Simplifying World Rugby Rules

Rugby is a great sport, by great I mean it does not only make for good viewing but it is one of the few sports in the world where you literally try to kill your opponent on the field (for lack of a better word), while after the game you have a laugh about it with the opposing player who you tried to “break” on the field.
This is not only something that happens at amateur level but is still something that gets upheld in the professional era across world rugby, taking the traditional South Africa vs New Zealand pre game function as an example. The old cliche sums it up best – “rugby is a hooligans game played by gentleman.”

However despite these great traditions, and the free flowing nature of rugby which makes it so enjoyable to watch. Rugby is only ranked as the 18th most popular sport in the word, according to biggest global sports rankings website. Some of the other sports on the list that topped world rugby in terms of popularity were swimming, cycling  and volleyball. Why did these sports top rugby in terms of popularity?
Simple, because it is easy to understand. Thus it should come as no surprise that soccer came out as the number 1 sport in the world by quite some distance, since it is pretty much the simplest sport of all.

Simplifying World Rugby

Since we at rugby betting, strongly believe rugby is the greatest game in the world we are rather disappointed to find rugby so low down the list. Thus the million dollar question, how to grow world rugby and increase its popularity?

If there is one problem, or rather factor, that is holding back rugby from growing internationally it is the fact that rugby can be a rather complex game, with first time viewers finding it difficult to understand the numerous sets of rules and regulations. All of which ultimately plays a great role in the outcome of a rugby match.

At rugby betting we have extensively covered the topic, rugby for beginners, trying our best to explain the laws of the game to newcomers. Regardless if these newcomers, want to only follow rugby or learn to bet on rugby.  However we, and all the other parties trying our best to grow world rugby can only do so much.

If world rugby really wants to increase its popularity the IRB (now referred to as World Rugby) will need to change some aspects of the modern day game to make it more beginner friendly, while at the same time keeping its current fan base.

With the above considered we have come up with these proposed changes to the game that will not only make rugby easier to understand (helping to grow world rugby) but also make it more enjoyable for its current audience.

World Rugby Problem Areas

  • The Scrum

How many rugby matches have not been spoiled by repeated scrum resets or (probably worse) the end result been affected by a controversial scrum penalty, which made little sense?

The scrum is certainly an aspect of rugby that needs to be addressed by World Rugby, while I won’t go as far as to say the scrum needs to be eliminated, I will say that it needs to be simplified in a big way.

If you look at videos from a couple of decades back, it is just astonishing how the scrum has evolved from a simple set formation, to the modern day mess we currently find ourselves in. Perhaps we can learn from the older generation and keep the scrum as simple as possible.

  •   The Ruck  

By definition a ruck is formed when one, or more players, from each team are on their feet contesting for the ball…sounds simple? Well it can be. Yet the world rugby governing body has made some aspects of the ruck incredibly hard to understand. Similar to the scrum, a game can easily be spoiled by the interpretation of the ruck. Furthermore many rules surrounding the ruck can make rugby a difficult game to understand for beginners, and thus sadly stalling the growth of world rugby.

By highlighting my point take the following image into consideration.

world rugby making the rules complicated to understand


The White team is on attack, the player gets tackled by the opposing team. Players from both teams are now contesting for the ball, the ball squirts out from the side of the ruck, the player from the defending team picks the ball up and passes it to his team mate, yet he gets penalized by the referee.

While your average rugby viewer might understand why this penalty has been awarded, it can be difficult for newcomers of the game to understand why such a penalty has been awarded to the white team.

I’m not going to explain why the penalty was awarded but would rather love to get the reader’s interpretation, in the comment section, as to why the penalty was awarded, as a measure to show just how much interpretation of the ruck laws can differ.


Sure some people might be of the opinion that there are many more problem areas than simply the scrum and the ruck, highlighted above, the maul perhaps being another one. However I would not necessarily agree with that statement. It is of my opinion that 80% of the complexities of rugby comes purely through the scrum and the ruck. Other technical infringements like accidental offside, only happens once or twice per game at most.

It is of my opinion if world rugby can somehow simplify the scrum and ruck area they would make huge strides in growing rugby’s popularity, since currently these two aspects does not even makes sense to the most seasoned world rugby followers.

The solution is simple, keep it simple, remove technicalities and rugby is bound to increase in popularity worldwide!

Remember to drop us a comment below saying why you think the penalty got awarded in the above image.

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