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What Is a Try and How Is It Scored?

Rugby players huddled on the field with a crowd watching in a large stadium at night.

Understanding the scoring system in rugby can be as exhilarating as the game itself, yet it sometimes leaves fans scratching their heads. The ‘try’ is not just a pivotal moment on the pitch; it’s also where most of the points come from.

This blog post will dive into what a try is and how players earn those much-celebrated points, giving you clearer insight into one of sports’ most dynamic scoring methods. Let’s unravel this together – read on!

Key Takeaways

  • A try in rugby is when a player grounds the ball in the opposition’s ingoal area and it earns five points, showcasing both teamwork and individual skill.
  • There are differences between scoring a try in Rugby Union and Rugby League, with variations in point values from conversions following a try; two points for rugby union and either one or two points for rugby league.
  • Penalty tries can be awarded if foul play by the defending team prevents what would have been a certain try, granting seven points to the attacking team without needing a conversion kick.
  • Other than tries, players can also score through penalties worth three points, conversions after tries, and drop goals which count for three points in union and one point in league games.
  • The value of a try has evolved over time from one point to five today, signifying its increasing importance as part of strategic gameplay within matches.

Basics of a Try: Explained

To score a try in rugby, players must ground the ball in the opposition’s ingoal area. It’s not enough just to cross the goalline; control is key as they have to physically press it down for points to count.

This action earns the team a chance at further points through a conversion kick. In cases where foul play prevents what would have been a certain try, referees can award a penalty try instead.

Scoring tries forms the core of rugby strategy and excitement on pitch, whether it be in Rugby Union or Rugby League games. A successful attempt reflects skillful teamwork and individual prowess – dashing past opponents, sidestepping tackles, and finally touching down behind enemy lines signals triumph that rouses fans from their seats.

Next up: delving into how these momentous efforts translate into points on the scoreboard.

Scoring a Try

A try in rugby is when a player grounds the ball on or over the opposing team’s goal line. In both rugby union and league, a try is worth five points, but there are variations in how the scoring is implemented between the two.

Definition of a try in rugby

A try is a fundamental method of scoring in both rugby union and rugby league football. It is achieved by grounding the ball in the opposition’s in-goal area. The term “try” likely originates from players “trying” to ground the ball within this area, which earns an impressive five points in today’s game.

Additionally, if a player would have scored a try, but foul play by the defending team prevents it, then a penalty try can be awarded.

This method serves as one of the primary ways for teams to accumulate points during a match. Furthermore, understanding this basic component is crucial for fans wanting to appreciate and enjoy the dynamics of rugby matches fully.

How to score a try in rugby union and league

To score a try in rugby union, a player must carry or ground the ball in the opposition’s in-goal area. Meanwhile, scoring a try in rugby league involves similar principles but with some variations. Here’s how to score a try in both versions of the game:

  1. In rugby union, a player must carry the ball and touch it down past the goal line within the opponents’ in-goal area.
  2. Conversely, in rugby league, grounding the ball over the try line constitutes scoring a try.
  3. After successfully grounding the ball, players can earn five points for their team.
  4. A successful conversion kick following a try is worth two points in rugby union and one or two points in rugby league.
  5. Penalty tries may also be awarded if a player would have scored a try were it not for foul play by the defending team.
  6. It is essential to understand these key differences when scoring tries between rugby union and league games to fully appreciate each version of the sport.

Variations between the two

Rugby union and rugby league have distinct differences in their rules for scoring a try. In rugby union, a try is worth 5 points, and after scoring a try, the team has an opportunity to kick for 2 additional points through a conversion.

On the other hand, in rugby league, a try is also worth 4 points, but conversions can be either 1 or 2 points depending on where the player takes the kick from. Additionally, while both versions of the game share similar principles when it comes to grounding the ball over the goal line within your opponent’s territory as part of scoring a try, there are variations in how each code interprets certain aspects of play such as tackling and possession.

Point Value of a Try

The point value of a try has changed over time, but currently, a try is worth five points in rugby union. To learn more about the importance of scoring a try in rugby, continue reading.

Changes in point value over time

The value of a try in rugby has changed significantly over time. Originally, a try was worth only one point, but as the game evolved, its value increased to five points. This change reflects the growing significance of scoring a try and its impact on the overall outcome of matches.

The shift in point value emphasises the dynamic nature of rugby and how rules have adapted to enhance the excitement and competitiveness of the game.

Rugby fans may find it interesting that what was once a relatively modest scoring method has become a pivotal aspect of the sport. As teams strategise and execute plays to secure a try, they are now rewarded with more points than ever before.

Current value of a try (five points)

After undergoing changes in point value over time, the current worth of a try in rugby stands at five points. This evolution from its original single-point scoring reflects the increasing importance of tries in modern rugby games, adding an extra layer of excitement and strategic significance to each attempt.

When a player successfully grounds the ball within the opponent’s in-goal area, it now results in a valuable five-point addition to their team’s score. This adjustment has been pivotal in elevating the significance of scoring tries and shaping the dynamics of competitive play, making each successful try a crucial turning point during matches.

Other Methods of Scoring in Rugby

Penalties, conversions, and drop goals are other methods of scoring in rugby that players can use to gain points during a match. If you want to learn more about the different ways to score in rugby and their significance in the game, keep reading!


In rugby, penalties can be awarded for various infractions such as offsides, high tackles, or deliberate knock-ons. A team can choose to kick for touch to gain territory or attempt a penalty goal worth three points.

Additionally, if the opposition repeatedly commits fouls near their try line, the referee may award a penalty try which automatically grants the attacking team seven points without requiring a conversion.

Penalty kicks are crucial in rugby as they offer teams the opportunity to secure valuable points and gain strategic advantages on the field. The decision between going for touch or attempting a kick at goal requires careful consideration based on the scoreline and tactical circumstances of the match.


After scoring a try in rugby, the team has the opportunity to earn additional points through a conversion kick. In rugby union, a successful kick is worth two points while in rugby league it can be either one or two points, depending on where the kick was taken from and how it was awarded.

To attempt a conversion, the attacking team will take their kick from a position perpendicular to where the try was scored.

The conversion adds an extra layer of strategy and skill to the game as teams seek to maximise their point-scoring opportunities following a try. It also serves as an exciting moment for fans, adding tension and drama as teams aim to secure those valuable additional points.

Drop goals

Scoring in rugby isn’t limited to tries; drop goals also play a crucial role. A drop goal is scored during open play by dropping the ball onto the ground and then kicking it as it bounces.

It’s worth 3 points in rugby union, while in rugby league, a field goal, similar to a drop goal, rewards 1 point. This method of scoring can be especially strategic when teams are tied or seeking to secure a victory with minimal time left on the clock.

In both forms of rugby, players can attempt drop goals from any location on the field during active play. Unlike conversions following tries or penalty kicks awarded for infringing offenses, executing a successful drop goal requires swift decision-making and precise technique under pressure.

Conclusion: Importance of the Try in Rugby and How It Enhances the Game

The try is a fundamental aspect of rugby, offering an exhilarating way to score points. Grounding the ball in the opposition’s in-goal area demonstrates skill and agility. The evolution of the point value for a try reflects its significance in the game’s dynamics.

This scoring method adds excitement and intensity to every game, making it an essential element of rugby.


1. What is a try in rugby?

A try in rugby is when a player puts the ball down on the ground in the opponent’s ingoal area, earning points for their team.

2. How many points does a team get for scoring a try?

When a team scores a try, they are awarded five points as part of the rugby point system.

3. Can you explain how to score a try?

To score a try, carry or kick the ball across the opposing team’s goalline and touch it down in their ingoal area.

4. What happens if there’s an illegal play but I was about to score a try?

If there was foul play by your opponents that prevented you from scoring what would have been an obvious try, you might be awarded what’s called ‘penalty try’ worth five points.

5. Is touching down like scoring tries similar to touchdowns in other sports?

Yes, while different sports use different terms and rules; touching down with control over the ball beyond Rugby’s goalline resembles how players achieve touchdowns.

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