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Rugby Explained! by Lauren Jameson


Commonly used terms:

Watching rugby for the first time, especially The World Cup 2015, the sport can appear to be a chaotic collection of indecipherable movements and hectic collisions. In reality, rugby is highly technical and organized with specific rules governing all aspects of play. To get you up to speed on all the rugby terms and laws, here are some guidelines to rugby to familiarize yourself with before watching a match.

Scrum: This term refers to the restarting play after a minor infringement. It involves up to eight players from each team, known as the pack or forward pack, binding together in three rows and interlocking with the free opposing team’s forwards. At this point the ball is fed into the gap between the two forward packs and they both compete for the ball to win possession. Teams can be penalised for intentionally causing the scrum to collapse, and for not putting the ball into the scrum correctly.


Lineout: Looks somewhat like a jump-ball in basketball, with both teams lining up opposite each other, but one team then throws the ball down the middle of the tunnel. Line-outs occur when the ball, or a player carrying it, has gone out of bounds and thus restarts play.


Maul: Occurs when a player carrying the ball is held by one or more opponents, and one or more of the ball-carrier’s teammates bind on the ball-carrier. All the players involved are on their feet and moving toward a goal line. Open play has ended.


Ruck: Between one or more players from each team, who are on their feet and in contact, close around the ball on the ground. Once a ruck has been formed, players are not allowed to use their hands to get the ball, only their feet.


Rugby Positions and Scoring

The following will indicate who all the players are, explain what the referee is generally looking for during the rugby match, and clarify the basic skills required to be successful on the field.

Positions explained:

A rugby team has 15 positions. Each one wears a specific number and has individual responsibilities:

  • 1 and 3 are the props
  • 2 is the hooker
  • 4 and 5 are the locks
  • 6 and 7 are the flankers
  • 8 is, conveniently enough, the eighth man

This group is collectively referred to as the pack or the forwards. This group’s main goal is to win possession of the ball. These players are usually the heavyweights of the team, using their bulk and strength to try to overpower their opponents.

A rugby team has another group as well — the backs or back line:

  • 9 is the scrumhalf
  • 10 is the fly half
  • 11 and 14 are the wings
  • 12 and 13 are the inside and outside centers
  • 15 is the fullback

How scoring works:

The aim of rugby is to score more points than the opposition. This is done in four different ways:

  • Try: The most valuable play is to score a try, which means touching the ball down in the opponent’s in-goal area or on their goal line. Doing so is worth five points and earns that team the right to attempt a conversion kick.
  • Conversion kick: This kick is worth an additional two points. The conversion kick is taken from a spot in line with where the ball was originally grounded, so scoring as close to the posts as possible is best.
  • Penalty kick: Penalties for various infractions can be used to take a kick at goal, which is worth three points.
  • Dropped goal: A dropped goal, which occurs when the player drops the ball on the ground and then kicks it just as it bounces, is worth three points if it goes through the rugby posts.

Some rules of rugby

  • Offside: A player is offside in general play if he is in front of a team mate who is carrying the ball, or in front of a team mate who last played the ball.
  • Forward pass: An illegal pass to a player who is ahead of the ball; a player is not allowed to pass the ball forward to a team mate.
  • Knock on: If a player drops the ball ‘forward’ – that is, towards the opposing team’s try-line – or loses possession of the ball and it goes forward, a scrum is set, with the non-offending team getting the scrum feed.

Tracx has pulled social media activity to the build up to the rugby world cup over the last thirty days from August 20 to September 18 2105.


There have been a total of 57 649 posts relating to the Rugby World Cup, with over 629 681 interactions.

23 176 posts were interacted with by generating conversations thus creating an engagement rate of 40%.

The Rugby World Cup has been mentioned 60 305 times in the last 30 days.

There have been over 370 000 unique people reached with conversations having a density of 26.0 people per conversation.

When it comes to the audience engaged in posting online material, most of the conversations generated were by males, with 25-34 year olds being the largest group contributing to the conversations online.

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There have been certain words and key phrases that have been identified in conversations surrounding the rugby world cup. Tracx is able to monitor and record real time fluctuations in topics, sentiment and general discussion. Below we have a word cloud of the topics relating to the rugby world cup.


Below we have tracked what social platforms the conversations are happening on and the sentiment towards these conversations.  The activity is mainly on Facebook and Twitter with an 80.3% neutral sentiment.

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