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Rugby in New Zealand

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No idea why New Zealanders are so rugby mad? You might find the following information helpful to understand the game better. The official rule book is 196 pages long (see, however a comprehensive study is not required to enjoy a game. Actually, just the incredible physical performance of the players is enough to evoke fascination. Rugby is way more exciting live than on television, you should use the opportunity to attend a rugby game during any trip to New Zealand, whether it's the All Blacks or a boy's school team!

Rugby rules in brief

  • The rugby field is 100 m long between the goal posts of both teams and 70m wide.
  • A maximum of 15 players per team on the field, up to 7 substitutes can be used.
  • The rugby ball is oval.
  • Rugby is incredibly dynamic, it is important to keep the ball in the team and bring it across the opposing end line, when the ball is put down on the floor by a player then points are won (try). The subsequent kick through the goalposts will be rewarded with more points (conversion).
  • The match starts with a kick-off. At the beginning of the game it is randomly decided which of the two captains can either opt for a kick off or a side. After halftime sides are exchanged and the other team starts play. After a try the other team starts the kickoff.
  • A rugby match lasts no longer than 80 minutes plus lost time and extra time, it is divided into two halves, each no longer than 40 minutes. Halftime lasts no longer than 15 minutes. Lost playing time will be added to the same halftime.

New Zealand Rugby: Scrum

Interesting rugby rules

  • If time runs out and the ball is still in play then the game continues, after a try the conversion can also take place.
  • Bleeding or obviously wounded players can be temporarily replaced. Players may not wear any clothing that is contaminated by blood.
  • The rugby referees may consult his assistant referees and assistants with technical devices or video repetitions for his decisions.
  • Rugby New Zealand: ScrumThe player in possession of the ball can be stopped and held, pushed down or pressed to the ground. The ball holder may push other players aside with his hands.
  • The Law of Advantage takes precedence over most other rules - continuous playing with as few interruptions as possible has top priority. Rugby players are encouraged to continue play despite violations from opponents. If the offended team may get an advantage out of the current situation the referee will not blow his whistle, otherwise the game will be restarted from the place of the incident.
  • Try: If an attacking player can press the ball on the floor of the opponent's goal area then his team wins 5 points. If the try is prevented by a foul then the referee will give the opportunity for a penalty try: a kick through the goal posts (also 5 points).
  • Conversion: A conversion occurs after a try when the team has the chance to kick a goal (above the crossbar) and win 2 more points. The kicker is therefore one of the most important players on the field.
  • Players running parallel to each other may only touch by shoulder, generally one can not stand in the way of other players and thus affect the flow of play.
  • Even the ball holder must not be tackled dangerously, there are many other unfair playing practices which are excluded by law. 

Small rugby glossary

  • Captain: the captain is nominated by the team, only he may consult with the referee during the game and select options.
  • Goal: a goal is scored when the ball is shot between the goalposts over the opposing crossbar.
  • Pass: passing the ball to another player.
  • Penalty kick: free kicks can be given after fouls (3 points if successful). The free kick is located on the line of the try or the place of the foul. All players on the team must be behind the ball. All players of the opposing team must stand behind their goal line until the kick takes place.
  • Sin bin: where the players must sit out their temporary penalty period of 10 minutes.
  • Offside: as a rule, a player is offside if he is in front of a player in possession of the same team.
  • Tackle: when the ball holder is held and brought to the floor by one or more opponents that is a tackle (in the less physical touch rugby a touch can stop the ball holder).
  • New Zealand Rugby: Throw inThrow-in: a throw-in follows after the ball leaves the playing field. The ball is thrown by the team that was not in the possession of the ball, in doubtful circumstances by the attacking team. The ball must be thrown in straight for at least 5 meters. The lineout is formed from 5 meters to 15 meters from the sideline. A tunnel is formed between the teams. Players that jump up towards the ball may be assisted by their teammates lifting them.
  • Knock-on: when the ball is played forward and accidentally falls to the ground, this is followed by a scrum.
  • Ruck: when the ball lies at the feet of the players of both teams and is coming to a stop that is a ruck. If the situation gets into a deadlock it is followed by a scrum.
  • Maul: when the ball holder is surrounded by players of both teams and can only move very slowly then this is a maul. If he can not move at all it is followed by a scrum.
  • Scrum: the scrum's purpose is to restart the game quickly, safely and fairly after minor injury or a standstill. Eight players from each team take formation in three rows against the other team. A tunnel is created between the teams into which the ball is thrown. The two front rows put their heads together (interlock), the scrum begins when the referee calls "crouch" and then "touch", now the players keep their distance with their arms on the opponent's shoulders. Next is "pause" and then "engage", now the scrum-half throws in the ball. Once the ball touches the ground the hookers from both teams try to to hook the ball with their feet and bring it to their side and back into play. If a scrum revolves around for more than 90 degrees it is stopped and repeated. For the rugby team a well-rehearsed scrum is very important.
  • Front row players: the three leading players in the scrum, composed of the 'loose-head prop', the 'hooker' and the 'tight-head prop’.
  • Loose-head prop: player on the left in the first scrum row, usually with jersey number 1.
  • New Zealand Rugby Hooker: player in the middle of the first scrum row, usually with jersey number 2.
  • Tight-head prop: player on the right in the first scrum row, usually with jersey number 3.
  • Locks: two players that make up the second scrum row and push the front row forward, usually with jerseys 4 and 5.
  • Flanker: front players on the flank, usually with jersey 6 and 7.
  • Number 8: conducts the scrum for his team from a rear position.
  • Scrum-half (halfback): player who has been nominated to put the ball into a scrum, usually with jersey number 9.
  • Fly-half: offense specialist, usually with jersey number 10.
  • Wings: the fastest runners on the playing field, usually with jerseys 11 and 14.
  • Inside center: tackle specialist, probably a little heavier than average, usually with jersey number 12.
  • Outside center: another quick key player, usually with jersey number 13.
  • Fullback: the tactician in the back field, launches attacks with kicks but can also play defensively, usually jersey number 15.

All Blacks

The legendary New Zealand Rugby team is rumored to be the most successful sports team ever, anywhere. Not sure if this is true but the brand radiates a magic reputation that fascinates fans all over the world. They have held the number 1 world ranking position longer than any other team.

Up until the 2017 British Lions Tour the All Blacks scored 48 unbeaten international tests at home (2849 days), 3 years since they couldn't score at least one try in a game, 23 consecutive unbeaten tests world wide and 23 years unbeaten in their Eden Park home stadium in Auckland....

Many All Blacks players are legends in themselves, Dan Carter scored a record 1,598 points in 112 tests, Richie McCaw held a record 148 caps for his test appearances, and Doug Howlett scored a record 49 test tries.

More information about rugby in New Zealand: and

Rugby World Cup

The All Blacks also won 3 Rugby World Cups.

The Rugby World Cup 2011 was the biggest event that New Zealand ever organised. The games took place between 9th of September and 23rd of October 2011.

The Rugby World Cup does not have a long history - it was first held in Australia and New Zealand in 1987. The New Zealand All Black have not won the World Cup since then, even if they do usually dominate the Rugby World Ranking.

20 teams - 45 days - 48 matches - 900 players and staff - 1'388 balls - 2,000 media - 5,000 volunteers - 10,000 catering staff - the world's third largest sporting event!

New Zealand Rugby World Cup 2011 results

Rugby New Zealand: Throw in

Pool A
09 Sep 2011 - New Zealand 41 - 10 Tonga in Auckland
10 Sep 2011 - France 47 - 21 Japan in Auckland
14 Sep 2011 - Tonga 20 - 25 Canada in Whangarei
16 Sep 2011 - New Zealand 83 - 7 Japan in Hamilton
18 Sep 2011 - France 46 - 19 Canada in Napier
21 Sep 2011 - Tonga 31 - 18 Japan in Whangarei
24 Sep 2011 - New Zealand 37 - 17 France in Auckland
27 Sep 2011 - Canada 23 - 23 Japan in Napier
01 Oct 2011 - France 14 - 19 Tonga in Wellington
02 Oct 2011 - New Zealand 79 - 15 Canada in Wellington

Pool B
10 Sep 2011 - Scotland 34 - 24 Romania in Invercargill
10 Sep 2011 - Argentina 9 - 13 England in Dunedin
14 Sep 2011 - Scotland 15 - 6 Georgia in Invercargill
17 Sep 2011 - Argentina 43 - 8 Romania in Invercargill
18 Sep 2011 - England 41 - 10 Georgia in Dunedin
24 Sep 2011 - England 67 - 3 Romania in Dunedin
25 Sep 2011 - Argentina 13 - 12 Scotland in Wellington
28 Sep 2011 - Georgia 25 - 9 Romania in Palmerston North
01 Oct 2011 - England 16 - 12 Scotland in Auckland
02 Oct 2011 - Argentina 25 - 7 Georgia in Palmerston North

Pool C
11 Sep 2011 - Australia 32 - 6 Italy in Auckland
11 Sep 2011 - Ireland 22 - 10 USA in New Plymouth
15 Sep 2011 - Russia 6 - 13 USA in New Plymouth
17 Sep 2011 - Australia 6 - 15 Ireland in Auckland
20 Sep 2011 - Italy 53 - 17 Russia in Nelson
23 Sep 2011 - Australia 67 - 5 USA in Wellington
25 Sep 2011 - Ireland 62 - 12 Russia in Rotorua
27 Sep 2011 - Italy 27 - 10 USA in Nelson
01 Oct 2011 - Australia 68 - 22 Russia in Nelson
02 Oct 2011 - Ireland 36 - 6 Italy in Dunedin

Pool D
10 Sep 2011 - Fiji 49 - 25 Namibia in Rotorua
11 Sep 2011 - South Africa 17 - 16 Wales in Wellington
14 Sep 2011 - Samoa 49 - 12 Namibia in Rotorua
17 Sep 2011 - South Africa 49 - 3 Fiji in Wellington
18 Sep 2011 - Wales 17 - 10 Samoa in Hamilton
22 Sep 2011 - South Africa 87 - 0 Namibia in Auckland
25 Sep 2011 - Fiji 7 - 27 Samoa in Auckland
26 Sep 2011 - Wales 81 - 7 Namibia in New Plymouth
30 Sep 2011 - South Africa 13 - 5 Samoa in Auckland
02 Oct 2011 - Wales 66 - 0 Fiji in Hamilton

Quarter Finals
08 Oct 2011 - Ireland 10 - 22 Wales in Wellington
08 Oct 2011 - England 12 - 19 France in Auckland
09 Oct 2011 - South Africa 9 - 11 Australia in Wellington
09 Oct 2011 - New Zealand 33 - 10 Argentina in Auckland

Semi Finals
15 Oct 2011 - France 9 - 8 Wales in Auckland
16 Oct 2011 - New Zealand 20 - 6 Australia in Auckland

23 Oct 2011 - New Zealand 8 - 7 France in Auckland

The legendary New Zealand All Blacks Rugby World Cup squad

Download the Tourleader New Zealand website!Hookers

  • Corey Flynn
  • Andrew Hore
  • Keven Mealamu


  • John Afoa
  • Ben Franks
  • Owen Franks
  • Tony Woodcock


  • Anthony Boric
  • Brad Thorn
  • Samuel Whitelock
  • Ali Williams

Loose forwards

  • Jerome Kaino
  • Richie McCaw (captain)
  • Kieran Read
  • Adam Thomson
  • Victor Vito


  • Jimmy Cowan
  • Andy Ellis
  • Piri Weepu

First five-eighths

  • Daniel Carter (injured 1st of October)
  • Colin Slade (injured 9th of October)
  • Aaron Cruden (in 2nd of October)
  • Hosea Gear (in 10th of October)


  • Richard Kahui
  • Ma'a Nonu
  • Conrad Smith
  • Sonny Bill Williams

Outside backs

  • Israel Dagg
  • Zac Guildford
  • Cory Jane
  • Mils Muliaina (injured after 100th test 9th of October)
  • Stephen Donald (in 10th of October)
  • Isaia Toeava

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