How Long is a Rugby Game? (Explained)

Anyone can enjoy the fast-paced, enjoyable sport of rugby. An overview is provided below so you can learn everything about this international game.

how long is rugby game

Rugby union also referred to as just “rugby,” is a full-contact sport that features 15 players on each team and seven substitutes who sit on the bench.

In order to win, your team must score more points than their opponent’s.

You can do this by scoring tries, conversions, penalty kicks, and drop goals. If the scores are tied at the end of the game, a draw results.

A game is played on a rectangular field in two 40-minute halves by a referee, two-touch judges, or assistant referees.

Players must take a minimum of 10 minutes of required break after halftime, after which both teams switch ends.

Introduction to Rugby

how long is rugby game

William Webb Ellis picked up a soccer ball with his hands in 1823 and sprinted toward the goal. Rugby was created on that day.

Rugby sevens and rugby fifteens are the two main variations of rugby union.

Rugby tens, rugby twelves, touch rugby, and beach rugby are further variations in the game that are frequently used as stepping stones and feeders into the main forms.

Rugby players don’t wear helmets or pads, but the methods and rules of the game greatly reduce the risk of injury.

Rugby players are instructed to make contact with opponents with their arms and shoulders, with any contact made above the shoulders and other dangerous play styles drawing severe penalties.

In rugby fifteens and rugby sevens, players who break these rules are given a yellow card and must sit on the sidelines for 10 minutes and two minutes, respectively.

Serious infractions may result in a red card and a possible weeklong suspension for the athlete.

Origin of Rugby

how long is rugby game

It took some time for the game to develop; at first, there were no designated positions and anyone may participate; however, by 1847, a certain number of players had been decided upon, beginning with 17 forwards and three full-backs.

Teams comprising 8 forwards, 2 half-backs, 4 three-quarters, and a full-back eventually evolved from this.

The fundamental activity of the game soon evolved into tackle, which involved holding and grappling with an opponent for more than 15 minutes without the ball being laid down.

As a result, the RFU formally introduced the tackle in 1874.

The RFU, rugby’s first regulating organization, was established on January 26th, 1871, by representatives from 21 local rugby clubs.

Shortly after this, a lawyer by the name of Leonard Maton drafted a set of codes or laws while recovering from a broken leg sustained while playing rugby!

Unions were forming in other nations, and on March 27, 1871, England and Scotland played in the first-ever international rugby match.

International tours played a huge role in the growth of the sport globally, and the first Rugby Union trip ever took place in 1882 when an Australian team visited New Zealand.

Before the Rugby World Cup was created, another century of rugby was played.

Over the course of the following century, a number of key rules were added to the game, including drop goals, which the RFU recognized as a form of kicking in 1887, umpires and a referee, who were first introduced in 1885, and the scrum, which emerged in 1905.

The first Rugby World Cup was introduced in 1985, and Australia and New Zealand hosted it in 1987.

The William Webb Ellis cup was the prize of choice for the previous chairman, John Kendall-Carpenter.

A ball was necessary for the development of rugby, and fortunately, a local shoemaker named Gilbert who lived in Rugby had been producing balls even before William Webb Ellis arrived and providing them to nearby schools in Rugby.

The early rugby balls had a considerably larger, rounder shape than the modern version, and their inside was formed of a pig’s bladder before being coated in leather.

Gilbert founded his firm in 1823, and it was his business partner’s idea to switch out the bladder inner tubes for rubber in the 1860s.

He also claimed to have created the distinctive oval shape, but he never filed for a patent. Today, Gilbert is the 2015 Rugby World Cup’s ball official brand.

How to Play?

how long is rugby game

The purpose of rugby sevens is the same as that of 15s rugby: to move the ball into your opponent’s end of the field and score points through tries, conversions, and, very rarely, penalties and drop goals.

The ball must be passed backward, like in the 15s, and can be advanced up the field by running, passing, or kicking.

Seven players total—three forwards and four backs—make up each side.

Early in the 19th century, rugby was created as a variant of football. It’s a team sport where every player can give it their all. A 15-a-side team is used in rugby.

The goal of the game is to ground the ball behind the try line of the opposition and into the area known as the in-goal area.

Rugby can be played with the ball in hand or by kicking it.

The ball can only be thrown or passed backward when it is in hand. This is due to the fact that in this sport, the player’s progress, not the ball, is what counts.

Despite the fact that casual observers frequently mix up rugby and American football, that is one distinction between the two sports.

Anyone who possesses a set of football boots, athletic attire, and mouth protection can participate in it.

But first, the Frankfurt Rugby Club players work on their technique because this sport requires good coordination and ball control.

A full-contact sport is rugby. You must develop the ability to take down your adversary. This requires tenacity.

The key components are power, cunning, and body control.

This is referred to as a scrum. Play frequently resumes with a scrum when there have been numerous rule violations.

Each team’s forwards hunch over and congregate.

Then, as the ball is pushed into the scrum from the side, they push and shove one another to get to it.

The forwards pull one of their teammates above the scrum once the ball is thrown in, and that player then tries to collect the ball and transfer it to a teammate.

When the ball enters touch, this is done and is referred to as a line-out.

No tackling, or other physical contacts, is allowed during the scrimmage that follows practice. This is being done to prevent injuries to these beginners.

This player picks the proper location to receive the pass, catches it, and grounds it in the goal.

Points can be earned even by beginners. It’s simple to get into rugby.

Anyone may play, and it’s best to start young. Rugby is the ultimate sport for growing really fit, thus getting started as a child is great.

Rules of the Game

how long is rugby game

Rugby’s initial set of regulations was published in 1845 and circulated to schools and other nations.

The rules were developed at Rugby School and were originally written down by Isaac Gregory Smith, the head boy and football captain at the time.

Smith invited three of the current senior players to document the previously unwritten rules.

To create the first-ever images of the sport of rugby football, the rules were illustrated.

The crucial “offside” rule was also established at this time, and the Rugby Union declared in 1871 that “no rules in the rugby code ought to be more rigorously enforced.”

Ignorance of these essential principles will destroy all science and corrupt all spirituality in the game.

The International Rugby Board is responsible for defining the laws that govern rugby unions.

No player is allowed to pass the ball forward to a teammate, which is the most fundamental rule of the game.

The only other options to move the ball towards the other team’s goal line in rugby are by kicking or running with the ball.

Passes must be made sideways or backward to a teammate.

Players are permitted to tackle the opposition while they are in possession of the ball in order to stop the attacking side from scoring.

Players are only permitted to tackle by encircling their opponents with their arms to bring them to the ground; they are not permitted to tackle above the shoulder or to trip an opponent with their legs.

Regulation of Rugby Games

how long is rugby game

To score, you must carry the ball to the goal line of your opponent’s team and force the ball to the ground.

The objective is to cooperate in order to make room for the ball and to make tactical use of that space.

In phases of play, however, the ball must be passed backward in order to advance up the field.

Teams in traditional 15s rugby are made up of 15 players, who are divided into forwards and backs.

In a 15s rugby match, there are two 40-minute halves and a 10-minute intermission.

Here are Some General Rules Of the Game

1. Open Play

Any time a teammate passes the ball to another player or kicks it, this happens during the game.

To advance toward their opponents’ goal lines, both sides are vying for possession of the ball.

2. Kicking

Instead of passing, a player may decide to kick the ball. However, teammates must be positioned behind the ball.

The kick may move ahead. A teammate is out of play if they are in front of the ball at the time it is kicked.

3. Advantage

Teams are given the option to carry on with open play after an infraction rather than halting for a free kick or scrum.

4. Offside

A player is in an offside position when they are standing in front of their teammate who is carrying the ball.

5. The Line-out

This is a strategy for resuming play after the ball has left the field’s boundaries. The hooker sends the ball down the hallway as the forwards form two lines parallel to the touchline.

Commonly Used Terms

how long is rugby game

Try: To touch down the ball in the opponent’s in-goal area (tryzone) for a score worth five points is the game’s major goal.

In contrast to American football, scoring requires that the ball actually hit the ground.

In American football, touchdowns are derived from tries.

Tryzone: the region of the goal in which attempts are scored.

Conversion: Immediately following a try, the scoring team is awarded a kick that is worth an additional two points.

The location of the try must correspond with the location of the conversion.

Players in rugby sevens are not allowed to put the ball on a tee; instead, they must drop-kick the conversion (tossing the ball above the feet and kicking it before it hits the ground).

Penalty: a kick that earns a non-offending side three points when their opponent commits a penalty.

Touchline (similar to sideline): when the ball leaves the playing field or is out of bounds.

Tryline: The area where a try may be scored and the rest of the playing field is divided by the goal line.

Tackle: A tackle occurs when one or more opponents bring the ball carrier to the ground and hold him or her there.

Immediately after the tackle, a ball carrier must relinquish the ball. Play does not halt when a tackle is made, like in American football.

Ruck: When at least one player from each team closes around the ball while standing when it is on the ground, it is called a ruck.

In the ruck, the ball cannot be handled; instead, players must move it until it can be picked up by a teammate’s backmost foot.

Maul: When one or more opponents are holding the ball carrier and one or more teammates bind on.

A minimum of three players is required, and the ball must be in the air.

Lineout: A technique for resuming play after the ball leaves the playing surface (touchline).

One team’s hooker tosses the ball directly into the middle as the forwards line up in a line on each side.

Each team employs a unique arrangement to hoist people into the air, recover the ball, and return it to play.

It depends on the circumstances in which the team’s hooker throws the ball into the lineout.

Scrum: This is a strategy for resuming play following an infraction.

The forwards on each team unite and make contact with those on the opposing team.

The scrumhalf of the non-offending team kicks the ball toward the center of the tunnel.

The hookers on each team push the opposing team backward while trying to move the ball until it reaches one of their colleagues’ hindmost legs, at which point they can take possession.

Sin Bin: When a player is ejected from the match and made to sit out for ten minutes (rugby fifteens) or two minutes (rugby sevens) due to risky play or significant violations.

The Rugby Ball

how long is rugby game

The most crucial piece of gear in a rugby match is the rugby ball. Every kick, scrummage, ruck, and try revolve around it, but not all rugby balls are made equal.

The official size 5 rugby ball must be oval and have four panels made of leather or a suitable synthetic material, according to World Rugby.

Although there are differences amongst “official” balls, World Rugby only permits balls to have the following specifications: a length in line between 280 and 300 millimeters, an end-to-end circumference of 740 to 770 millimeters, and a width circumference of 580 to 620 millimeters.

The degree of rounding at the ends has a significant impact on how the ball plays.

In general, a ball with pointy ends is better for passing but more challenging to kick.

More rounded ends are simpler to kick and control, but they make passing more challenging and time-consuming.

Although not the only size rugby ball, size 5 balls are the ones that both men’s and women’s teams in senior international events utilize.

There are smaller rugby balls designed for junior and juvenile play.

Players can get a firm hold on the ball thanks to an exterior covering that is bumpy and textured.

The ball’s performance is mostly influenced by the pimples’ spacing, shape, and depth.

Rugby players carefully examine their grasp on the ball to strike a balance between how simple it is to catch the ball and how far it can be passed or kicked.

In general, a higher pimple will provide greater grip but shorten the kicking distance.

The length of time the grip will stay on the ball can also be influenced by the grip pattern.

Compared to taller, angular pimples, lower-profile, rounder pimples will stay longer, but they will provide less grip. For different rugby styles, you will observe several grip styles.

Each type of rugby requires a varied amount of kicking and passing, with 15s requiring more kicking and passing than 7s and even more than touch rugby.

The kind of rubber used to produce the ball has an impact on grip as well. While synthetic rubber is more durable, natural rubber offers more grip.

In order to provide better grip, match balls typically have a larger ratio of natural rubber to synthetic rubber.

In contrast, training balls typically contain more synthetic rubber to create a surface compound that is more durable.


The rugby union games is a team sport played between two teams of fifteen players and is an interesting sport to indulge in.

It is a game of fun, strength, speed and, most importantly, team work.

You can also take up a career in professional rugby if you so wish. The rugby game is 80 minutes long with added extra time.

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