In Rugby Leage and Rugby Union, after a try has been scored, the scoring team has the opportunity to attempt a conversion.
A conversion is attempted through a place kick, the aim being to kick the ball over the crossbar
, and through the goalposts
. Typically, the ball is stood upright on the ground, using some form of tee
. Traditionally, is was a mound of sand
, which the ball would sit on top of. Lately though, plastic
kicking tees are becoming more common, for their ease of use, and because it's easier to place the ball in the perfect
The position a conversion is taken from on the field is directly related to where the try was scored. The kicker must place the ball in a direct line in front of where the ball was grounded, although how far back they place the ball is up to them. This means that a try which is scored closer to the posts will allow an easier conversion attempt, because the angle to the posts is less - thus a try scored directly under the posts will allow a conversion attempt from directly in front. A try scored in the corner produces a much more difficult attempt, because of the angle to the posts, and because the ball will need to be moved further back, to try to open the angle as much as possible.
A place kick is by far the most common way to attempt a conversion, however in some forms of the game, such as fast paced sevens football, a quicker dropkick may be used.
Goalkicking is a difficult thing to be good at, so teams will have a designated goalkicker. Really skilled goalkickers are highly valued, and can contribute many points in a game of football. A successful conversion nets the team two points - in rugby league this turns a four point try into six points, in rugby union, a five point try becomes seven. If you score 3 convertied tries in rugby league, it takes 5 unconverted tries to score more points.
And for heart stopping excitement, not much tops your team drawing level in the final seconds of the game, before the conversion is attempted after the final siren has sounded. Some of the most thrilling games ever played have been decided in this way. The goalkicker with the hope of both teams and their supporters riding on their kick, on the sideline, the opposition team's supporters causing deafening noise, drumming on the advertising signs ringing the ground. And the fate of the entire game rests on one person's shoulders. It's a wonderful thing!