In rugby, a conversion can often be a confusing part of the rules. Fans often don’t realise why the conversion is taken where it is. It seems like the kicker chooses where to take it from but this is not the case.
What determines where a conversion is kicked from? A conversion has to be kicked from any point perpendicular to where the try was scored. The kicker can choose where on this line the kick can be taken, regardless of distance from the try line.
It may sound confusing at first, but the conversion has to be taken at any point perpendicular to where the try was scored. Essentially, a conversion must be taken from in line from where the try was scored. So if the try was scored right next to the touchline, then the conversion must be taken from any point right next to the touchline.
Or if a try is scored right under the posts then the conversion should be taken in line with under the posts. The kicker can choose how far they want to take the kick back from the try line. What will often happen is the further away from the posts the try is scored, the further back the conversion will be taken.
This is because it opens up the angle for the kicker. Conversions from the sideline will usually be taken from beyond the 22 as this opens up the angle and makes the kick easier. Whereas a conversion from right in front of the post will likely be around 6 or 7 metres back as it is a relatively easy kick for most.
Before we go into the article, we just wanted highlight that if you are thinking of buying a rugby jersey then check out Fanatics who are official rugby retailers . Click here to be taken to their latest offers.
How far is a conversion kick in rugby?
The exact distance of a conversion in rugby depends on how far back the kicker wants to take the conversion. The conversion has to be taken from in line from where the try was scored. But the exact distance of the conversion is up to the kicker.
A conversion will usually get further away for a kicker the closer to the touchline the try was scored. This is because the angle is better for a conversion if you take it from further back if the conversion is closer to the touchline.
How much time are you allowed to take a conversion?
World Rugby have been looking for ways to speed rugby up. The game is often seen as being too slow and so World Rugby have found one way to speed up the game. One of those ways is to put a time limit on the amount of time you can have to make a conversion.
Kickers must take the conversion within 90 seconds of a try being scored. This rule was also implemented to reduce the amount of time taken when a kicker is attempting a penalty kick, with the time limit on that being 60 seconds.
One of the ways that rugby has tried to enforce this rule is by introducing a shot clock. This will be a separate clock that starts when a try is scored and is designed to make it easier to see if the kicker has gone over the allotted time for a conversion. It has been introduced in the Six Nations in 2023.
How do you kick a conversion?
There are two different ways that you can kick a conversion. The first way is the main way that conversions are kicked. The large majority of conversions are attempted using a place kick. This means the kicker will place the ball on a kicking tee and kick the ball from there.
As the ball is completely still, it is the most accurate way to kick a conversion. However, it does take some time to set it up because the kicking tee has to be brought onto the pitch. Usually one of the water boys will need to bring the tee onto the pitch but it is still the most common conversion kick as it is by far the most accurate.
The other way to kick a conversion is through a drop goal. You are allowed to kick a drop goal as a conversion, but this method is rarely used. That is because drop goals are much less accurate than kicking a conversion from the tee. However, it does take a lot less time to set up than kicking from the tee.
So you will see teams kick a conversion with a drop goal if they are losing and have scored under the posts and there is not much time remaining in the game. Kicking a conversion by a drop goal will save a lot of time.
Can you charge down a conversion kick?
A conversion is a method of scoring in rugby. It may look like a place kick that should be easy, but there are plenty of examples of a conversion being charged down.
You can charge down a conversion kick once the goalkicker has begun their run-up. The kicker of a conversion will need a run-up before they actually kick the ball. The team who have just conceded the try are allowed to begin charging down the kick once the kicker has begun their run-up.
The defending team has to start on their own try line and because of this, it is incredibly rare that a team will actually be able to charge down a conversion. The kicker’s run-up is pretty short and so kicks rarely get charged down. But there have been cases of a conversion being charged down because the referee believes the kicker has started their run-up before the kicker does.
What position takes conversions in rugby?
The majority of the time, the fly half will be the player who takes the conversion in rugby. However, this is not always the rule and it does not have to be the fly half which is the best kicker in a team.
In some teams, you will see the fullback, scrum half or one of the centres who takes the conversions. Guys like Leigh Halfpenny, Greg Laidlaw and Matt Burke have all been the team’s choice to take a conversion even though they are not fly-halves.