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The rules and the goal

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1 The rules and the goal on Wed 16 Dec - 21:23

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Scoring
Rugby union is played between two teams – the one that scores more points wins the game. Points can be scored in several ways: a try, scored by grounding the ball in the in-goal area (between the goal line and the dead-ball line), is worth 5 points and a subsequent conversion kick scores 2 points; a successful penalty kick or a drop goal each score 3 points. The values of each of these scoring methods have been changed over the years.
Playing field
The field of play on a rugby pitch is as near as possible to a maximum of 144 metres long by 70 metres ,wide. In actual gameplay there should be a maximum of 100 metres between the two try-lines, with anywhere between 10 and 22 metres behind each try line to serve as the in-goal area. There are several lines crossing it, notably the half way line and the "twenty two", which is 22 metres from the goal line.
Stricter rules apply to the pitch size for matches between national representative teams. The same maximums apply in this case, but the distance between the two try-lines must also be at least 94 metres and the pitch must be at least 68 metres wide.
Rugby goalposts are H-shaped, and consist of two poles, 5.6 metres apart, connected by a horizontal crossbar 3 metres above the ground. The original pitch dimensions were in imperial units, but have since been converted to the metric system.
Match structure
At the beginning of the game, the captains and the referee toss a coin to decide which team will kick off first. Play then starts with a drop kick, with the players chasing the ball into the opposition's territory, and the other side trying to retrieve the ball and advance it. If the ball does not reach the opponent’s 10-metre line the opposing team has two choices: to have the ball kicked off again, or to have a scrum at the centre of the half-way line and they throw in the ball. If the player with the ball is tackled, frequently a ruck will result.
Games are divided into 40-minute halves, with a break in the middle. The sides exchange ends of the field after the half-time break. Stoppages for injury or to allow the referee to take disciplinary action do not count as part of the playing time, so that the elapsed time is usually longer than 80 minutes. The referee is responsible for keeping time, even when—as in many professional tournaments—he is assisted by an official time-keeper. If time expires while the ball is in play, the game continues until the ball is "dead", and only then will the referee blow the whistle to signal half-time or full-time; but if the referee awards a penalty or free-kick, the game continues.
In the knockout stages of rugby competitions, most notably the Rugby World Cup, two extra time periods of 10 minutes periods are played (with an interval of 5 minutes in between) if the game is tied after full-time. If scores are level after 100 minutes then the rules call for 20 minutes of sudden-death extra time to be played. If the sudden-death extra time period results in no scoring a kicking competition is used to determine the winner. However, no match in the history of the Rugby World Cup has ever gone past 100 minutes into a sudden-death extra time period.
Passing and kicking
Forward passing is not allowed; the ball can be passed laterally or backwards. The ball tends to be moved forward in three ways — by kicking, by a player running with it or within a scrum or maul. Only the player with the ball may be tackled or rucked. When a ball is knocked forward by a player with his/her arms, a "knock-on" is committed, and play is restarted with a scrum.
Any player may kick the ball forward in an attempt to gain territory. When a player anywhere in the playing area kicks indirectly into touch so that the ball first bounces in the field of play, the throw-in is taken where the ball went into touch. If the player kicks directly into touch from within one's own 22-metre line, the lineout is taken by the opposition where the ball went into touch, but if the ball is kicked into touch directly by a player outside the 22-metre line, the lineout is taken level to where the kick was taken.
Breakdowns
A child running away from camera in green and black hooped rugby jersey is in the process of being tackled around the hips and legs by an opponent.
A rugby tackle: tackles must be below the neck with the aim of impeding or grounding the player with the ball
The aim of the defending side is to stop the player with the ball, either by bringing them to ground (a tackle, which is frequently followed by a ruck), or by contesting for possession with the ball-carrier on their feet (a maul). Such a circumstance is called a breakdown and each is governed by a specific law.
A player may tackle an opposing player who has the ball by holding them while bringing them to ground. Tacklers cannot tackle above the shoulder (the neck and head are out of bounds), and the tackler has to attempt to wrap their arms around the player being tackled to complete the tackle. It is illegal to push, shoulder-charge, or to trip a player using feet or legs, but hands may be used (this being referred to as a tap-tackle or ankle-tap).
Mauls occur after a player with the ball has come into contact with an opponent but the handler remains on his feet; once any combination of at least three players have bound themselves a maul has been set. A ruck is similar to the maul, but in this case the ball has gone to ground with at least three attacking players binding themselves on the ground in an attempt to secure the ball.

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