Winter!: Prepare for holiday gaming!
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Played by a number of countries throughout the world, EA Sports has released the first digital re-creation of the sport on the PlayStation 2, simply entitled Rugby. The official licenses from many of the sport's leading nations have been secured, allowing for over 600 real-life players and 23 stadiums to be included in the title. The objective is simple: two teams of 15 men attempt to score points by crossing the other's goal line with the ball, or by kicking the ball through the opposing team's posts. Players can only pass the ball backwards, and only the ball carrier may be tackled, impeding any other player will concede a penalty. Five points are awarded for a "try" (scored by placing the ball behind the opponent's goal line) and two for a conversion. Three points are awarded for any kick that bisects the goal posts during open play or from a penalty kick.
A range of moves can be performed, such as dummies, hand-offs, up-and-under kicks, grubber kicks, as well as punt or drop kicks. When the ball rolls out of the field of play, a lineout (two rows of men from each team) is called to contest possession of the ball. The Training mode allows players to learn the nuances of the sport and the control scheme, after which they can take part in four different forms of competition: The Tri-Nations, played by South Africa, New Zealand and Australia; the Six Nations, contested by Wales, Ireland, Italy, France, England, and Scotland; the EA Sports World Championship; and an Exhibition match.
Weather conditions and time of day can be altered, providing for games during the day, at dusk and at night, with conditions ranging from incessant rain to clear skies. Bill McLaren and Jamie Salmon provide the in-game color commentary. ~ Gavin Frankle, All Game Guide