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When it comes to rugby, the sight of players tackling one another as they crumple into a sweaty pile may very well be the first image conjured in most people’s minds. Toss in the confusing similarity of American football—another contact sport with almost identical roots—and it becomes even harder to divorce rugby from its aggressive image.
Rugby is a physically demanding contact sport. Photo: Sport Singapore
This perception might not necessarily be incorrect because rugby can be a physically challenging sport. Unlike other sports, match play is also only paused during penalties, with players constantly alternating between jogging and sprinting.
Nonetheless, the game is not just about speed and brute force – it is far more nuanced, with plenty of strategising involved. The objective of rugby is to carry the ball across the goal line at the opposing side, and plant it firmly on the ground. The twist is that forward passes aren’t allowed—only lateral passes are—while carrying the ball across the field is permitted. As players carry the ball, their team gradually achieves gains in territories, increasing their chances of bringing the ball closer to the goal lines and scoring points.
It also may surprise non-rugby enthusiasts that there are two distinct forms of rugby today—rugby league and rugby union— and rugby sevens is a variation of the latter. With only seven players on each side, a rugby sevens game typically moves a lot faster, and due to the amount of space available on the field, scoring a try happens more frequently. The fast-paced action and high score-lines are two main reasons why rugby sevens is one of most popular forms of the sport.
Team Singapore rugby player Samantha Teo in action. Photo: Sport Singapore
Due to the game’s physical demands, rugby has often been perceived as a man’s sport as well. However, women’s rugby has been around since 1891 and has grown tremendously since then. An increasing number of teams play the sport each year, with international sides even contesting the high-profile Women’s Rugby World Cup every four years.
Keen to watch a few matches yourself? You can purchase tickets for the upcoming HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens event, which is taking place on 28 and 29 April. Do not miss the opportunity to revel in 20 hours of mind-blowing action by some of the world’s best men’s rugby sevens teams. Get your tickets here!