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Speaking the Language

accidentally offside -A player is accidentally offside if they cannot avoid contact with an opponent while being offside. A scrummage is formed at the place where their team last played the ball.

advantage - A method of refereeing. The referee allows the game to carry on uninterrupted as long as the ball is in play and there are no major infringements. Play can continue after an infringement if the non-offending team gains an advantage.

attack - Attack is the team's mode of play when a team has the ball.

back - One of the players usually numbered 9 through 15. Except for the halfback, backs don't take part in scrums or lineouts.

back row - The two flankers and the No. 8, lined up for a scrum.

back three - The two wingers and the fullback.

backline - Line of backs.

ball familiarisation - Being able to effectively handle the ball in a number of situations and skills.

binding - The method by which players grip one another to form a maul, ruck, or scrum. A player must bind with at least one arm on a teammate.

blindside - The side nearest to the touchline.

breakdown - Area where there has been a tackle or the ball is loose on the ground.

charge down - Blocking a kick by the opponent.

chip - A short, high kick, usually over the head of a nearby defender.

contact - Where two players come together. Usually in a tackle situation.

contests for possession - Contests for possession are contests for the ball. Amongst these are scrums, lineouts, contests when the ball is kicked and when a tackle is made. The contest concludes when one team has the ball and is able to attack while the other team defends.

conversion - A kick at the goal posts, after a try has been awarded, that scores 2 points. It can be a drop kick or a place kick. The kick is taken from a spot perpendicular to where the try was awarded.

cross-bar - The horizontal bar between the goal posts, which is 3m above the ground.

dead-ball line - One of two lines marking the lengthwise boundaries of the field, located at the back of the in-goal area, a maximum of 22 metres from the try-line.

defence - Defence is the team's mode of play when the opposing team has the ball.

drive - To propel forward.

drop goal - A drop kick at the posts, worth three points if successful.

drop kick - A kick on which the ball is dropped to the ground and kicked just as it bounces.

dummy - A technique where one pretends to pass the ball.

fair catch - A player may make a fair catch by catching the ball cleanly from a kick by the opposing side and calling "Mark!" They must be behind their side's 22-metre line or within the in-goal area. A free kick is usually awarded from the spot of the catch, at the referee's discretion.

feed - The act of rolling the ball into the scrum by the halfback. (Throw-in)

first five-eighths - The back, usually No. 10, who calls plays for the backline and normally receives the ball from the halfback.

flanker - One of two forwards, who usually wear No. 6 and 7. The flanker binds on the outside of the scrum.

forward - One of a group of eight players, usually Nos. 1 through 8, who bind together in scrums, line up for lineouts, and are in most rucks and mauls.

forward pass - A pass that goes to a player who's ahead of the ball; illegal in rugby.

foul - Among the fouls in rugby are: Striking, hacking, kicking, or tripping an opponent; making a dangerous tackle; willfully charging, obstructing, or grabbing an opponent who doesn't have the ball; a deliberate knock-on or forward pass.

free kick - An uncontested kick usually awarded for a minor penalty by the opponents.

front row - The combination of two props and the hooker at the front of a scrum.

fullback - The back, usually No. 15, who typically plays deep behind the back line and is responsible for covering downfield kicks by the opponents.

functional roles - Functional roles are the variety of roles that a player performs during a game eg No 2 is a hooker at a scrum, a thrower at a lineout, sometimes a tackler in defence and a ball-carrier in attack amongst other roles.

game plan - The game plan explains what a team has to achieve in attack and defence to perform successfully using the Principles of Attack and Defence as a framework.

goal - A score of 3 points awarded for drop kicking the ball over the opponent's goal-post during play or placekicking it through on a penalty kick. The ball must pass between the goal posts and above the crossbar.

goal line - See try-line.

goal posts - The posts located at the centre of the goal line at each end of the field.

grubber - A kick that bounces or rolls along the ground.

halfback - The back, usually No. 9, who feeds the ball into the scrum and tries to retrieve the ball from mauls, rucks, and scrums.

halftime - Period in the middle of a game where both teams rest and plan for the second half.

halfway line - The line that extends all the way across the field at its midpoint.

hooker - The forward who usually wears No. 2. The hooker is supported by the props in the scrum and is responsible for gaining possession of the ball by hooking it with their foot.

in-goal - The area between the try-line and the dead-ball line.

injury time - Extra time added to the end of a half to compensate for time stoppage due to injuries.

jumper - The player in a lineout who's responsible for jumping to catch or intercept a throw.

key factors - These are the prioritised actions that will result in a skill being performed successfully.

key factor analysis - This is method of skill analysis involving the key factors.

kick-off - A drop kick taken from the centre of the field to restart or start a game.

knock-on - Where a player drops the ball forward (toward the opponents goal line). The ball is awarded to the opponents in a scrum for an unintentional knock-on. The opponents are given a penalty kick from the spot for an intentional knock on.

lineout - The method of putting the ball back into play after it has gone out of bounds. The two sets of forwards line up opposite each other; a player from one side then calls a play and throws the ball between the two lines.

lock - One of two forwards, who usually wear Nos. 4 and 5, and generally the two tallest players on a team.

loosehead - The No. 1 prop in a scrum. See also prop; tighthead.

loose forwards - The flankers and the No. 8 forward.

mark - 1) The spot designated by the referee as the location for a scrum. 2) See fair catch.

match - A match is made up of two halves, plus injury time. Teams change ends after halftime break.

maul - When a runner has come into contact with opponents and cannot advance the ball further, players may bind themselves into a maul. There must be at least three players bound. The maul ends when the ball is on the ground; when the ball or the player who had been carrying it emerges from the maul; or when a scrum is ordered. A maul is similar to a ruck, except that the ball is not on the ground.

number 8 - The forward who wears that number binds into the scrum, usually between the two locks, and is responsible for initiating attacks by the forwards or for getting the ball to the halfback.

obstruction - Getting in the way of an opponent who's chasing the ball. Also called blocking.

offside - An infringement committed when a player crosses the gain line during a lineout, maul, ruck, or scrum before it has been completed, or when a player is in front of the ball while it is played by a teammate. A penalty is called if an offside player then plays the ball, obstructs or tackles an opponent, or is within 10 metres of an opponent waiting for the ball. The other side is awarded a penalty kick from the spot of infringement or a scrum at the place where the offending side last played the ball. See also accidentally offside.

opposition - The team you are playing against.

pack - The eight forwards when they are bound for a scrum. It consists of three front row players, two second row players, and three back row players.

patterns of play - The patterns of play explain how the team attempts to play in each of the Principles of Attack and Defence.

penalty kick - An uncontested kick awarded for a major infringement. It can be taken directly on goal and is worth 3 points if successful.

penalty try - A try that is awarded because the opposing side committed a flagrant infringement to prevent an obvious try from being scored.

pick and go - Term used to get the ball off the ground and move forward.

pitch - The rugby field is a maximum of 100 metres long, from try-line to try-line, and 70 metres wide. At each end of the field is an in-goal area, no more than 22 metres long. The field is marked by a half-way line, two 10-metre lines and two 22-metre lines, and by two dotted hash marks, each 5 metres from the sideline and extending from goal-line to goal-line. There is a set of goal posts on each try-line.

place kick - A kick made with the ball resting on the ground, on a kicking tee. A place kick is used for penalty kicks, and conversion kicks.

principles of attack - Once the team has the ball the principles of attack explain what the team has to be achieved in order to score.

principles of defence - When the team is not in possession the principles of attack explain what the team has to achieve in order to regain possession.

prop - One of two forwards, who usually wear No. 1(the loosehead prop) and No. 3 (the tighthead prop.) They support the hooker during scrums.

punt - A kick on which the ball is dropped and kicked before it reaches the ground. A goal cannot be scored with a punt.

referee - The sole judge and timekeeper for a match.

restart - The kick-off.

retention - The act of keeping the ball.

ruck - When a runner has come into contact with opponents and the ball has gone to the ground, players may bind themselves into a ruck. There must be at least two players bound. The ruck ends when the ball leaves the ruck and can be handled by a player who is not part of the ruck, or when a scrum is ordered. A ruck is similar to a maul, except that the ball is on the ground.

rugby culture - The total collection of inherited ideas, beliefs, values and knowledge of the rugby community.

scrum - A formation used to restart play after a knock-on or forward pass, or at any time when ordered by the referee. Forwards on each side bind and the two groups come together, with the front rows interlocking to leave a tunnel between them. The halfback of the non-offending team feeds the ball into the tunnel midway between the front rows. The hookers attempt to get the ball back. The scrum ends when the ball is out of the tunnel and in possession of a player on either team.

scrummage - The entire process of setting and completing a scrum.

second five-eighths - Sometimes called inside centre (usually No. 12)

second phase - Piece of play immediately after a scrum or lineout. Usually from a tackle, ruck or maul.

second row - The two locks, when in a scrum.

sending off - The expulsion of a player from a match. The side has to play one person short. A sending off may result from a flagrant or malicious foul, or from repeated fouls.

set phase - First piece of play from a lineout, scrum or restart.

skill - An ability acquired by training.

support - To get into a position where you are able to help your teammate.

sweet spot - Part of the ball that makes it travel truer and further.

tactics - Tactics are the patterns of play a team plays to against a particular opponent. They are based on the team's patterns of play but are modified to take account of the abilities of the opposition. The modification is a matter of emphasis.

tackle - The act of grabbing a player who has the ball and bringing them to the ground.

take - A good catch of a kick.

tap-penalty - A penalty kick, on which the player taps the ball with the foot, then picks it up and passes it to a teammate.

team profile - The team profile uses the principles of attack and defence to identify the team's strengths, weaknesses and needs providing the basis for its game plan, patterns of play and tactics.

tee - A small holder for the rugby ball, used when taking a place kick.

10-metre line - One of the broken lines running across the field, 10 metres from the halfway line.

test - A match between two international teams.

tight five - The front and second rows, considered as a unit.

tighthead - 1. The No. 3 prop in a scrum. See also loosehead prop. 2. Opposition hook ball in a scrum.

touch - The ball is said to be in touch when it contacts or crosses a touchline, or when the player carrying the ball steps out of bounds.

touchline - A line that runs the length of the pitch and marks the side boundary.

touch judge - An official located on the side of the field to mark the spot where balls go into touch and to judge kicks at goal. The touch judge may also call the referee's attention to infringements.

try - A score, worth five points, that's awarded when the ball is touched down by a player on the attacking side after it has been carried or kicked across the try-line. The scoring team is also awarded a conversion kick.

try-line - A goal line, which extends across the field. The try-lines are a maximum of 100 metres apart.

tunnel - The gap between the opposing front rows in a scrum or between the two lines of forwards in a lineout.

22-metre drop-out - A kick from the 22-metre line, used to restart play after a missed penalty kick or drop goal has passed the dead-ball line or been touched down by a defending player. The ball is kicked back to the original attacking side.

22-metre line - One of the solid lines running across the field, 22 metres from the try-line.

up and under - A high, shallow kick that gives the kicking side a good chance to run under and recover it. Also known as a Garryowen, for the Irish club that invented it.

wing - See winger.

winger - One of two backs, who usually wear Nos. 11 and 14. They're usually the fastest players on a side.