7 Rugby Terms You May Not Be Familiar With

7 Rugby Terms You May Not Be Familiar With

The game of rugby has a number of unique phrases and terms, and we're here to help clear some of these up.

Jun 25, 2020 by Alex Rees
7 Rugby Terms You May Not Be Familiar With

The sport of rugby features members and participants from every corner of the world, so naturally you will hear various bits of lingo around the game. If you're new and learning about the sport, one of the best things to do is watch rugby and listen to the commentators, who will explain what is going on and why. 

However, as alluded to before, these commentators could be English, or Aussie, or South African, or Kiwi, or from anywhere, and will likely be throwing around terms that you've never heard before. To help clarify some of these rugby terms, we've compiled a list of seven phrases or terms you may not be as familiar with:

1.) The "Garry Owen"

Named after the Garryowen Rugby Football Club in Limerick, Ireland, the Garry Owen is when a player boots the ball high in the air and runs under it and contests for it in the air. Also known as the "up and under," the Garryowen RFC used it to great success in the 1920's and to this day the move is named after them. 

2.) "On the Trot/On the Bounce"

Some times you'll hear people say, "They've lost four on the bounce," or, "That's three wins on the trot" in reference to a team. These are just other ways of saying "in a row." For instance, the Blues, having won six straight games at the moment, have "won six on the trot/bounce."

3.) "Hoof It Downfield"

Whenever you hear a coach, a commentator, or a teammate say to "Hoof it downfield," or to "Give it a hoof," they're talking about punting the ball. More often than not, a good hoof is a punt that travels a long distance. 

4.) "Dummy Runner"

A dummy runner is a player who runs an attacking line for a pass, but does not receive the ball. They are called a "dummy runner" because they are just meant to fool the defense into thinking they are getting the pass. 

5.) "Pilfer/Poach/Jackal"

Whenever there is a tackle, and a player from the defending team reaches down to steal the ball from the tackled player, this can be called a number of things, including a pilfer, a poach, or a jackal. In the United States we tend to call this a "poach," while in the U.K. they use the term "pilfer," and in the Southern Hemisphere they call it a "jackal."

6.) "Five-Eighth/Fly-Half/First-Receiver"

There are numerous different names for the player that wears the #10 jersey. In New Zealand and in Australia, they tend to call this player the "first five-eighth", while in most other countries this player is known as the "fly-half." Another colloquial term for this player is simply "first-receiver." Interestingly enough, in New Zealand, they call the #12 the "second five-eighth," whereas in the rest of the world this player is known as the inside center. 

7.) "Meat Pie"

A meat pie is the best thing you can get on a rugby pitch... It's another term for a try!