Today I spent 4 hours watching rugby. Nathan had a game in downtown DC, at Gonzaga High School. It was a bit tricky to find, since our GPS decided we should take the scenic route, and we meandered through the monuments and the tunnels by the Capitol for awhile, but we did indeed make it. I watched the last half of a game that was in progress, all of the "A side" game, and then all of the "B side" game, which was the one Nathan played in. That's a lot of rugby (and sun) for one day! Now that I have all the experience from this season, I am taking it upon myself to explain the basics of the game for those of you who are as in the dark about this sport as I used to be.
Rugby starts off with a kickoff, like a lot of sports. When the other team gets the ball, they run, and even when they get tackled, they just keep handing the ball off, without stopping play. The ref hardly blows his whistle! Sometimes the play gets stopped with no penalty, and then a "scrum" happens. Nathan is the "scrum half" for his team. The 2 teams meet in this complicated hug sort of thing, and (if they have the ball), Nathan rolls the ball down the middle (but more to his team's side). There is lots of grunting and pushing of the whole pile, while the players kick around at the ball with their feet (still with their arms locked together).
When someone eventually crosses the goal line (which is called a "try"--the actual score is, I mean), the team gets 5 points and a kick for 2 extra points if it goes through the goal posts. But the kicker has to kick the ball (always just a drop kick, never with a tee or anything) from the spot where the guy who scored crossed the goal line, so if he was way off to one sideline, then the kicker has a crazy angle. The ideal case, obviously, is to run it in right down the middle of the field!