Sometimes women’s rugby can get a little bit confusing. Whether you are new to the game, or just need a refresher on the basics, we have you covered with this super helpful guide to women’s rugby.

How many players are in a women’s rugby team?

Women’s rugby union teams have 15 players. Each player has a different number ranging from 1-15 on their jersey. The team is divided into two main groups known as forwards and backs. Players with the number 1 – 8 are put in the forwards group, and players with 9 – 15 are put into the backs.

Typically, forwards tend to be a little bigger as they get involved in the scrum, whereas backs are smaller and traditionally faster on their feet. However, this is only a guide, as we have seen so far this season that forwards can, and do, often run the distance.

The team will start with all 15 players on the pitch and throughout the game you will often see new players brought on, who are known as subs. In the Allianz Premier 15’s, which is the main league played in the UK, teams are allowed 8 subs on the bench. Typically, subs are brought onto the pitch strategically when other players are either injured or tired.

How do you score in women’s rugby?

There are four main ways to get points on the board with women’s rugby, which all come with different scores.

•  A try is given when a player puts the ball down (grounds the ball) behind the goal line. For the try to be accepted, the ball must be placed between the goal line and the dead ball line. This is worth five points.

•  A conversion opportunity is automatically afforded to the team after they score a try. The aim of this is to kick the ball from the ground through the goalposts and above the crossbar to be awarded two points.

•  A drop goal is scored when a player kicks the ball from their hands through the opposition’s goal posts. This is worth three points.

• A penalty kick is awarded when the opposite team have committed an offence. The penalty kicker has the opportunity to kick the ball, like a conversion, through the goalposts to be awarded three points.

How long is a women’s rugby match?

Usually, matches run for 80 minutes in total, split into 40-minute halves. This year, because of COVID-19, game time in the premier 15’s matches was reduced to 35 minutes each way.

Do women’s rugby players play on a full-sized pitch?

Women play on the same sized pitch as the men. Learning about the lines on a rugby pitch, and what each one means, can be a daunting task. Luckily for you, we have something that might help; check out our Rugby Field Towel for some fun teaching points.

Words by Stella Mills

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