“50/22” is a new rugby union law that was introduced in 2021. It is designed to promote attacking play by encouraging teams to kick the ball into touch in the opposition’s 22-metre area (the area immediately in front of the opposition’s try line). The 50/22 law is designed to create more space on the field for attacking play by forcing the defending team to keep more players back to cover potential kicks, thereby creating more gaps for the attacking team to exploit. The law also encourages more accurate kicking and rewards teams that are able to execute well-placed kicks into the opposition’s 22-metre area. Under the 50/22 law, if a team kicks the ball from within their own half and the ball bounces in the field of play before going into touch inside the opposition’s 22-metre area, the kicking team will be awarded a lineout. This is similar to the existing 22/50 rule, where a team that kicks the ball from inside their own 22-metre area and the ball bounces in the field of play before going into touch inside the opposition’s 50-metre area is also awarded a lineout.
“Calling a mark” describes a situation where a player catches a kicked ball inside their own 22-metre area (the area immediately in front of their own try line) and is then given a free kick. When a player catches a kicked ball within their own 22-metre area and is not under pressure from a defender, they can choose to call a mark by shouting “mark” and raising one arm straight up in the air. This signals to the referee that they have caught the ball cleanly and intend to take a free kick. Once a player has called a mark, they are allowed to take a free kick without interference from the opposing team. The free kick can be taken from anywhere on the field, but must be taken directly in line with where the mark was caught. The player must also take the free kick within a reasonable amount of time. Calling a mark is a strategic play that can be used to relieve pressure, gain territory, or set up an attacking play. It is a skill that requires good timing, spatial awareness, and good ball-handling skills.
22-Metre Line: The 22-metre line is a line that runs across the field, 22 metres from each try line. It is used to mark the point where the ball is kicked to restart play after the defending team has touched the ball down in their own in-goal area or kicked the ball out of bounds.
5-Metre Line: The 5-metre line is a line that runs across the field, 5 metres from each try line. It is used to mark the point where the ball is thrown in for a lineout when a team kicks the ball out of bounds.
Advantage: A rule that allows play to continue after an infringement if the non-offending team is able to gain an advantage.
Advantage: The referee can play an advantage to the non-offending team if they believe that the team has gained an advantage from the infringement. If the team does not gain an advantage, the referee can bring the play back and award a penalty.
Ball-and-All Tackle: A ball-and-all tackle is where the defender tackles the attacker and takes the ball at the same time, preventing the attacker from passing or offloading the ball. This is a high-risk, high-reward tackle.
Beach Rugby: Beach rugby is a non-contact version of rugby played on sand. It is often played in a smaller field with fewer players.
Behind-the-Back Pass: A pass that is thrown behind the player’s back, often used to surprise and deceive defenders.
Blood Bin: A player can be temporarily replaced if they are bleeding and need treatment. This is called a blood bin.
Centre: The two centres are typically strong and fast players who are responsible for both attacking and defending. They are positioned in the middle of the backline.
Chip Kick: A short, low kick that is used to go over the head of an onrushing defender.
Chop Tackle: A chop tackle is where the defender tackles the attacker at the knees, bringing them down quickly and effectively.
Collapsing the Scrum: If a player intentionally collapses the scrum, they can be penalised with a free kick or a penalty.
Conversion: A kick at goal taken after a try has been scored. If successful, the conversion is worth two points.
Cut-out Pass: A pass that goes over one or more players to reach a teammate who is further out wide on the field.
Dangerous Play: Players can be penalised for dangerous play, such as lifting an opponent in the tackle or tackling a player in the air.
Dead Ball Line: The dead ball line is the line that runs behind the try line and marks the end of the playing area. If the ball goes beyond this line, it is considered to be out of play.
Deliberate Knock-On: If a player intentionally knocks the ball forward with their hand or arm, they can be penalised with a scrum or a free kick.
English Premiership: The English Premiership is the top-level rugby union competition in England and features the best club teams from the country.
European Rugby Champions Cup: The European Rugby Champions Cup is an annual rugby union tournament featuring the top club teams from European nations.
- Flanker: The two flankers are positioned on either side of the scrum. They are typically fast and agile players who are responsible for tackling, stealing the ball in rucks and mauls, and supporting the team in attack.
Flat Pass: A pass that is thrown directly to a teammate without any height or trajectory. This is the most common type of pass in rugby.
Fly-half: The fly-half is the playmaker of the team. They are responsible for making tactical decisions, kicking for territory, and distributing the ball to the backs.
Forward pass: An infringement where a player passes the ball forward to a teammate. If a player passes the ball forward to a teammate, the referee can award a scrum to the opposing team.
Forward Pass: If a player passes the ball forward to a teammate, they can be penalised with a scrum or a free kick.
Foul Play: Players can be penalised for foul play, such as punching or kicking an opponent, or for verbally abusing opponents or officials.
French Top 14: The French Top 14 is the top-level rugby union competition in France and features the best club teams from the country.
Front-on Tackle: This is the most common type of tackle in rugby, where the defender approaches the attacker from the front and wraps their arms around the attacker’s waist or legs to bring them to the ground.
Fullback: The fullback is positioned at the back of the backline. They are responsible for catching high balls, making tackles, and launching counter-attacks.
Garryowen: A high, spiralling kick that is used to put pressure on the opposition’s backfield and win the ball back.
Grubber Kick: A low, bouncing kick along the ground that is used to gain territory and create confusion for the opposition.
Halfway Line: The halfway line is the line that runs across the field at the centre of the pitch. It marks the midpoint of the field and is used to restart play after a score.
High Tackle: A high tackle is where a player tackles an opponent above the shoulders. This is a dangerous tackle and can result in a penalty or a yellow or red card.
High Tackle: A high tackle is where the defender tackles the attacker above the shoulders. This is a dangerous tackle and can result in a penalty or a yellow or red card.
Hooker: The hooker is positioned in the middle of the front row of the scrum. Their main job is to “hook” the ball back with their feet and to throw the ball in at lineouts.
Hospital Pass: A pass that puts the receiver in a vulnerable position and exposes them to a big hit from a defender.
In-Goal Area: The in-goal area is the area behind each try line. If a player carrying the ball touches it down in this area, they score a try. The in-goal area is also used for kicking, as a ball kicked into this area and touched down by the defending team results in a 22-metre drop-out.
Knock-on: An infringement where a player accidentally knocks the ball forward with their hand or arm. If a player drops the ball forward and it touches the ground or another player, the referee can award a scrum to the opposing team.
Lineout: A set piece where the ball is thrown in from the sideline by a player from the team that did not touch the ball last. Players from both teams then compete to catch the ball. The referee can penalise players for illegal play in lineouts, such as obstruction or crossing. The ball must also be thrown in straight.
Lock: The two locks are tall and athletic players who are positioned behind the props in the scrum. Their main job is to provide strength in the scrum and to jump and catch the ball in lineouts.
Loop Pass: A pass where two players run in a loop and exchange the ball, with the second player receiving the ball at pace.
Low Tackle: A low tackle is where the defender tackles the attacker around the legs or ankles. This is a common type of tackle and can be effective in bringing down larger attackers.
Maul: A phase of play where one or more players from each team are on their feet and in contact, and the ball is held off the ground.
Not Releasing the Ball: If a player is tackled and does not release the ball immediately, they can be penalised with a free kick or a penalty.
Not Rolling Away: If a player does not roll away from the ball immediately after a tackle, they can be penalised with a free kick or a penalty.
Number 8: The number 8 is positioned at the back of the scrum. They are typically strong and fast players who are responsible for controlling the ball at the base of the scrum, and for making tackles and running with the ball in open play.
Obstruction: If a player obstructs an opponent, they can be penalised with a free kick or a penalty.
Offside: An infringement where a player is in front of the ball or the player who last played the ball. A player is offside if they are in front of the ball or the player who last played the ball. Offside players can be penalised with a penalty.
Penalty: A kick at goal awarded to a team when the opposing team commits an infringement. A successful penalty kick is worth three points. The referee can award a penalty to a team if an opposing player commits an infringement. The team can then choose to kick for touch, take a shot at goal, or take a scrum.
Pill: Slang term for the rugby ball.
Pop Pass: A short, quick pass that is used to get the ball to a teammate who is running at pace.
Pork Pie: Slang term for the scrum cap, a protective piece of headgear worn by some players.
Pro14: The Pro14 is a rugby union competition featuring club teams from Ireland, Italy, Scotland, South Africa, and Wales.
Prop: The two props are typically the heaviest and strongest players on the team. They are positioned in the front row of the scrum and their main job is to provide stability and power in the scrum.
Red card: A player can be shown a red card for committing a very serious infringement such as a dangerous tackle or striking an opponent. The player must leave the field and cannot be replaced.
Ruck: A phase of play where one or more players from each team are on their feet and in contact over the ball on the ground. The referee can penalise players for illegal play in rucks such as entering the ruck from the side.
Rugby League: Rugby league is a modified version of rugby union with 13 players on each team. It is played primarily in Australia and the United Kingdom.
Rugby Union: Rugby union is the most widely played form of rugby and is the type of rugby played at the international level. It is a full-contact sport with 15 players on each team.
Rugby World Cup: The Rugby World Cup is the most prestigious international rugby tournament. It is held every four years and features 20 of the best teams from around the world.
Scissor Tackle: A scissor tackle is where two defenders approach the attacker from opposite sides and wrap their legs around the attacker’s legs to bring them to the ground.
Scrag: To tackle an opponent by grabbing them around the neck or collar.
Scrum: A set piece where eight players from each team bind together and push against each other. The scrum is used to restart play after a minor infringement.
Scrum-half: The scrum-half is the player who puts the ball into the scrum and passes it out to the backs. They are also responsible for organising the forwards in attack, making tackles, and supporting the team in defence.
Sevens: Rugby sevens is a variant of rugby union with only seven players on each team. It is played on a smaller field and matches are shorter in duration.
Side-on Tackle: A side-on tackle is where the defender approaches the attacker from the side and wraps their arms around the attacker’s waist or chest to bring them to the ground.
Six Nations: The Six Nations is an annual rugby union tournament that is contested by the national teams of England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales.
Smother Tackle: A smother tackle is where the defender wraps their arms around the attacker’s upper body, preventing them from offloading the ball and slowing down the attack.
Spear Tackle: An illegal tackle where a player lifts an opponent and drives them headfirst into the ground.
Tackle: A defensive move where a player brings the ball carrier to the ground. The referee can penalise players for illegal tackles, such as high tackles or dangerous tackles. Players must also release the tackled player immediately and roll away from the ball.
Tag Rugby: Tag rugby is a non-contact version of rugby where players wear tags that are pulled off by defenders instead of tackling. It is often played as a recreational sport.
Tap and Go: A quick free kick taken by tapping the ball with the foot instead of kicking it into touch.
The Rugby Championship: The Rugby Championship is an annual international rugby union competition contested by the national teams of Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.
Touch Rugby: Touch rugby is a non-contact version of rugby where players touch their opponents instead of tackling them. It is often played as a recreational sport.
Trundler: A slow, lumbering player who lacks speed or agility.
Try: A score in rugby worth five points. A try is scored when a player touches the ball to the ground in the opposing team’s in-goal area.
Try Line: The try line is the line that runs across the field at each end, behind the in-goal area. It is the line that the ball must be touched down behind to score a try.
Up-and-Under: A high kick that is aimed towards the opposition’s backfield to put pressure on their fullback and win the ball back.
Wheelchair Rugby: Wheelchair rugby is a modified version of rugby for athletes with physical disabilities. It is played with four players on each team using specially-designed wheelchairs.
Wing: The two wings are positioned on the outside of the backline. They are typically the fastest players on the team and are responsible for finishing off attacking moves by scoring tries.
Yellow Card: The referee can show a yellow card to a player who commits a serious infringement, such as a high tackle or deliberate knock-on. The player must leave the field for ten minutes, and their team must play with one less player during this time.