With sincere apologies to the non-rugby/sports readers, I present the basic rules for the glorious game that is Rugby.
A game of rugby consists of two halves of 40 minutes with injury time added on at the end of each half. Each side consists of 15 players, (eight forwards and seven backs). There is one referee assisted by two touch judges; the latter mark where the ball goes out of play, adjudge kicks at goal and inform the referee of foul play. All passes in rugby must travel backwards.
Kicking forms a major part of rugby and is used to start and restart the game, score points, win territory, launch an attack or get a team out of trouble (known as a clearance kick). If the ball is kicked directly into touch by a player from behind his own 22m line, the resulting lineout is taken where the ball crossed the touchline. But if he is outside his 22, the lineout is taken level with the place from where the ball was kicked (except in the case of penalties). Players must be behind the kicker for all set-piece kicks, such as kick-offs. But if a kick is made in loose play, then players can be in front of the kicker, although they must not advance towards the ball until the kicker has put them onside by moving in front of them.
Start of the game: A coin is tossed and the winning captain elects to take or receive the kick. Both halves of the match are started with a place kick from the centrepoint of the halfway line. The kick must cross the opposition's 10-metre line, which the opposition are not allowed to encroach beyond until the ball is kicked. If the ball does not travel 10 metres, goes straight into touch, or goes over the dead ball line at the end of the pitch, the receiving team can opt for a scrum (see Scrum) or a kick again. After a score, the game is restarted from the same place under the same restrictions, with the conceding team drop-kicking the ball to the scoring team.
22 drop-out: A drop kick is taken from the 22m line if a team touches down in its own in-goal area but did not carry the ball over the try line, or if the ball is kicked over the dead ball line from any other play other than the kick-off. The ball only needs to cross the line, but if it goes directly into touch a scrum is awarded to the receiving team at the centrepoint of the 22m line.
Scrum: The eight forwards from each team bind together and push against each other. The scrum-half from the team that has been awarded possession feeds the ball into the centre of the scrum from the side most advantageous for his hooker. The ball must be fed straight down the middle of the tunnel and the hookers must not contest for the ball until it is put in. If they do, a free-kick is awarded for "foot up". The scrum is taken again if the ball comes straight out of the tunnel or if it collapses. If the scrum wheels more than 90 degrees the scrum is reformed and awarded to the other side.
Lineout: A maximum of seven and a minimum of three forwards line up parallel with each other between the five-metre and 15-metre lines. The hooker of the team in possession throws the ball in while his opposite number stands in the "tramlines" - between the touchline and the five-yard line. All players not involved in the lineout, except the scrum-half, must retire 10 metres. The ball must be thrown in straight down the middle of the lineout and the hooker must not cross into the field of play while throwing in. Jumpers can be lifted by their team-mates below the waist, but the opposition's jumpers must not be obstructed, barged or pulled down.
Hopefully this will give some of the US visitors an understanding of the glorious game