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Get into the scrum. Rugby is a full contact team sport played outside on grass. The game makes use of an oval shaped ball, which players must kick or run with to get towards the opponents’ goal. However, the going isn’t easy as the other team is out to tackle them and gain possession of the ball. Rugby is fast-paced and highly competitive -it’s easy to see why so many people are fans of this exciting game.

How does it work?

There are two main types of rugby – rugby union and rugby league. Previously united under the title ‘rugby football’, the two sports split at the end of the 19th century. Whilst they are similar in many ways, there are nonetheless key differences between the two. Rugby union teams consist of 15 players, whereas there are only 13 players on a rugby league team. Other differences between the two forms of rugby lie in the shape of the ball and the scoring system.

The aim of rugby is to gain points either by scoring a try (by grounding the ball in the goal area) or by kicking the ball over the cross bar of the H-shaped goal post. Unlike in football, there is no goalkeeper in rugby. Matches are split into two halves and usually last for 80 minutes, although there is often extra time allotted to make up for time lost due to injuries.

Rugby is a form of aerobic exercise that provides a workout for the whole body – keeping you nice and fit whilst helping to shed weight and build muscle. Sounds good to us!

Is it for me?

Rugby can help you get fit, tone up, lose weight and build stamina. As it’s a team sport, it’s also a great way to socialise – just make sure you’re not so busy chatting that you take your eye off the ball!

Although historically rugby was a men’s sport, these days it’s not just for boys – there are plenty of female clubs and teams out there for girls who fancy giving it a go.

As rugby is a contact sport, it is not suitable for pregnant women or those with injuries. You may find yourself with a few bumps and bruises after a game, so delicate types may be best off looking for a different hobby...

Good to know

Legend has it that rugby football was first invented at Rugby School in the mid-19th century when William Webb Ellis picked up the ball during a conventional game of football and ran with it.

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It’s about to kick off. Football (or ‘soccer’ if you’re reading this Stateside), is a team sport usually played in teams of five or eleven. The aim of the game is to move the ball to the end of the field (within the boundary lines) using only your chest and feet and then kick or head the ball in the opposing team’s net (between the posts, below the crossbar and across the goal line) to score a goal. Simple… or at least it sounds it.