A lineout is what happens when the ball goes out of bounds. This could happen if the ball is kicked or thrown out of bounds, or the ball carrier runs or is tackled to out of bounds. It takes place at the point where the ball or ball carrier went out of bounds.

rugby lineout 1


In a lineout, the forwards form two pods of three people, two lifting and one jumping, to catch the ball being thrown in through the gap. the two pods then step in together and lift the jumper in order to catch the ball. While the jumper is in the air, she can not be tackled until she is back on the ground.

However, she wants to pass the ball to the waiting scrum half, who will them pass it to the back line, as soon as possible. This will give them more time to gain yards before meeting the other team’s defense.


The team that the lineout is to sets how many pods the lineout has, and the other team matches their numbers. The team that the lineout is to also is the one to throw the ball in, giving them the advantage of knowing how high the ball will go.


In rugby, one is only allowed to tackle the player carrying the ball.  There is a slight exception, where if the person just passed the ball, but there is too much momentum, it is safer to complete the tackle.

When you hit the other person at or above the shoulders, it is considered a high tackle. Don’t do these. This is where a lot of injuries happen. The lower the tackle, the better. Getting low also makes it harder for the ball carrier to prevent being tackled.



Pictured above is a good example.  She is getting low, wrapping up, and popping up a little to give it some oomph. She also made sure she had her teammates with her to ruck over her when she goes down.

Wrapping up (wrapping you’re arms around the person getting tackled) is a good way to make sure you go down to the ground with them. Popping your shoulder into her gut knocks her breath away and makes her think twice the next time she sees you running at her when she has the ball.

Do not panic and do not hesitate, whether you are the ball carrier or the tackler. This is also a way that injuries happen. Limbs flail and are more likely to get injured. Players don’t fall correctly.

Kick off and Rucking

At the beginning of the game, there is a coin toss between the two teams’ captains.  The winner of the coin toss decides if her team will start the game kicking (on defense) or receiving (on offense).

During the kick off, the team that is kicking stays in a straight line behind the kicker’s last foot. As soon as the ball leaves her foot, the team runs up and attempts to tackle whoever caught the ball.

The team that is receiving the ball is in a formation called the exploded scrum.  This formation ensures that the receiving team is spread out enough to catch the ball wherever it goes and close enough that when someone gets tackled, she has teammates nearby to ruck.

When a player is tackled, a ruck is formed. The one tackled only has a few seconds to place the ball towards her team before she has to release it.  She then wants to roll or crawl away from it as soon as possible to avoid getting stepped on by either team.  The players in the ruck try to keep possession of the ball by having it stay between her feet until the scrum half is able to pick it up and pass it to her team.  The other team tries to do the same.  When rucking against someone, one wants to get lower than the player she is rucking against with knees slightly bent and a straight back, one foot in front of the other.  Other players from her team then support her by  placing her shoulder on the first rucker’s behind and pushing until the ball on the ground is between her feet.

ruck 1


The ruck is over when the ball is out.  A good way to tell is that if a hypothetical bird can poop on the ball because it is not being contained by a player, then the ball is out.


In a traditional game of rugby, there are fifteen players on both teams; eight forwards and seven backs.

rugby positions 1
Image from

The forwards, numbers 1 through 8, are typically the bigger players who scrum, do line outs, and the bulk of the tackling.  The only time time the positions have a specific task are in scrums.

1 and 3 are the two props.  In a scrum, they provide the driving power and support the hook.

scrum sled demonstration 1

2 is the hook, who is supported in the middle between the two props, tries to rake back the ball with her feet to get it to her team’s scrumhalf.  The hook also jumps during a line out.  This is the position I hope to play in the upcoming season.

4 and 5 are the locks.  They provide stability and extra power to the scrum.

rugby scrum 2

6 and 7 are the flankers and are located on the outsides of the scrum.  Their job is to, as soon as the ball is out, run up and tackle the scrumhalf (or whoever has the ball).

8 is the eighth-man.  She goes behind the locks and adds extra weight to the push.  She also controls the direction of the scrum.

9 is the scrum half, and can be considered a forward or a back.  This position can be considered the quarterback of rugby, and is the most mentally demanding position on the team.  She decides where the ball will go and what play to do.  Only the scrum half can pick up the ball from the ground (unless they have been tackled, where you will hear “scrummy in”).

The back line, numbers 10 through 15, are are the quick ones who do more passing and score a majority of the tries.

back line 1

10 is the fly half and communicates with the scrum half to decide what the back line does.

11 and 14 are the wings.  They stay on the very edges of the field and tackle the other team or get them out of bounds when they try to run past that way.

12 and 13 are the inside and outside center, respectively.  They run and pass the ball in an attempt to get the ball to the other side of the field and score a try.

15 is the full back.  She stays far behind the back line and keeps an eye on where the game is going and communicates that to her team.  She also is there to catch the ball if the other team kicks it.