The 2021/2022 season of the UCR rugby tournament had over 34 million viewers. When it comes to live sports, rugby games continue to gain the attention of new fans year after year. The 2023 Rugby World Cup will surely add even more fuel to the sport’s growth.
If you’re considering attending your first rugby game in person, there are a few things you should know ahead of time. The atmosphere isn’t quite like watching sports of any other kind.
The following guide will cover 7 helpful tips before you witness your first thrilling rugby match!
1. Know the Rules
To truly enjoy your first live rugby match, you must first learn the basics of the game. Keep in mind that the ball stays live after someone gets tackled, unlike American football.
Instead of lining back up, rugby players restart the game as they go. The player that got tackled has to play the ball right away by passing it passing it behind them to a teammate or setting it on the deck.
An opposing player can attempt to pick the ball up once it gets released. They must stay on their feet and can’t approach from the side or behind.
The teammates of the tackled player try to surround the ball to guard it. Then, a ruck occurs which is when players start shoving each other for control. A ruck kind of functions like the line of scrimmage in American football to restart plays.
2. Understand Territory
It’s important to understand how territory works in the game of rugby as well. Teams usually like to play on their opponent’s side of the field without having the ball instead of having the ball on their own side.
Turnovers happen out of nowhere and often and the teams continue to play. That’s why it’s better for a team to be by their opponent’s goal line even if they don’t currently have the ball.
Teams that get backed up against their own goal line usually choose to kick the ball away to prevent the other team from scoring. To be eligible to touch the ball first, players must stay behind the kicker while they kick.
That means no deep kicks to opposing players waiting to receive the ball. to waiting players. The kicking team’s goal is to kick it as far as possible and chase it down fast to pressure the other teams into making mistakes.
3. Watch or Attend the RWC
The Rugby World Cup is one of the most well-known sports brands that exist around the globe. It happens every four years and the best international teams in the world compete to win the tournament.
Rugby World acts as the overseeing body of the event. Then, the proceeds from the men’s tournament go toward funding the game globally.
Attending the world cup is a great way to dive head-first into rugby fandom and tickets go on sale this September. However, watching the RWC live via a stream is still a great way to learn about the sport before seeing your first match in person.
4. Value Sportsmanship
You’ll witness a lot of physicality and toughness during a rugby match but know that opposing players always show respect. The sportsmanship that these professional athletes display is a very entertaining and satisfying part of the game.
The same goes for fans in attendance at rugby events. It’s not uncommon for fans to applaud the opposing teams when they make a good play. Fans of opposing teams mingle and enjoy watching the match together without hostility.
At the end of the match, teams select a guard of honor from the opposing teams as a customary sign of respect. Fans and players alike have created a culture of consideration and etiquette at games, which we’ll cover next.
5. Keep Criticisms in Check
In some sports, fans boo and heckle the officials after making a call they don’t agree with. But rugby fans respect the refs and how they enforce the rules. In rugby, the rules are more like laws made for the refs to interpret and implement how they see fit.
If your team is losing, never boo them, and always stay positive! You might see fans of other sports berating their hometown team after a loss, but that’s not how it works with rugby.
6. Watch Your Mouth and Stay Friendly
It’s a fast-paced and thrilling sport, but always watch your language at a rugby match no matter how excited you get. Many fans bring their children to watch rugby games and it’s important to make it a great environment for all ages.
Make sure to engage with and welcome away team fans visiting your team’s stadium. Even if they’re rooting for the other team, you want to help create an enjoyable experience for everyone attending.
7. Don’t Distract Others
Remember to enjoy yourself and feel free to take pictures at any point of the game. Just don’t spend too much time looking at your phone and don’t get up during crucial points of the game.
Try to get up for concessions or the bathroom during halftime or stoppages instead. That way, you won’t block anyone’s view during a pivotal moment of the match.
Attending a Rugby Game
Remember this guide and attend your first rugby game for an exciting, respectful, and memorable experience. Rugby fans are a hospitable bunch, so don’t hesitate to ask questions if you forget anything!
Take a look around the rest of our site for more live sporting event tips and information.