Rugby Frequently Asked Questions

What IS Rugby ?

Click here for an informative video that offers a brief introduction to rugby.

Isn’t rugby dangerous?

Much like soccer, rugby is safer than other team sports like hockey, football and lacrosse. Because they don’t wear heavy “protective” equipment, rugby players are more aware of their physical position, particularly their head, neck and shoulders. By playing for possession of the ball, not yardage, and the rule of no blocking, players are less likely to be injured by other players.

Where and when did rugby begin?

Many historians believe that rugby derived from the many ball-in-hand games of ancient cultures. But popular legend has it that rugby was “invented” in 1823 during an intramural soccer match at a private boarding school in Rugby, England. Student William Webb Ellis became so frustrated by his inability to kick the ball that he picked it up and ran towards the goal. His fellow players liked the new rules and Rugby football was born. Rugby football is now played internationally and is far more popular than American football overseas.

How do you play?

REALLY, really basic rules: With fifteen players on the team, the game is played nonstop with a short break at half. No forward passing is allowed. A player must release the ball when tackled and touch the ball down on the ground to score. Click Here for a beginners guide of rugby rules 

How do you play Youth Rugby and how is it similar to other sports?

The rugby ball is shaped like a football. Teammates will run with the ball in their hands, passing the ball among them, looking to run between or around the opposition to score in the end zone. The skills learned are similar to soccer, lacrosse, and basketball, only you don’t dribble with the feet or your hands or carry the ball with a stick. This allows you to work on space (spreading out the offense) and pace (controlling your speed to provide good support, then bursting to score).

Will Youth Rugby help me in my other sports?

Rugby is excellent preparation for any team sport. The game will get you in excellent shape. You’ll improve your ability to read defenses. Your passing will be vastly improved in your other sports, whether it’s with a tick in lacrosse, your feet in soccer, yours hands in basketball, or your tackling skills in Pop Warner Football.

In some sports I play now, I hardly touch the ball. Will that happen in Youth Rugby?

No! Because there are no downs, the ball keeps moving around the field. Everyone touches the ball! Everyone runs with the ball! Everyone passes the ball! Everyone can be a Running Back!

Is Youth Rugby played under the same rules and laws?

No. Youth rugby laws are amended to provide a fun safe opportunity for youths to learn the sport.

Is there kicking in Youth Rugby?

Positional kicking allows you to kick the ball behind the defense to continue the attack. It also allows the defense to get themselves out of situations when their back is against the wall. You’ll learn a range of kicks during this program.

I’ve seen Rugby on the television. How is Youth Rugby different?

Luckily, there’s been Rugby Union shown on the International Channel. That’s the type of rugby that Youth Rugby is based on. There is a different type of rugby shown at times called Rugby League. In that game when a ball carrier is tackled, play stops like in football. In Youth Rugby, play does not stop if you’re tagged or tackled. The ball changes sides when the offense makes a mistake. Sometimes, on TV, you’ll see teams playing “crash ball”, driving into the opposition. In Youth Rugby, you’ll learn how to attack space. Coaching and training will involve passing and running with the ball to go between or around the defense, or kick past them.

Are there special skills necessary to start playing Youth Rugby?

No special skills are necessary to begin. If you can pass a little bit and catch a ball while running, you’ll be a star. You will concentrate on the skills of tackling, passing, running, kicking and positional play.

Frequently Asked Questions for Parents

Q: I’ve heard rugby described as ‘football without pads’ – is this accurate?

A: Football is a sport that originated from the game of rugby, but it is a much different game. Rugby is a very controlled game with a lot of rules in place to keep all players safe on the field. Although rugby players do not wear pads and protection, they are taught the necessary skills to stay safe and successful on the field.

Q: How can my son/daughter try the sport without getting thrown into a full contact game?

A: Flag rugby is a great option for kids of any age to try the sport without any contact elements. Flag rugby can be played indoors and outdoors in schools or communities. Many kids start playing flag rugby in P.E. class and move into contact programs after learning the basics. To learn more about flag rugby, visit

Q: How much will it cost for my child to play rugby?

A: Rugby is one of the lowest cost options for children in the U.S. Costs will vary across state lines and in various programs. The registration process with Rugby PA costs approx. $50. Currently this is the only cost for our players to participate.  

Q: How does USA Rugby protect its athletes?

A: USA Rugby believes in putting a player’s safety above everything else. USA Rugby requires that all rugby coaches register and complete our Level 100 Coaching Certification, which includes a Player Protection Package and a Background Check. Additionally, with every player registration USA Rugby provides Third Party Liability Insurance and Rugby Accident Insurance. We feel that providing these levels of protections keeps our athletes safe and enjoying the game.

Q: What is my job as a rugby parent?

A: USA Rugby has put together a helpful guide of expectations for rugby parents. Check it out here!