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Rugby terms for newcomers

By tjs10
July 18 2002

A glossary of rugby terms especially for newcomers to the game.

Foul Play - what the other side do. If your side do it, it’s called ‘using your initiative’.
Ruck - informal, impromptu get-together for forwards and a few close friends.
Mark - if you can cleanly catch a ball kicked several hundred feet in the air within your own 22 metre line and call ‘mark’ while the entire other side is pounding towards you intent on doing you damage, you can have a free kick. You deserve it.
Offside - a natural break in the play called by the referee every 35 seconds to let everyone get their breath back.
Advantage: The situation when a referee decides to allow play to continue and not blow for an obvious transgression immediately, due to a mistaken impression that it somehow benefits a team.
Blindside: The term used to describe the referee's inability to see a foul committed. Following a technique refined by former All Black hooker and captain Sean Fitzpatrick that allowed him to commit a foul usually in a ruck or maul at the very moment that the referee turned his back to check on the offside line.
Openside Flanker: It is this player who, when approaching the end of a Cup Final, assumes the role of Scrum Half and puts the ball into the scrum.
Calcutta Cup: Historically the game between the two strongest international representative Teams, England and Scotland. (circa 1871-1899) The title is now given to an annual fixture involving one of rugby’s strongest nations helping to bring on a developing nation (England vs Scotland circa 2002)
Cap: Compulsory headgear bearing sponsor's logo worn at post-match interviews.
Conversion: The situation when a Welshmen remembers that he’s Welsh after he has been ignored by the All Black/Australian/South African/English selectors.
Disciplinary Panel: A meeting of between 2 and 3 former players who regularly convene in a Sky Sports studio in order to highlight incidents involving Leicester Tigers players that the referee failed to spot. They then pass sentence and the RFU are then obliged to carry out the punishment “in the interests of sport”. (See also: Trial by Media)
Free kick: The punishment for lying on the wrong side of a ruck of maul.
Grubber: Mistimed drop kick from anywhere on the field.
Goose step: Change in running style from a sprint to high kicking in order to slow down a defender only to sprint once defender has slowed down. First used by David Campese when, sprinting down the touchline, he saw dogsh*t lying in his path and tried to avoid getting his new boots dirty.
Laws: Rugby has laws, not rules; therefore it is that which you have to disobey in full view of the referee in order to be punished.
Maul: Free-for-all brawl where the ball is kept in the air. See ruck (1).
Offside (as in offside line): an imaginary line passing through a ball without puncturing it.
Place kick: a defensive offensive tactic to prevent the scoring of tries. (At Welford Road, these commonly take place from within the attacking team’s own half)
Referee’s Assistant: The role that is often adopted my a Mr M. Dawson at Tigers vs Saints matches.
Ruck (1): Free-for-all brawl where the ball is placed on the ground. See maul.
Ruck (2): Accidental stepping on an opponent lying in an offside position.
Sidestep: a manoeuvre perfected by South African rugby administrators to avoid choosing black players.
Sinbin: a tactic used by some referees to increase their impact on the outcome of a game.
Trial by Media: The process by which Leicester players are singled out for committing acts of indiscipline that regularly go unpunished with all teams. This is often done purely “in the interests of fair-play”
Try: The verb used to describe what the Wales do every year in the Six Nations, often with little or no success.
Up-and-under: (an integral calculus term in rugby competitions) the inversion of global geographics - the southern hemisphere teams are usually ‘up’, while the northern hemisphere teams are usually ‘under’.
Wing (1): Northern hemisphere - extra defender.
Wing (2): Southern hemisphere - top try scorer.
International call-up: The invitation to Twickenham that Rugby League players receive along with their first pay packet.
Away supporters (Tigers): The coachloads of dedicated fans that travel all over the country (often on Friday nights & Sundays) to see their team play at various football grounds.
Away supporters (Other teams): The car full of fans that travel to Welford Road in the vain hope that it will be their team that breaks our home record.
Chanting: Something that other teams fans do to inspire their boys. These often involve various collections of different words strung together, except at Welford Road where the word “Tigers” repeated ad infinitum appears to work with more success.
Prop: Front row position that has finally solves the mystery of who did actually eat all of the pies.
Twickenham: National stadium often referred to by one of its other names, “HQ”, “Billy Williams’ Cabbage Patch” or, on International weekends “The Home of the Tigers”
Northampton Saints: East Midlands team that seems to exist only as a feeder team for National Division One side Bedford Blues…
London Irish: As their name suggests, a group of South Africans that play rugby in Reading
Season Ticket: At Leicester this is the only way to guarantee entry to all of the home league games during the season. (For other teams see: Turning up on the day)
Sevens: An abreviated version of the 15 man game. This shorter version is preferred by front row players as they invariably spend the whole game in the bar and not on the pitch.
Out on the full: Where the ball leaves the field of play without bouncing, except in Heineken Cup finals, when the ball must be over 3 yards into touch before qualifying as going "out on the full".
Side Step: A manouvre whereby the attacking player attempts to avoid a defender my means of a brief horizontal, rather than lateral movement across the field of play. The side step has recently been adopted by some defending players as a means of avoiding serious injury when faced with the sight of a 16 stone dreadlocked Samoan running towards them.
Premiership Referee: Commonly these are failed players who still have a chip on their shoulder. The sort of people that even mothers might struggle to love. (see also: Media, the)
Sale Sharks: (Formerly: Manchester Sale...............and before that: Sale) This team appears to use a random word generator in order to chose its name. For the 2003/04 season, they are considering changing the name to "Closing down Sale" in order to benefit from the free publicity they will get in Manchester city centre.
Gloucester: Winners of the Zurich Championship. They can therefore claim to be Champions of England. (Just as Dr Fox is medically qualified & the World Series Baseball is truly International)
Harlequin: n. Stock comic character. especially in checked costume. Need I say more?
Bath: In the late 80s & early 90s, Bath were the team everyone wanted to beat. Last season, they were instead the team everyone expected to beat.
Rugby League: Version of rugby commonly played in the North of England. The teams consist of 13 players on each side. This is largely due to the number of wingers moving to Rugby Union, resulting in a player shortage in the Super League.

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