Rugby Primer
Starting the Game
Jonny Wilkinson kicks the restart against Samoa, England v Samoa, Rugby World Cup, Stade de la Beaujoire, September 22, 2007
© Getty Images
Related Links
Features: Rugby Dictionary
Features: Completion of Play
Features: Fifteens Players
Features: Lineouts
Features: Penalties
Features: Rucks and Mauls
Features: Running and Tries
Features: Scrums
Features: Sevens and Tens
Features: Tactical Kicking
Features: The Playing Field

A coin toss determines the team which will kickoff first. The kicking team will send their forwards to one side of the pitch at the 50 metre line. The opposing forwards will move in front of their opposites, but spread out behind the 10 metre line in preparation to receive the kick.

The kicker, who can be any member of the team, will set the ball on the ground and start the match on the referee's whistle most often kicking the ball high and short to the opposing forwards (he can also kick it long and deep or away from the forwards if desired). The kick must travel forwards at least 10 metres and land in bounds. The kicker's forwards will charge down the pitch attempting to catch the ball themselves. If a receiving team's forward successfully catches the ball, he will attempt to advance the ball normally running into a large amount of opposition. His supporting forwards will then often bind around him to prevent him being brought to the ground and losing possession of the ball.

The second half of a match is started in the same way except the teams have switched ends of the pitch and the team starting the match kicking now receives the ball.


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