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Does Rugby Have A Chance To Succeed In America?

Submitted by on December 1, 2010 – 12:30 pm9 Comments

It’s extremely hard for a sport to infiltrate any country where it’s not already a national pastime, but by crikey Australian actor Russell Crowe is going to give it his best shot when it comes to educating those bloody yank drongos about his sport of choice, rugby.

Crowe is the owner of a team in the Australian NRL (National Rugby League), the South Sydney Rabbitohs, and if he gets his way, they’ll be playing in Las Vegas every year as part of a World Cup Challenge featuring the best teams from Australia and England.

In case you’ve never seen a game of rugby before—or you have, but had no idea what was going on—here’s a quick “Idiot’s Guide to Rugby.” We’ll put it in pseudo-NFL terms to help wrap your head around the concepts.

Each team has six downs (in rugby they’re simply called tackles) to work with.

Passing is laterals only—a forward pass or forward fumble results in a turnover.

No blocking.

To score you need to break the plane of the end zone and then ground the ball (you’d call it a touchdown, in rugby it’s called a “try”).

Without getting into the nitty-gritties, that’s essentially it. Oh, and there’s minimal padding used for protection on the player’s bodies. Also, everyone plays both ends of the field, offense and defense.

While soccer has had trouble breaking into the U.S., with the main complaints being the lack of scoring, could rugby—with its brutal, physical play and NFL-compatible scoring—ever establish a foothold in the land of Kobe Bryant, Tom Brady and that guy on the Miami Heat who makes a lot of excuses for losing?

Check out some NRL big hits below!

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