Cheat Sheet

Rugby Union For Dummies (UK Edition)

Want to watch a rugby match and actually have some understanding of what’s going on? Want to impress people with your background knowledge of the game? Print out and pin up this basic information and you’ll always have the essentials at hand.

Europe’s Top Rugby Clubs

Broaden your Rugby Union knowledge by familiarising yourself with some of the top rugby clubs in Europe. Use this list as a quick guide to the clubs locations, backgrounds and achievements:

  • Bath: The first English club to win the European Cup in 1998, and the side which dominated English club rugby in the 1980s to mid-1990s.

  • Brive: Won the European Cup in 1997; this French side are on the way back after a dip in fortunes.

  • Gloucester: One of the best supported Guinness Premiership sides, runners-up in 2003, and Powergen Cup winners in 2003, too.

  • Leeds Tykes: Yorkshire side which has consolidated its place in the Guinness Premiership.

  • Leicester Tigers: England’s biggest and best club in recent seasons. The first back-to-back winners of the European Cup (in 2001 and 2002) and English champions from 1999 to 2002.

  • Llanelli Scarlets: The West Walians have kept Welsh club rugby’s standard flying high in hard times.

  • London Irish: Reading-based Guinness Premiership side with players drawn from all over the rugby world, despite retaining strong Celtic roots.

  • London Wasps: Zurich Premiership champions in 2003 – blitzing league leaders Gloucester in the final.

  • Munster: The Munstermen are the European Cup’s bridesmaids. Twice beaten finalists, twice beaten semi finalists, but their turn should come soon.

  • NEC Harlequins: One of the Guinness Premiership’s biggest brands, but persistent under-performers.

  • Newcastle Falcons: The Guinness Premiership’s flagship in North East England.

  • Northampton Saints: Lifted the European Cup in 2000, the one and only major trophy for a side with great support.

  • Sale Sharks: The North-Westerners have been high achievers in the Guinness Premiership in recent seasons; have just relocated to Stockport.

  • Saracens: Big spending, Watford-based Guinness Premiership outfit, but not too much silverware to show for it.

  • Stade Francais: Cosmopolitan Parisian club on the up and up. Won the 2003 French Championship.

  • Toulouse: The French giants who won the inaugural European Cup in 1996 and repeated the trick in 2003.

  • Ulster: The Irishmen won the European Cup in 1999 after the English boycotted the tournament.

The Most Important Rugby Laws

Struggling to follow what’s happening on the pitch in rugby? Use these handy pointers to get to grips with some of the basic rules and terminology of the game:

  • 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 tryline – or loses possession of the ball and it goes forward, a scrum is set, with the non-offending team getting the scrum feed.

  • What goes on at the tackle: A tackle occurs when a standing player (the tackled player) is held by one or more opponents and brought to the ground, and/or the ball touches the ground. Any opponents of the tackled player who go to ground are known as tacklers.

  • Foul play: Play deemed by the referee as being dangerous, obstructive, unfair play or misconduct. The offending player is penalised, possibly sent to the sin bin or even sent off.

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