Not all, but most South Africa men watch rugby and some but not all women actually know what on earth is going on. For those women who have no clue, couch time with your beau can be extremely frustrating especially if he is the one holding the remote. Then there are those mad rugby tournaments that start somewhere around March and end in November resulting in a long string of rugby braais that dominate your social calendar.

Will it ever end? Probably not, so best you try to learn some rules of the game, maybe fake some of the others and you are guaranteed a secure spot on the couch next to your rugby obsessed man. Commander HQ, an online sports and lifestyle gear and apparel store, specialises in rugby kits for players and fans. Their resident rugby coach and expert personal trainer, Jamie Kaiser, says you can fake it until you make it, here’s how.  

Understand the point of the game?

Rugby is a complex game with various ways to score points. In rugby there are always two sides at play. Each game last 80 minutes, with 40 minutes a side, and whoever scores the most points is the winner – simple!

How to score points?

  • Tri - is when the player puts the ball down on the grass, past the white line that runs between the rugby posts. This earns the most points in the game (five points) and will have the entire crowd going wild. If in doubt, just stand up and scream!
  • Conversion – after a tri is scored, the player then gets to kick the ball over and between the white poles (two points).
  • Drop goal - is when any player can drop-kick the ball over the poles at any time during the match (three points).
  • Penalty - if a player behaves unsportsmanlike on the field, the opposition is awarded the ball and gets the chance to kick the ball over the poles (three points).

 What is a ruck, a maul and a scrum?

  • Scrum – this is similar to a huddle, and is used to restart play. Each team’s forwards lock together and try to get past each other in the scrum so that the hooker can get the ball back to the number 8 and regain possession for the team.
  • Ruck - this happens if the ball is on the ground and one or more players from each team close in around it. Players are not allowed to use their hands in the ruck, but must rather use their feet to move the ball backwards, so that it emerges at the team’s hindmost foot. It can then be picked up.
  • Maul - this involves three or more players and is a way of keeping control of the ball and moving the ball towards the opposition’s in-goal area. The objective of mauling is to wrestle the ball from the opposition and keep possession.

The Offside Rule

Rugby has many rules. But the most important one for you to learn is the offside rule. This is when there is a “ruck” or a “maul”. Every player on the defending side should remain behind the feet of the last man in the ruck to maintain an onside position. Step over this boundary and the whistle blows.

Ways to fake it

  • Drink beer (and tease anyone that isn’t)
  • Wear a supporters jersey (be sure to have the correct team)
  • Yell a lot at the ref during the game. Things to shout are: hands in ref, high tackle ref, or he ducked into it ref and you are missing a great match ref, and off sides ref!
  • Insult the opposition, it’s okay, everyone does it

Watching rugby with your male friends can be fun, and if you can’t beat them you might as well join them. Looking the part is one thing but sounding the part is another. 

 For all your rugby gear and supporters apparel go to Commander HQ’s online store


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Rugby guide