Rugby is a game with no rules (it only has laws) and only a little etiquette:
Someone is considered ‘touched’ if a defenders hand makes contact anywhere on the ball carriers body or limbs but not the head. Being touched in the head is what the spouse or partner of a player considers them to be. It is useful if the defender calls ‘touch’ (Francophiles may call touché) and a jolly good show if the ball carrier stops.
When touched or tackled the player should pass the ball back through their legs. If the ball carrier has steamed on through like one of Her Majesty’s Dreadnoughts then they should at least consider retreating back to the point where they were tackled or rolling the ball back to that point.
After a defender has made a tackle all of the defenders should move back 3 yards or 4 paces back from the where the tackle was made, this helps to make ensure that older players have a chance to catch their breath.
The player who picks the ball up after the tackle is known as a dummy half and whilst they can run away with the ball it is simply just not the done thing to score a try. Instead the ball should be passed to one of the older players puffing along like one of these new fangled steam trains.
When trying to defend it is impolite to slap the ball down – one should at least make the appearance of trying to intercept and catch the ball, apologizing profusely for your error. Alternative française: un haussement d’épaules gallique est autorisé.
Once one team or side has been tackled five time ones butler should be summoned to present the ball to the opposition. The ball should also be presented to the other team if a player travels outside either of the sidelines. Silverware should, of course, be used where available.
A try or score is awarded when a player crosses the line at either end of the field. It is considered improper for ladies and gentlemen of a certain age to have to bend over to put the ball down. Care should also be taken when pursuing a try scorer over the line as serious injury can occur if one collides with the boundaries of the estate.
Decorum should be maintained at all times and it is not good form to swear at other players – if one feels the need then the ball should be held responsible for all errors. Members of the clergy may, of course, condemn the ball to eternal damnation and anything said in Afrikaans that sounds like swearing isn’t and so may be safely ignored. Kicking of the ball is also frowned upon – if it was meant to be kicked it would have been round and called a football.
The wearing of an All Black shirt does not permit a player to follow the example of Mr Richie McCaw and remain in an offside position until he feels it convenient to move back to an onside position. This rule applies to all players including those recently returned from the colonies.