Cornwall RLFC

Rugby League 101

Rugby League Football, better known as ‘Rugby League’ (or simply ‘League’), is a popular code of the sport of Rugby Football.

Its origins date back to 1895 in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, when the Northern Rugby Union, which later became the Rugby Football League, was formed.

Rugby League is a fast-paced, physical, full contact sport played over 80-minute games, comprising two 40 minute halves with a 10 minute interval.

Some of the key rules and points about the ‘Greatest Game’:

There are thirteen players on the field with four interchange players on the bench

Each team has eight interchanges to use throughout the game and players can be interchanged multiple times.

All passes must be backwards or lateral. Any forward passes result in a scrum to the opposition.

Only players in possession of the ball may be tackled by defending opponents. No blocking is permitted.

A ball dropped or fumbled forwards leads to a scrum for the other team.

Tries (4pts), conversions/penalty goals (2pts) and drop goals (1pt) are the main scoring methods.

The team with the ‘feed’ usually automatically wins possession of the ball and the game restarts quickly.

The ball carrier cannot be stripped of possession when more than one tackler is involved.

Once a tackle is completed, the ball carrier plays the ball between their legs to the dummy half.

The defending team must retreat 10m from where the tackle was completed and cannot advance until the player in possession plays the ball.

Play is continuous and only stops when the ball goes out of bounds, a try is scored, the referee calls a halt to play when one team breaks the rules, or an injury.

Perhaps most crucially, however, is that possession of the ball by the attacking team is limited to just SIX tackles before either giving up possession at the on field position of the last tackle, or kicking the ball for territorial advantage as play continues with the other team taking their own attacking six tackle set.

This encourages teams to play exciting, attacking and free flowing rugby, and prevents one team from closing out the game once they take the lead. In a single game it is not uncommon for players in rugby league to make more than 30 tackles as well as carrying the ball 20 times, with some elite level players making over 50 tackles and carrying the ball 30 times.

Winning teams receive two points for the win, the losing team receives zero points. In the event of a tied game at the end of 80 minutes of regular time, both teams receive one point in the standings. Two five minute periods of extra time are then played with an additional third competition point awarded to the first team who scores a point during that time period.

For a full list of the laws of the game – CLICK HERE