PHILILE NTOMBELA

South Africa seems to own the rugby world. We are the current IRB Rugby World Cup champions, we’ve just won the Tri-Nations, and a South Afrian team is the current Super 14 champion (for the second time around).

While the Currie Cup is well underway, many a South African is still completely oblivious to the workings of the game.

For this reason, Perdeby has decided to explain – in about as lay as layman’s terms go – the rules, regulations and general things one should know about rugby by answering these commonly asked questions.

Q: How many players are there per side?

A: There are 15 players per side on the field, and seven reserves.

Q: How are points scored?

A: Points are scored in the form of a try (5 points). This is followed by a conversion (2 points): that’s when the guy kicks the ball through the poles after the try has been scored. A drop kick and a penalty kick are both are worth 3 points.

Q: What is a forward pass?

A: This is when one player passes a ball to a teammate in front of him. Forward passes are illegal; the proper way to pass is to the player adjacent to or behind you.

Q: Why does a player sometimes hit the ball on his foot before he passes it?

A: That’s when the ball has been out of play. To tap it on the foot is the player’s way of putting the ball back into play.

Q: What’s up with the friction between the Sharks’ and Bulls’ supporters?

A: Well, that’s one we’d prefer you to take up with the Bulls’ and Sharks’ supporters … although you might end up in the middle of a brawl. In Perdeby’s opinion, they are two teams that are in constant competition with each other because of their high-quality players, and their positioning on the log. Hence, there is constant rivalry between the teams … and, especially, between the supporters.

Perdeby acknowledges that these are not all the rules and things to know about rugby, but the abovementioned will help you get a better grasp on the game and subculture.

So the next time there is a game on, gather your friends, get some boerewors rolls and a beer or four and watch the match on your big screen to see what you’ve been missing out on. Just make sure you don’t get too drunk and start shouting “slat mekaar, slat mekaar” during the scrums!