Rugby Slang: From Try to Scrum

Rugby Slang: From Try to Scrum

Are you a rugby enthusiast looking to brush up on your knowledge of rugby slang? Look no further! In this article, we will dive into the world of rugby terminology, from the commonly used terms like "try" and "scrum" to the lesser-known slang that adds an extra layer of excitement to the game. Whether you’re a seasoned player or a newbie to the sport, this comprehensive guide will help you understand and appreciate the language of rugby. So, let’s kick off and explore the fascinating world of rugby slang together!

Rugby Slang: From Try to Scrum

1. Try

In the world of rugby, a "try" is one of the most exciting moments of the game. It is the primary method of scoring points and involves touching the ball down behind the opponent’s goal line. When a try is successfully scored, the team is awarded five points. This term originated from the early days of rugby when it was said that a player had an opportunity to "try" to kick the ball over the opponent’s goalposts, hence the name. The act of scoring a try is not only crucial for gaining points but also signifies a moment of triumph and achievement for the team.

2. Scrum

The "scrum" is a fundamental aspect of rugby that often captures the attention of spectators. It is a method used to restart the game after a minor infringement or when the ball becomes unplayable. In a scrum, the forwards from each team bind together in a tightly packed formation, with their heads interlocking and their shoulders in contact. The scrum-half from the team awarded possession then rolls the ball into the scrum, and both teams compete to gain control of it using their feet. The scrum requires immense strength, technique, and teamwork, as the team that emerges with possession gains a significant advantage in terms of attacking opportunities. The scrum is not only a skill but also a spectacle, showcasing the physicality and strategy involved in the sport of rugby.

3. Lineout

The "lineout" is a set piece in rugby that occurs when the ball goes out of bounds along the touchline. It provides an opportunity for both teams to contest possession and is a crucial aspect of the game. In a lineout, players from both teams line up perpendicular to the touchline, with one team throwing the ball back into play. The throwing team aims to accurately deliver the ball to their teammates, who lift and catch the ball in the air, while the opposing team competes to disrupt their efforts. The lineout requires precise timing, coordination, and strategy to secure possession and gain an advantage in the game. It is a visually captivating aspect of rugby, often displaying impressive athleticism and tactical execution.

Understanding rugby slang, such as the terms "try," "scrum," and "lineout," is essential for fully appreciating the intricacies of the sport. These phrases not only showcase the unique vocabulary used in rugby but also shed light on the strategic and physical elements that make the game so captivating. Whether you’re a seasoned rugby fan or new to the sport, familiarizing yourself with these terms will undoubtedly enhance your enjoyment and understanding of the game.


In the thrilling game of rugby, a "try" is the ultimate goal that every team strives to achieve. It is the equivalent of a touchdown in American football or a goal in soccer. When a player successfully grounds the ball in the opponent’s in-goal area, it is considered a try. However, there are certain aspects related to a try that are worth understanding in the world of rugby.


After a try is scored, the team is awarded an opportunity to earn extra points through a conversion. A conversion is a kick taken from a spot perpendicular to where the try was scored. The kick must pass between the opponent’s goalposts and above the crossbar in order to be successful. If the kick is successful, the team is awarded two additional points, further boosting their score.


In rugby, a knock-on refers to an accidental forward movement of the ball by a player’s hand or arm that results in the ball touching the ground or another player. It is considered a violation and results in a scrum being awarded to the opposing team. A knock-on can occur during a pass, attempt to catch the ball, or even during a tackle. It is crucial for players to maintain control over the ball to avoid committing a knock-on and giving the advantage to the opposing team.


Tackling is a fundamental aspect of rugby and involves stopping the progress of an opposing player who is in possession of the ball. A tackle occurs when the defending player successfully grasps the ball carrier and brings them to the ground. It is a crucial defensive move that requires technique, strength, and timing. A well-executed tackle not only stops the opponent’s advance but also provides an opportunity for the defending team to gain possession of the ball.

Understanding these rugby slang terms, including try, conversion, knock-on, and tackle, allows both players and spectators to fully appreciate the intricacies of the game. Each term plays a significant role in shaping the outcome of a match and contributes to the excitement and competitiveness of rugby.

2. Scrum

In the game of rugby, the scrum is a crucial aspect of play that involves a contest for the ball between the two opposing teams. It is a method of restarting play after certain types of infractions or stoppages, such as a knock-on or forward pass. The scrum is formed by the eight forwards from each team, who bind together in a tightly packed formation.

2.1 Hooker

The hooker is one of the three players in the front row of the scrum, along with the two props. This position requires great strength, technique, and skill. The hooker’s primary role is to hook the ball backward with their feet when it is fed into the scrum by the scrum half from their team. They use their feet to strike the ball and try to win possession for their team.

Aside from their role in the scrum, the hooker also plays a crucial role in open play. They are often involved in tackling, carrying the ball, and supporting teammates in rucks and mauls. Their physicality and stamina are essential attributes for performing these tasks effectively.

2.2 Props

The props are the two players on either side of the hooker in the front row of the scrum. They are responsible for providing stability and power to the scrum. The props bind tightly with their teammates, locking their arms with the hooker and each other, creating a solid foundation for the scrum.

The prop positions are divided into two types: loosehead prop and tighthead prop. The loosehead prop plays on the left side of the scrum, while the tighthead prop occupies the right side. Each prop has specific techniques and responsibilities in the scrum, such as engaging with the opposing props and maintaining their body positions to withstand the immense force exerted during the scrum.

Props are typically some of the strongest players on the team, as they need to generate significant power to hold their ground and push against the opposing team. They are also involved in various aspects of the game, like tackling, carrying the ball, and providing support in rucks and mauls.

2.3 Scrum Half

The scrum half, also known as the halfback, is a pivotal player in both the scrum and open play. This player is usually positioned behind the scrum, ready to receive the ball from the hooker and distribute it to their teammates. They play a crucial role in determining the direction and speed of play after the scrum has been won.

Apart from their duties in the scrum, the scrum half acts as a link between the forwards and the backs during open play. They are responsible for passing the ball quickly and accurately to create attacking opportunities. Additionally, they often make tactical decisions, such as when to kick, run, or pass, based on the game situation.

The scrum half requires excellent agility, quick thinking, and exceptional passing skills. They must be able to react swiftly to changes in the game and effectively communicate with their teammates. Their ability to control the tempo of the game and make accurate decisions is vital for a team’s success.

In summary, the scrum is a fundamental aspect of rugby, involving the coordinated effort of the hooker, props, and scrum half. Each position plays a distinct role in the scrum and contributes to the team’s overall performance. Understanding these roles is essential for both players and fans to appreciate the complexity and excitement of this unique aspect of rugby.

3. Lineout

In the sport of rugby, a lineout is a method of restarting the game after the ball has gone out of play. It involves players from both teams competing for the ball, which is thrown back into play from the sideline. The lineout is a crucial aspect of the game and requires coordination, skill, and strategic planning.

3.1 Jumper

In a lineout, one of the key players is the jumper. The jumper is usually a tall and athletic player who is lifted by teammates to catch the ball thrown in from the sideline. The main objective of the jumper is to secure possession of the ball for their team. They need to time their jump perfectly and have good hand-eye coordination to catch the ball at its highest point.

3.2 Hooker

The hooker, in the context of a lineout, is a player who stands in the middle of the line and throws the ball back into play. The hooker has a crucial role as they need to accurately and swiftly deliver the ball to their teammates. They must have a strong and accurate throwing arm to ensure the ball reaches the intended target. Additionally, the hooker needs to be alert and make quick decisions during the lineout, such as determining the best target for the throw-in.

3.3 Throw-In

The throw-in is the action of the hooker throwing the ball back into play during a lineout. It is a skill that requires precision and technique. The hooker aims to throw the ball straight down the middle of the lineout, giving their teammates the best chance to secure possession. The throw-in must be done with enough power to reach the intended target but also with enough accuracy to avoid giving an advantage to the opposing team.

In conclusion, the lineout is a crucial aspect of rugby, and understanding the roles of the jumper, hooker, and throw-in is essential for success in this set piece. The jumper’s ability to catch the ball, the hooker’s accurate and swift throw-in, and the throw-in’s precision all contribute to the team’s overall performance during a lineout.

In conclusion, rugby slang is not only a way for players and fans to communicate more efficiently on the field, but it also adds a unique and colorful aspect to the sport. From the commonly used terms like "try" and "scrum" to the more obscure phrases like "hospital pass" and "up and under," rugby slang brings a sense of camaraderie and tradition to the game. Whether you’re a seasoned player or a newcomer to rugby, taking the time to learn and understand these slang terms can enhance your appreciation for the sport and its rich history. So, next time you find yourself watching a rugby match or joining a team, don’t be afraid to embrace the slang and fully immerse yourself in the thrilling world of rugby.