Rugby union scoring, rules and officials


If a try is scored then the attacking side will have grounded the ball (under control) either on the try line or in the in-goal area or against the base of the rugby post itself. A try is awarded five points. A successful try is awarded with an additional conversion opportunity for two points. If the referee awards a team a penalty they are allowed to kick for the posts for three points. Finally, a player is allowed to attempt a drop-goal in play for three points.

The team at the end of 80 minutes with the most points will be declared the winners. However, in the event that both teams have the same score, a draw is recorded.


  • The rugby game is broken down into two 40-minute halves with a 10-minute rest period in between.
  • The time during a game can be stopped for an incident. Therefore, the game stops on exactly 80 minutes.
  • The game must have one referee and two touch judges.
  • The game is stopped if a player is fouled and there is no subsequent advantage. Unlike most sports, a referee can wait to see how an incident unfolds before deciding whether the attacking had an advantage.
  • A tackle cannot be made above shoulder height or by tripping a player with your feet.
  • A lineout is called if the ball travels past the sideline.
  • A lineout consists of up to seven players and players can be lifted in order to catch the ball.
  • At a lineout, both teams can compete to win the ball.
  • To successfully covert a kick, the ball must travel the top section of the goal.
  • If a ball, when kicked, hits the post and bounces in field, then play can continue.
  • In order to stay onside in rugby, the attacking players must remain behind the ball of the player passing to them.
  • A referee may award a foul if they believe an unfair act is committed by a player. A foul contravenes the laws of the game and can be for a range of offences (kicking the player, offside, dropping the ball).
  • In cases of foul play, a referee can award players with either a yellow or red card. A yellow card provides a player with a warning about their conduct (sin binned for 10 minutes) and a red card requires them to leave the pitch immediately.


During a competitive game of rugby, there is a referee and two touch judges responsible for upholding the laws of the game. The referee's decision is always final and they have the ability to overrule the touch judge if they consider their decision to be wrong. A touch judge does not just look out for the ball going out of play, but acts as an additional referee and signals if they observe an infringement to the laws.