Wednesday 1st February 2023

Want to know more about Rugby before joining a society? Here’s a quick overview of the sport and what SSS has to offer.

One of Scotland’s most beloved sports, Rugby may seem complicated at first. The origins of Rugby are somewhat dubious, with one famous tale stating that William Webb Ellis invented the sport when he picked up a football during a school game in the town of Rugby, Warwickshire. While this isn’t confirmed, the unusual tale acts as a catalyst for the somewhat unusual nature of the sport.

Rugby has two popular variations, Rugby League and Rugby Union. As the specific rules of the game are extensive, a basic outline and comparison of the two variations will be outlined here. Players can score points in different ways in rugby matches. These are:

Try – A try is awarded when a team can get the ball into the end of the opposing team’s half (known as the try line). In Rugby Union, this will award the team five points whereas a try will be awarded four points in Rugby League. Scoring a try will also earn the team a conversion, which is a free kick of the ball from the point of the final play pass. A designated kicker will then have to kick the ball between the goalposts to earn the extra two points for a successful conversion.

Drop Ball  – A drop ball is when a ball is kicked between the goal posts during an active passage of play. This will gain three points in Rugby Union but only one in Rugby League.

Penalty – A penalty is awarded when a player is fouled by the opposition. A team may opt for a penalty kick, which must be placed between the goalposts. This will net you three points in Rugby Union and two in Rugby League.

There are many other rule differences between Rugby Union and Rugby League but they share the same common objective. Teams will try to gain points by using a mix of the mentioned methods. The winner is the team with the most points at the end of the game. Games last for 80 minutes in two forty-minute halves. Players are only allowed to throw the ball backwards, with forward play only allowed if the ball is kicked forward. Players are allowed to tackle each other. However, tackles deemed to be dangerous can result in penalties and the award of cards. A yellow card will cause the player to be removed from the pitch for ten minutes and a red will remove them permanently. Teams are not allowed to substitute removed players.

Scotland has been a very successful national Rugby Union team, having won the prestigious Home Nations and Five Nations tournaments 11 times each. Currently, they rank 7th in the world. Notable college/university alumni currently in the national team are Simon Berghan (Edinburgh Napier), James Bhatti (Edinburgh College) and George Horn (University of Edinburgh).

Scottish Student Sport collates a Rugby team to compete together every year, with two or three games available to the team. There are also BUCS Rugby leagues where universities compete against each other. To find out more, click here:

If you are interested in joining a Rugby club, click these links:


Abertay University:

Edinburgh College:

Edinburgh Napier (Men’s):

Edinburgh Napier (Women’s):

Glasgow Caledonian University (Men’s):–2

Glasgow Caledonian University (Women’s):–2

Heriot-Watt University:

Queen Margaret University (Men’s):

Queen Margaret University (Women’s):


University of Aberdeen (Men’s):

University of Aberdeen (Women’s):

University of Dundee (Men’s):

University of Dundee (Women’s):

University of Edinburgh:

University of Edinburgh (Touch):

University of Glasgow (Men’s):

University of Glasgow (Women’s):

University of St. Andrews:

University of Stirling (Men’s):

University of Stirling (Women’s):

University of Strathclyde (Men’s):

University of Strathclyde (Women’s):



Sports Chair:

Governing Body: Scottish Rugby –

Follow us at: #ScotStuRugby