The International Rugby Board controls the game of rugby union worldwide, and part of their job is to determine the laws of the game. The key laws are

  • 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 isn’t 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 the ball carrier is held by one or more opponents and brought to 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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Rugby Union For Dummies Cheat Sheet (Australia/New Zealand Edition)

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