Definition of rugby noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

 

rugby

 noun
noun
BrE BrE//ˈrʌɡbi//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˈrʌɡbi//
 
(also Rugby)(also rugby football)[uncountable] Rugby
 
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a game played by two teams of 13 or 15 players, using an oval ball which may be kicked or carried. Teams try to put the ball over the other team’s line. Named after Rugby school, where the game was first played. See related entries: Rugby CultureRugbyRugby is a fast, rough team game that is played throughout the British Isles.The game split off from British football in the mid 19th century when the Football Association forbade players to handle the ball (= carry it in their hands). There are two codes (= varieties) of rugby football, Rugby Union and Rugby League, which have slightly different rules and scoring systems. In Rugby League each team has 13 players, compared with 15 in Rugby Union. Players sometimes change from one code to the other during their careers.In rugby, teams try to win possession of a large oval-shaped ball and carry or kick it towards the opposing team's goal line, the line at each end of the pitch where the H-shaped goalposts are. If the ball is touched down (= put down by hand) on the grass beyond the touchline, a try (worth five points in Rugby Union, four points in Rugby League) is scored. A further two points are scored if the try is converted (= by the ball being kicked between the goalposts, above the horizontal crossbar). Points can also be obtained from penalty goals scored as a result of free kicks, and from drop goals (= kicks at the goal during play). Players try to stop opponents carrying and passing the ball by tackling (= seizing) them. When a minor rule is broken, players restart play by forming a scrum (= linking together in a group) or by taking a free kick.Rugby Union, also called rugger, is the older of the two rugby codes. It is said to have begun at Rugby School in 1823. Rugby Union is played mainly by men, though there are now some women's teams.Rugby League broke away from Rugby Union in the 1890s. Rugby had become popular among adults in northern England and many could not afford to take time off work to play in matches without being paid. The Northern Union, later called the Rugby League, was formed in 1895 and soon had many full-time paid professional players. The two codes may reunite in the future, particularly since in 1995 the International Rugby Board allowed Rugby Union players to become paid professionals. Major competitions for professional teams include the English Premiership, the RFU Championship and the Pro12.National Rugby Union teams from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland play against each other for the triple crown. The teams also play with France and Italy each year in the the Six Nations Tournament, and against Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and other countries. The Rugby World Cup is held every four years. Major international grounds include Twickenham and Murrayfield.Most Americans have little knowledge of rugby and in the US it is mostly played by amateur players (= people who are not paid for playing) in colleges and universities. Rugby was first played in the US in 1874 at Harvard University, but after the development of American football in about 1880 it almost disappeared. It continued to be played in California, but it was not until 1975 that the USA Rugby Football Union was established in Denver. By 1998, 1 420 clubs were associated with the organization.Extra examples In rugby circles, there is nothing but criticism for the coverage of sport on terrestrial TV. Kids from six years old play mini rugby at the club. The crowd enjoyed the Fijians’ running rugby. the former rugby international, Serge Blanco
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: rugby

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