Rugby has captured popular imagination in the last couple of centuries owing to a heady mixture of speed and intense physicality. A Rugby Union game has two teams comprising 15 players each.
The sides battle it out over 80 minutes, i.e. two periods of 40 minutes.
The objective is to outscore the opponent through tries, conversions, and goal-kicks. The defending side attempts to prevent scoring by tackling the player with the ball. While the concept of ‘extra-time' is not used normally, it finds application in knockout competitions.
The match begins with a place-kick or a drop-kick from the middle of the halfway line. The ‘scrum' and ‘line-out' constitute the set-pieces.
Rugby has a massive presence in countries such as New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, England, Scotland, and Wales. In 2009, ‘Rugby Sevens' — the seven-a-side format of the game — was drafted into the fold of the Olympic Games. It will make its maiden appearance in the 2016 Olympics at Rio de Janeiro.