Get Inspired: How to get into Rugby Union

What is a tackle?

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what is a tackle in Rugby Union?
Fast Answers
Why get into rugby union?If you enjoy being active and want to build your fitness and strength then this is the game for you.
Who is it for?It's one of the most inclusive sports around and there are various versions of the game that you can test out.
Is there a cheap option?You can just play touch rugby in the park with a bunch of friends or family, but joining a club can be inexpensive.
What if I want a proper workout?From scrummaging to tackling, to sprinting with the ball, this can be a high intensity workout that will boost both your fitness and your strength.
Can I take it to another level?Work your way up. Start with a club then look to your county and from there people will start noticing you.
Is there a disability option?Wheelchair rugby was a big hit at the 2012 Paralympics. There are now chances to have a go all over the UK.
Is there a family option?Most clubs will cater for all the family with kids' teams, and men's and women's teams for mum and dad.

Rugby union will teach you sportsmanship and teamwork like no other game. You'll test yourself physically and create special bonds with your team mates. It's a fantastic sport for developing all-round fitness as well as skills for life, especially teamwork. The great thing is you don't have to play the full contact version. There are clubs all over the UK that now offer Touch Rugby: you can have all the fun of running, passing and scoring without having to worry about tackling. The governing bodies for rugby in England,Scotland,Walesand Northern Ireland can help you find a club near you so you can have a go at either. Rugby World Cup 2015 has generated a wave of excitement around the sport and many more opportunities have been made available to everyone.


Wales wing George North scores a try

This is the most famous and popular version of the game. The aim is to score tries by passing the ball backwards using the hands. Teams are made up of eight forwards, who compete in the scrums and the lineouts, and seven backs who do most of the running and kicking. The skills and attributes you will benefit from depend on your position. Forwards are typically stronger, heavier and entrusted with the more physical aspects of the game. Backs need pace and agility. Contact England Rugby, Scottish Rugby, Welsh Rugby or Irish Rugby to find a club near you. Ulster Rugby also have a women's club finder.


Chris Robshaw and Tom Mitchell

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England captain Chris Robshaw and England Sevens captain Tom Mitchell give BBC Sport the lowdown on the Commonwealth and Olympic sport of rugby sevens.

This used to be viewed as a fun, smaller version of the 15-a-side game, but in recent years it has grown massively and now has its own dedicated following across the world. Sevens is a much faster and more open version of rugby as it's played on the same size pitch as 15-a-side but with less than half the number of players! There are only three forwards and four backs: speed and stamina are the essential ingredients. It will be in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games for the first time, with both men's and women's competitions. For more information in your region visit England Rugby , Irish Rugby, Scottish Rugby, or Welsh Rugby.

Women's rugby

Elen Evans

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Welsh rugby star's hectic schedule

The growing popularity of women's rugby in the UK can be seen through the success of the England team at the 2014 World Cup. It is incredibly popular at universities, and women's rugby clubs around the country are always looking for enthusiastic players and the next new pool of talent. So find your local club in England,Scotland,Walesand Northern Irelandto give it a go.

Tag rugby

kids playing tag rugby

This is the non-contact version of the game. Instead of tackling, players have to grab tags attached to the ball carrier's waist and shout "tag!". The pressure is then on for the ball carrier - they then have three seconds to pass the ball or lose it. This is the version of the game played in the Under-7 and Under-8 age groups and is a fantastic way to introduce children to the game. If you want to give tag rugby a go, you can find your nearest club via Try Tag Rugby and for Ireland visit Tag Rugby.

Touch rugby

Touch rugby

Played in much the same way as the Tag version, this is another non-contact game that removes elements like the scrum, the ruck and maul. Tackles are replaced by touches, which must be below the waist. This is a great activity for people looking to keep fit while playing a game that is energetic and fun. It can also be played in mixed teams. Whether you want to turn up and play with your mates or play in a league every week, England Rugby offer touch rugby sessions near you. For sessions in other regions visit the Wales Touch Association , the Irish Rugby or Scottish Touch.

Youth and junior rugby union

From a young age, rugby can be a great way for children to develop skills, stay active and have fun! From teaching them discipline and team work to helping them build a great network of friends, the sport can be played by children from as young as primary school age. In Northern Ireland, mini rugby is designed to introduce the sport to children and involves a smaller ball and pitch and reduced numbers. In Scotland and Wales a big emphasis is placed on physical, mental and emotional life-skills rugby can help develop using a progressive way of introducing the game to young players. As children enter secondary school, rugby can help develop skills such as respect and sportsmanship and throughout college and university, the camaraderie of being part of a sports team can have huge positive benefits.

Beach rugby

Feature - Beach Rugby

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With smaller pitches, fewer players and less rules to remember beach rugby is easily accessible to anyone who wants to get up and give rugby a try.

This is a version of Tag that's played on a beach. There are normally five or seven players on each team and 'tag' rules apply. It's a fun summer sport for all genders and all ages - a fast-paced game that can be played in mixed teams, and must be played without shoes or socks. Get bare-footed and have in the outdoors with sand between your toes!

Wheelchair rugby


Originally called "murderball", the game was hugely popular at both the 2014 Invictus and London 2012 Games. Its growing appeal means it is likely to feature prominently in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Teams can be made up of both men and women, where the ball is carried over a line to score, and it's incredibly competitive. The Great British Wheelchair Rugby site has a club finder, and even gives you the contacts to start your own. In Northern Irealnd you could also try Ulster Rugby.

Veteran's Rugby

older men playing rugby league

If you still have passion for the game but find your joints are just a little bit creakier than they used to be, the good news is that you can still play. Veteran leagues are played throughout the UK and are always looking for new players. Contact the rugby union association in Scotland,Wales,Northern Ireland or England to find a team near you.

Volunteering and Coaching

Rugby coaching

Rugby union is about more than players. The game cannot thrive without the army of coaches, referees and volunteers who give up their time week-in, week-out. Whether you have played in the past or just have a keen interest in developing talent, coaching opportunities are available in your area. Find out about becoming a coach in England,Northern Ireland,Wales and Scotland. You can also try Sports Coach UK. Find out about volunteering opportunities in Northern Ireland,Wales,England and Scotland.Volunteer Scotland,Join In UK, and Volunteer Now in Northern Ireland can also help you find a club that needs your 'hands on' attention.

Aspire to be like: Katy McLean

Inspire to be like Katy McLean

What's next?

1. Go to our Activity Finder to get into rugby union near you.

2. Search for your local club in England,Scotland,Walesor Northern Ireland.

3. Share your story and inspire others!

Are you inspired to try rugby union? Or maybe you are a keen enthusiast already? Get in touch and tell us your story by tweeting us on @bbcgetinspired, visiting us on Facebook or email us on

See our full list of activity guides for more inspiration.