Twickenham might be considered the home of rugby but it appears Britons are baffled when it comes to some of the rules.

Even those planning to watch the forthcoming Rugby World Cup – billed as the third biggest sporting event on the planet – admit a failure to grasp some of the game’s key features.

The poll of 2,000 adults by Samsung, official partner of the RFU and England Rugby team, showed plenty of those planning to watch a game struggled with the finer points of the contact sport.

The offside rule – a notoriously tricky concept to grasp in football – was considered the most confusing for those polled (86%), while almost a quarter (23%) could not correctly identify what a person playing in the position of hooker does.


Key findings include 70% of respondents were unable to name a single member of the England squad, while 43% were unsure how long the game lasts (80 minutes). Less than half of those questioned (also 43%) knew the ball was passed backwards.

Almost a third (30%) in the study said they do not know a single line of rugby favourite Swing Low, Sweet Chariot – and they also confuse it with the hymn Jerusalem.

Lawrence Dallaglio, 2003 world cup winner and star of the Samsung School of Rugby, said: “This is a huge year for rugby.

“The game has its complexities so it is far easier and is far more enjoyable if you know your penalties from your drop goals.”