply kicking the ball through the uprights after it has been drop kicked.


Moving the Ball

To advance the ball in rugby, any player may run, pass, or kick the ball.


One way to advance the ball is to run with it. However, the opposing team is free to tackle the player with the ball. If this happens, his team may lose possession. (See “ruck” below.)


A team may pass the ball as many times as they like. However, they may not pass the ball forwards.


A team may kick the ball to gain territory or a tactical advantage.


Reasons to Stop Play


A Line-Out:

When the ball is kicked or carried over the line of touch, the opposing team is awarded a line-out.

The teams form two parallel lines and the player with the ball throws it between them. In many cases, players will lift one another into the air to catch the ball. In this example, the blue team was out of bounds, and so the yellow team gets to throw the ball in.


One of the most iconic elements of rugby, a scrum occurs when the ball is put back into play after an infraction such as a knock on. Each team’s forwards lock together in a set manner, trying to position the scrum so that their team’s hooker can heel or “hook” the ball back and gain possession for their team.

Players from each team bind onto each other with their arms. They then push against their opponents. The ball is thrown into the middle, and the teams will fight to move the ball behind them (either by heeling it backwards, or pushing their opponents away) so that a player on their side can pick the ball up, and continue play.

Gaining Possession


A maul is formed when the ball carrier is grasped by one or more opponents and at least one player from his own team, all on their feet. Mauls are often used by the attacking team in an attempt to drive the ball over the goal line. If the maul becomes static, the referee will stop play and call for a scrum.


A ruck is formed when one or more players from either team on their feet close together over the ball on the ground. Players will then try to win possession of the ball with their feet.

The Houston SaberCats

Passing Our Skills Along:

The SaberCats seek to train the next generation of rugby players through intensive player development and growth. To accomplish this, we run an academy focused on high-performance expectations and community.

The intent of our High-Performance Academy is to create a clear development pathway from junior rugby to the professional world.

Join us at AVEVA Stadium:

The best way to learn more about professional rugby is to join us at AVEVA Stadium, where we will be competing with some of the league’s best teams throughout our 2019 season.

Rugby Laws

Welcome to Rugby Laws, a series produced in collaboration with Houston’s own KHOU 11. In this series Head Coach Justin Fitzpatrick, alongside SaberCats players, gives you an introduction to elements of professional rugby.