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Life / Sport / Rugby
Watch or play rugby in the UK
Six Nations
  Rugby World Cup
  Further information


British/Irish rugby team:
known as "the Lions"
Rugby (c) Heart of England
"Parliamentary games" at Rugby School,
where rugby was started

Rugby union is the most popular version of the game in the UK and internationally.

You can find information about the main international games from the website of the national rugby union association of the country where the match is being played (or from its box office):
- England: Games are played at Twickenham, near London (the nearest railway station is Twickenham; there are buses the nearest underground station is Richmond). For details, see the website of the Rugby Football Union (RFU):
- Scotland: Games are played at Murrayfield, Edinburgh. Scottish Rugby Union:
- Wales: Games are played at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Welsh Rugby Union:

At the Scrum in the Park event in Regent's Park ...

... the England squad have a training session

England squad's George
Chuter signs an autograph
(c) Wales Tourist Board. All rights reserved
International rugby union:
Wales playing Australia

Every few years British and Irish players play together in a team known as the Lions, and go on tour in Australia, New Zealand or South Africa. The national teams from these countries have the following nicknames: the Wallabies (Australia), the All Blacks (New Zealand) and the Springboks (South Africa).

Rugby league has different rules from rugby union and is more popular in north England. Rugby Football League:

Click here to subscribe online to: Rugby World magazine
Know the Game: Rugby Union
Author: Rugby Football Union
Publisher: A & C Black
Date: August 2003
My World
Author: Jonny Wilkinson
Publisher: Headline
Date: October 2004
Know the Game: Rugby League
Author: Rugby Football League
Publisher: A & C Black
Date: September 2004
Living With Lions - The Complete Story (2 DVDs: Region 2)
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Date: November 1999

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Six Nations
rugby contest

The Six Nations is a rugby union competition between England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France and Italy. Each team plays one game against each of the other teams, over a series of weekends in February and March. The official website of the tournament is For photos of Twickenham on the day of a Six Nations rugby union match, see: Ideas/Album/SixNations.

If a team wins its games against all of the other teams in the competition it wins the Grand Slam. If one of the four "home nations" (England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland) beats each of the other home nations it wins the Triple Crown. The winner of the England vs Scotland game wins the Calcutta Cup (this is the oldest trophy in the history of international rugby, first won by England in 1880).

The fixtures for the 2012 competition are as follows:

Date Matches (home team listed first; UK times)
Sat 4 Feb 2012 2:30pm France vs Italy ; 5:00pm Scotland vs England
Sun 5 Feb 2012 3:00pm Ireland vs Wales
Sat 11 Feb 2012
4:00pm Italy vs England ; 8:00pm France vs Ireland
Sun 12 Feb 2012 3:00pm Wales vs Scotland
Sat 25 Feb 2012
1:30pm Ireland vs Italy ; 4:00pm England vs Wales
Sun 26 Feb 2012 3:00pm Scotland vs France
Sat 10 Mar 2012
2:30pm Wales vs Italy ; 5:00pm Ireland vs Scotland
Sun 11 Mar 2012 3:00pm France vs England
Sat 17 Mar 2012 12:30pm Italy vs Scotland ; 2:45pm Wales vs France ; 5:00pm England vs Ireland

Games take place at the following locations:
England: Twickenham, London
Wales: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Scotland: Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Ireland: Aviva Stadium, Dublin
France: Stade de France, Paris
Italy: Stadio Olimpico, Rome

The Six Nations competition was won by France in 2004, Wales in 2005, France in 2006, France in 2007, Wales in 2008, Ireland in 2009, France in 2010, England in 2011.

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The Rugby World Cup competition is held once every four years.
The following teams automatically qualify for the competition: England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, Wales, Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Tonga, South Africa, Argentina.
Other countries take part in regional rugby competitions to qualify.
The tournament teams are grouped into the four pools of four teams each.
Teams play each of the other teams in their pool. The top two teams in each pool go through to the quarter-finals, after which it is a knock-out competition.

The Rugby World Cup 2015 will be in England from 4 September to 17 October 2015 (the Rugby World Cup 2019 will be in Japan)
For details, see the tournament's official website:
Matches will be shown on ITV1. For details, see:

Past events:
- The Rugby World Cup 2011 was in New Zealand. In the final New Zealand beat France 8-7.
- The Rugby World Cup 2007 was in France. In the final South Africa beat England 15-6.
- The Rugby World Cup 2003 took place in Australia. In the final, England beat Australia: 20 - 17. For photos from the victory parade in London, see: Ideas/Album/SweetChariotParade

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Some of the words you will hear if you watch a game of rugby union:

to score a try, to make a touchdown (5 points) ; to convert a try / to put over a conversion (2 points) ; to make a drop goal (through the middle of the posts) (3 points) ; dropout (wide of the posts) ; to put the ball into touch (to find touch) ; to keep the ball in play ; to clear the ball (to make a clearance) ; to catch the ball ; to offload the ball ; to release the ball ; to win the ball ; to pass the ball ; to chip the ball ; slow ball / quick ball ; the ball is held up ; to make a tackle ; to upend ; to kick the ball ; up and under ; to make a dummy run/pass ; to drive over the line ; to play advantage ; to knock on/forward ; to be offside ; to have possession (to be in possession) ; a set-piece ; scrum (scrummage) ; collapsed scrum ; turnover ; ruck ; maul ; penalty kick ; free kick ; drop kick ; forward pass ; to be in touch ; lineout / throw-in (thrower / lifter / jumper) ; a throw (long / short) ; overthrow ; underthrow ; pitch (field) ; midfield ; first half ; overtime ; half-time ; second half ; territory ; stoppage ; to make a substitution ; to come off / to go on ; to get slowball / quickball ; forwards (attackers) ; backs (defenders) ; front row ; second row ; back row ; pack ; captain ; referee ; linesman / touch judge ; TMO (television match official) ; coach ; man of the match ; on the bench ; foul play ; late tackle ; sin bin ; red card ; to be sent off ; substitution ; to win a cap

The diagram below shows typical positions and names for the 15 members of a rugby union team:

Positions (1-8 are in the scrum)

1 : Loosehead Prop
2 : Hooker
3 : Tighthead Prop
4 : Second Row
5 : Second Row
6 : Blindside Flanker
7 : Openside Flanker
8 : Number 8
9 : Scrum Half
10 : Fly Half
11 : Left Wing
12 : Inside Centre
13 : Outside Centre
14 : Right Wing
15 : Fullback

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BBC Sport (rugby union):
Rugby rules explained:

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Photos of a visit to a Six Nations game: Ideas/Album/SixNations
Sweet Chariot victory parade: Ideas/Album/SweetChariotParade
Sport in the UK: Life/Sport
Monthly guide to events in the UK: Ideas/Events

Home page: Home

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