17 October 2011

Try-at-goal: Rugby Union terminology

Conversations in New Zealand these days are usually around the Rugby World Cup. Its here in NZ and we're in the final. Last night's game was beautiful to watch, rugby well played is terrific. Even people who don't usually care, care right now, or they are leftout of mainstream conversations.

Players are referred to by their first names. We know their foibles and history, including their off-the-field antics.

There's conversation about their uniforms, beards, boots, and tattoos. It can all be a bit foreign to those who aren't familiar with the game.

Try-at-goal: Rugby Union terminology
Originally a 'try' in rugby was a preliminary objective which scored no points but gave your team a try-at-goal. You then had a chance to kick for the conversion, thereby scoring points.

Over the years, the 'try' has become the major scoring feature, while the kicking game has evolved. Many matches have been decided on kicks, but the five points for a try and 2 points upon conversion show where the most points can accumulate. Penalty kicks and field goal kicking are often deciders too, especially when defense keeps a team from crossing the line.

Of course, in rugby league, the numbers and means of scoring are slightly different. Try to keep up.

NFL, or gridiron as the world refers to it, is similar, but different.
Knowing about football made it easier for me to get up to speed on rugby. Touchdowns, extra points, etc all come in to it, but in rugby you can't defend for the ball carrier. That's called a truck & trailer, which is fitting terminology for some of those defensive linemen! You don't pass forward, huddle or have special teams. There's a blood bin from which you may reenter the field when tidy, and a sin bin from which you sometimes reemerge after you've done your time-out.

Did you know, helmetted NFL football players suffer from concussion more then helmetless rugby players do? Brutal as rugby can be, they don't depend on the protection of helmets as do NFL players who tend to use them as battering rams.

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