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If you’re a rugby fan interested in underwater rugby, you might be disappointed — underwater rugby doesn’t have a lot in common with rugby football. However, underwater rugby is a new and unique sport that offers the same thrills, intense workout and teamwork.
Underwater rugby is most suited for athletes that love to be in the water, extreme sports and both mental and physical challenges. There aren’t any other requirements for players; you can be from any walk of life, any gender and any size or shape. You’ll still reap the benefits of underwater rugby that not only make you a better athlete but make you a better person as well.
Underwater Rugby Rules
Before you can begin reaping the benefits of underwater rugby, you must know how to get started.
Underwater rugby originated in Germany in the 1960s, before spreading to Scandinavia. The first championship was played in 1978, before which the rules had to be merged and established for future generations of players. Now, we play by the evolved rules, across more than a dozen countries.
The equipment required for underwater rugby is minimal. You’ll need a diving mask (low profile with wide peripheral vision); snorkel (with no purge valve); fins; and a water polo cap and swimmers. Additionally, some players also use neoprene socks to avoid blisters and fin keepers.
Of course, you’re going to need a pool. The standard underwater rugby pool is about 12–18 meters in length, 8–12 meters in width and 3.5–5 meters deep.
The ball used for the game is plastic, filled with saltwater, and the steel goals are placed at the bottom of each side of the pool.
A game is 30 minutes in length, with two 15-minute halves and a five-minute half-time break. Each team receives one, one-minute time out. Your team is made up of 15 players, 12 who are active and three potential substitutes. At any one time, six players are in the pool. Generally, each team has two forwards (centre and right), two backs and two goalkeepers or left wings.
At the start of the game, each team is on either end of the pool, with hands on the wall, with the ball in the middle of the pool at the bottom. A referee sounds a buzzer indicating the start of the game and both teams go for the possession.
The main goal throughout is to keep possession of the ball while scoring points on the opposing team, all while using your skills, speed and maneuverability. Since underwater rugby is a contact sport, you can attack players that have the ball to obtain it for your team (Infringements such as kicks, hits and strangling are determined by two underwater referees and one deck referee).
The Benefits of Underwater Rugby
Many underwater rugby players tell us that playing the sport makes them a better person physically and mentally. The benefits carry over out of the fitness centre and into their jobs and relationships.
The water aspect of underwater rugby taps into the general benefits of being around or in water, including decreased stress and improved alertness. Contact sports like underwater rugby likewise help you to release stress feeling more focused and mindful. Team sports also help you to develop cooperation and leadership skills, self confidence and better non-verbal cues (because, after all, you can’t speak underwater!).
Physical benefits include increased lung capacity and cardiovascular health, and overall increased fitness.
If you have ever thought about underwater rugby or are looking to try an emerging sport, Melbourne Underwater Rugby play their home games at MSAC and are seeking new team members.
Visit their website at https://www.muwr.org.au/