Rugby Terms
Northern Provincial Rugby

Rugby Terms

Rugby Terms

If only he'd learnt the lingo

With the introduction of the Melbourne Rebels to the Super rugby competition, there are probably a few folk from down south who have been raised on a diet consisting of the World’s Greatest Game, played only in Melbourne (which is the world’s sporting capital, so maybe, at a stretch that works), so things are going to be a little confusing for you.

In order to ease the transition for you, we at Green and Gold Rugby have put together a little list of some of the terms you may encounter as you set out on your journey with the Game the Play in heaven, and now Melbourne too.

Cap: When a player is selected and makes the field, they are awarded a “cap”. When you read that a player has earned their 50th cap, you know they have played in 50 games for that team. In general, backs refuse to wear these because of the negative impact on their hairstyles

Conversion: Whenever a team scores a try, they get to attempt a goal, if they kick the goal, they earn an additional 2 points. It also refers to a player coming from another sport, usually Rugby League. When they return because it is all too hard for them, they are referred to as a Failed Conversion.

Hooker: One of the primary sources of the saying “What goes on tours stays on tour”, to aid in cover stories it is also the name of the one of the positions

As a condition of signing with the Rebels, Cippers wanted a soft bench

BBQ Rugby: A term used to describe the kind of rugby you would love to watch while hosting a BBQ. Also the favoured style of the QLD Reds, so named as it gives them the opportunity to host said BBQs while watching the finals.

Marquee player: Overpaid, overseas player who sits on the reserves bench and pouts. see Danny Cipriani or Sos Anesi

Try: This is the primary scoring method outside of England and South Africa. It is scored by placing the ball on the ground in the in goal area

Bombing a Try: When a try looks likely to be scored only to fail through an act of stupidity by a player or players of the attacking team. see Western Force

Drop Kick: This is a very common rugby term. A player drops the ball from their hand. After it touches the ground, they can kick it. They can score points doing this as well. This is known as a drop goal. This is the primary scoring method in England and South Africa

Running rugby: A term used to describes a style of rugby that is both winning and entertaining. Not widely understood in NSW. see Phil Waugh

Deposit in belief: No one has any idea what this actually means but a favourite term used by some coaches. see Robbie Deans

Collapsed scrum: When a front row cannot sustain the pressure being applied to it by an opposing front row during a scrum. see Salesi Ma’afu.

Demonstation of the alternate side step

Side-step: A method of evading the opposition by using footwork to change direction rapidly. Most often used in attack but has been used on occasions in defence. see Quade Cooper.

JO’N: John O’Neill, the tyrant king of Australian rugby and noted Melbourne Rebels hater. see Gary Gray.

Garryowen: A ball which is kicked high in the air with no particular attacking intent other than getting the other team to drop it. Attacking method favoured in some countries. see South Africa and England.

That should be enough to get you started.

If you think I have missed any, let me know in the comments.

  • Love it

  • Ha ha ha! I liked the definition of a failed conversion most of all.

  • The Mayor of Perth

    Reserves: What the ARU used to have in abundance but, sadly, cannot even be replenished by a naming rights sponsor for Super Rugby (Why did Investec dump Oz for NZ?). See also numbers 16-22.

  • haha marquee player is my fave!! See Danny Cipriani

  • D.

    I was lost by the term “falcon” when Beale took the ball to the face. From what I read, it’s a mungo term right?

    I was also amused at Marto’s term “Poofter tape” at the start of last season. He was referring to the Kinesio tape, that new sports tape that is supposed to help with healing muscles.

    • Yeah, Falcon is a Mungo term, it was coined when Mario “Falcon” Fenech got hit in the head with the ball, and has spread from there.

      • D.


      • Kinghitz

        Actually it was Mario Fenench the Maltese Falcon who was renown for his lack ball skills and bone head that came into contact with the ball on many occasions during his long career.

  • Bobas

    People employed to pick a team who haven’t ever watched rugby before. See the Rebels line-up and note that Higginbotham is on the bench for the Reds.

  • Kinghitz

    Perhaps and alternative to ‘drop kick': pejorative term applied to opposition players renown for habitual cheap shots and dirty play, see Bakkies Botha.

    • dew-1

      I was expecting to read that too. I’m not sure how you missed the pun on drop-kick!

      But otherwise good job.

  • Great stuff Timmsy.

    Attractive Rugby: The delusion one suffers when making an argument that scoring fewer tries, making fewer metres and winning fewer games is a good thing. See: Queensland Reds.

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  • Skip

    Sin Binning. Results in being sent from the field for 10 mins for committing a deliberate penalty, a string of penalties or a dangerous foul. Applies to all sides except New Zealand and Bakkies Botha. The latter instead receives one per match in lieu of a red card and prior to a citing.

  • Henry

    “BBQ Rugby…Also the favoured style of the QLD Reds, so named as it gives them the opportunity to host said BBQs while watching the finals.”


  • redbull

    great laughs.

    If this is for the consumption of our southern cousins you should have added to Conversion that a point is not awarded for missing.

    • Of course. Bloody free points.

      Interestingly, a rushed behind, I remember watching a sports show before I knew much about other sports and the scrolling ticker was rattling off scores and such, and this guy rushed, was scoring heaps of points, but always behinds. I thought if he could pick up his accuracy, he would be a gun…

  • Pedro

    Tough Guy Stickers- Tattoos/Tramp stamps etc. Ink injected under the skin to give a player an inflated sense of their own “edgyness”, see nearly everyone/Drew Mitchell’s arse.

  • Gallagher

    I always read G&GR before any Rugby game kicks off, the expectation and anticipation of such Gold is almost as high as the first game of the year, Awesome Stuff Mr Timms!

Northern Provincial Rugby

Steve Timms, He likes watching the odd game of Rugby, occasionally writes about it.. Proud member of the original Mudchooks.

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