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8 insanely popular sports that are rarely played in the U.S.

By: Josh Lew on July 2, 2014, 10:35 a.m.

Photo: Hamish/Flickr

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The U.S has a national rugby team, and the sport is played on some college campuses. But these teams have had limited success in international competition.

Rugby dominates the sports scene in the U.K., Ireland, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the island nations of the South Pacific. Some think of rugby as a kind of padless football. Unlike American football, however, the ball cannot be passed forward — it must be kicked forward — and most strategies involve backward lateral-style passes meant to move the ball quickly to the weakest point in the opposing team’s defense. Teams score by kicking the ball through field-goal-post-like uprights. A team can get more points with a “try,” which occurs when any player touches the ball at any point behind the goal line.