Rugby union is a full contact team sport which is played between two teams with 15 players each. Players in a professional rugby union team are categorized into eight forwards and seven backs. Forwards are basically bigger and stronger, and take part in the group and lineout, while backs are basically smaller but faster, more agile and often the main point’s scorers for the team. Points can be scored in various ways: a try is scored by grounding the ball in the in-goal area, is worth 5 points and a subsequent conversion kick scores 2 points. A successful penalty kick or a drop goal each score 3 points. However, the values of each of these scoring methods have been changed over the years. The team which scores more points wins the game.
Rugby union was formed in the year 1886 and it is governed by the International Rugby Board. Sports rugby union fully became professional in 1995. In this year, IRB removed restrictions on payments to players making the rugby game plainly played at the highest level for the first time. Currently, professional sports rugby union has a membership of 115 national unions. The first Rugby World Cup was held in the 1987, and it takes place every four years. The Six Nations in Europe and the Tri Nations in southern hemispheres are the major international competition held annually.
Some of the popular domestic competitions of the game of rugby are the Top 14 in France, the Guinness Premiership in England, the Currie Cup in South Africa and the Air New Zealand Cup in New Zealand. Some of the transitional competitions also include the Magners League which involves countries like Irish, Scottish and Welsh teams. Another transitional competition is Super 14 which involves South African, Australian and New Zealand teams. The Heineken Cup involves the top European based teams of their respective domestic competitions.
According to IRB figures, rugby union is played in over 100 countries spanning six continents. It has naturalized itself as a well known sport for both spectators and participants especially in the countries such as Australia, Argentina, Cooks Islands, England, Fiji, France, Georgia, Italy, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Namibia, Romania, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, Tongs and Wales.