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If you;re iinterested in finding out more about rugby league, want to brush up on the rules or find out about the different ways rugby league is played then take a look at "Get Inspired" in the Sport section of the BBC website. With videos of Jamie Peacock, Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Keith Senior there's plenty to read about our great game.

Rugby ball

The basic idea of the game


It's a try

The field

Goal kick
Goal kick



A game of rugby league consists of two forty-minute halves, played by two teams on a rectangular grass field of 120 metres in length and about half that in width. In the middle of the field is the 50 metre "halfway" line. Each side of the field, on either side of the 50 metre line is identical. 10 metres from the 50 metre line is the 40 metre line, followed by the 30, 20, 10 metre and goal or 'try' lines. This makes up 100 metres of field that is used for general play.

At the middle of each goal line is a set of goal posts in the shape of the letter 'H', used for point scoring from kicks (field goals, penalty goals and conversions). Six to twelve metres beyond each goal-line is the dead ball line. The area between these two lines is called the in-goal area.

The dead ball lines and the touch-lines (side lines) make up the boundary of the field of play. If the ball (or any part of the body of a player in possession of the ball) touches the ground on or beyond any of these lines, the ball is said to be dead and play must be restarted.

Rugby pitch

Equipment and kit

Scrum cap
Scrum cap


Gum shield
Gum shield


Shoulder pads

Shoulder pads

Head protection
Players have always used some form of head protection over the years, from full backs to props. Helmets are usually made from light plastic materials which can take strong tackles, often used by front row forwards to prevent blows to the head and damage to their ears.The most important thing to remember if you want to wear head protection is to make sure it is comfortable - otherwise it will cause yourself unwanted pain and injury.

Gum shield:
This is the most important piece of protective equipment a rugby player should own. The gum shield not only protects your teeth and gums during physical contact, it can reduce damage around the jaw and concussion. As every mouth is different, so every gum shield should be moulded to fit perfectly around the top half of a player's mouth.The best way of doing this is to go and see your dentist, who will ensure the shield is right for your mouth.

The other type of gum shield widely available are the "boil in the bag" variety which are moulded using hot water. Put the warm shield in your mouth and suck on it for about three minutes until it has moulded to the shape of your upper teeth.

Upper body protection:
Upper body protection has been a regular feature of the sport for the past 20 years. The areas vulnerable to injury are the shoulders and the chest, which often take much of the impact in tackles, so it's important these areas are well protected. Modern upper body protection is made from very strong and lightweight material. Again comfort is the most important factor when considering chest protection. Make sure it fits you well, otherwise it will be extremely uncomfortable on the field, as well as increasing your chance of picking up an injury.

Additional information can be found at:

- BBC Sport Equipment guide
- BBC Skills guide
- BARLA rules of the game
- BARLA positions in the game

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