Do you want to find out which is the better game of rugby – rugby league or union? Look no further – this article will explain which has more advantages and help you make an informed decision. From professional academies to local clubs, each has its own unique set of benefits.
So let’s take a look at what both have to offer and decide which one is right for you!
Rugby league and rugby union are two distinct variations of rugby – a team sport developed during the 19th century in England. Both league and union games involve running with an oval-shaped ball and kicking goals, but there are major differences between the two. Rugby union is more popular internationally, while in Australia and New Zealand, rugby league is considered the more dominant code.
The differences between the two games largely relate to their origins, playing rules and environment of play. Rugby union features 15 players per side while the game of rugby league is played by 13 players per side. The layout of the field also varies between the two versions; in rugby union, it’s a longer oval shape while in rugby league it’s shorter and slightly wider than that of a traditional union pitch.
On top of these physical differences, there are several rules which follow each game. In rugby union, for example, scrums as well as lineouts can take place at any point after a tackle or accidental infringement has occurred, while often in rugby league kickoff situations are needed for them to come into play. Additionally kicking can only be done from beginning to end zones if within 40 meters while no such restriction applies in soccer union. Restrictions on passing also differ with kick passes allowed only within 10 meters within a set of six tackles scenarios when playing League whereas no such restrictions apply to Union.
History of Rugby League and Union
Rugby League and Union are two very distinct sports, but they share some common roots. The two were split over a disagreement on how the sport should be played in England in 1895. The basics of each game remain largely unchanged since that time, although there have been some rule changes to move with the times.
The name “rugby union” was coined by the English Rugby Football Union (RFU) which was formed at a meeting in 1871 by representatives of 21 clubs. Since that time, professional players and international matches have revolutionized this version of rugby, separating it into its own entity and distinct game from rugby league.
Rugby league was created as a reaction to this professionalization shortly afterwards in 1895 when 21 clubs who were unsatisfied with the RFU’s decision to pay some players broke away from the RFU to form the Northern Rugby Football Union (NRFU). This soon became known as Rugby League after further breakaway clubs joined to form a new organization known as The Northern Rugby League (NRL).
Similarities between both Union and League include common rules such as teams of 13 players on each side playing for 80 minutes, tackling opposing players with an aim to ground or stop them from advancing towards their goal line, uncontested scrums and kicking for kick-offs or conversions. However there are many differences between the games such as differing numbers of tackles allowed before possession is surrendered and different numbers boundaries for attack before the ball must be returned into play among others which makes each sport unique.
Rules and Regulations
Rugby league and rugby union have many similarities, but there are some key differences that can make a huge impact on the game. Let’s take a look at some of the major rules and regulations for each version of rugby.
Rugby League: In general, rugby league has fewer restrictions than rugby union. There are only 13 players per team (compared with 15 in UNION). Superleague, however, has introduced additional rules such as the 60/40 rule which ensures that League teams maintain their strength in defense by limiting the number of defensive players to no more than 60% at any given time. The Rules also limit tackles to 6 per set of six and allow opportunities for attacking teams to receive special play-the-ball advantages.
Rugby Union: Rugby Union is played by 15 players on each team with a total of up to 7 substitutes allowed on each side. The game is split into two halves, each half lasting 40 minutes plus stoppage time. Players are allowed a maximum of ten phases in attack before they must either score or turn-over ball possession to the opposition. Teams compete for possession through individual rucking and mauling – much like American Football – where players link arms and push towards the try line (goal line). Fouls such as off-side play and obstruction lead to penalty kicks within rugby union, while dangerous tackling can result in yellow & red cards being issued against offenders during games where safety is paramount.
Rugby league and rugby union have many similarities in terms of both the rules of the game and the way it is played on the field. The main physical difference between these two types of rugby lies in the number of players on each side. Rugby league typically has 13 players, while rugby union uses 15. This difference affects the playing styles and tactics employed by each team, as well as how they look to shape the game on a tactical level. It also impacts a player’s physical requirements to play either code – while some crossover between players may exist, those adapted to one code may have difficulty adapting to another due to the physical differences.
Rugby league requires greater power, speed and agility from its players than does rugby union which generally relies more on brute strength in attack and defense. In addition, because there are more players available when attacking, footballers in union will look to favour passing options over individual runs with ball in hand; this isn’t always true in a league where passing is not as much of a primary option due to fewer attacking threats. As a result, rugby union pushes for athletes that possess dexterity combined with strength while rugby league demands power and acceleration capabilities above all else.
Tactics and Strategies
Tactics and strategies are the very core of any competitive sport. Rugby league and union both have their own specific tactics and strategies that require different skill-sets from their players.
Rugby league is a continuous game that relies on quick, direct play with few restarts in order to take full advantage of the field’s open spaces. Players are encouraged to create running angles with quick, short passes to keep the opposition guessing where the ball will end up, especially when it reaches dummy half. League’s territorial gameplay favors direction over structure or set moves, relying on simplistic but effective game plans centered around gaining territory and avoiding handling errors.
On the other hand, rugby union is a stop-start affair especially due to its many scrums, lineouts and rucks; meaning teams must use set moves involving forward pods and backlines accordingly to outsmart their opponents during these stoppages. Union boasts an array of complex attacking structures that deliberately focus on manipulating open spaces without seeing defenders exposed to dangerous one-on-one scenarios while also offering multiple phases of attack. Accordingly, union requires players more prone to technical processes such as informed decision making in phases using set plays and forwards who can absorb pressure in contact situations suitable for long phases within their kicking game. These traits make union similar to international tests than traditional Aussie rules or Gaelic Football where explosive play was favored over arranged team plays.
Rugby League vs Union
Rugby league and union are both popular sports in a number of countries, but their popularity differs significantly across the globe. Rugby league is most widely played in Australia, England, France and New Zealand, whereas rugby union typically attracts more players in Argentina, Ireland and Wales.
The two sports have different points of origin. Rugby league is believed to have evolved from traditional working class football codes in Sydney during the late 19th century. The advent of professional leagues since 1895 has driven its international development and it remains now an established sport across Europe and Australasia. On the other hand, rugby union dates back to Victorian England where it originated as a sport among private British schools, ultimately developing an intensely elitist character that meant it stagnated for much of its existence.
As a result of these considerable differences in their respective histories and wider cultural appeal, rugby league enjoys higher participation rates than union across a number of major countries today. Preliminary analysis suggests that around 4 people engage with either version of the game for every thousand population on average – twice as many play league than union! Participation numbers continue to grow year on year however, indicating increasing global appreciation for both forms of rugby over time.
The two major professional rugby codes – Rugby League and Rugby Union – have their own distinct history and set of rules. Though they each evolved from the same mother game, there are key differences between the two.
Rugby League is played professionally in the UK and Australia, while Rugby Union can be found in those countries as well as others throughout Europe, South Africa and New Zealand. In both codes, strong rivalries have developed among competing teams, with huge crowds and immense media coverage due to the popularity of these sports.
Within professional Rugby League there are two main competitions – Super League (in Europe) and National Rugby League (in Australia). Super League is managed by the British Rugby Football Leagues (RFL) while the National Rugby League is managed by an independent body in Australia. Each season consists of twenty-one weekly fixtures competitively decided amongst fourteen teams separated into two divisions for each competition (Premiership and Championship). The winners of each respective division qualify for a playoff series to decide which team will be crowned that year’s Grand Final Champion team.
Professional Rugby Union is divided across several different countries operating in international leagues according to their respective unions’ governing bodies. In Europe this includes The Six Nations consisting of England, Scotland, Wales ,Ireland, France and Italy; while South Africa operates its very own league call the Currie Cup which features teams from South Africa’s top fourteen provincial unions; there are also several other leagues such as The Tri Nations a three-nation tournament featuring Argentina alongside New Zealand and Australia; plus various international club competitions like The European Challenge Cup featuring clubs from all over Europe annually competing for a single title.
Both rugby union and rugby league have a variety of rules and regulations, as well as variations according to different levels of competition, from schoolchildren’s teams to international teams. Ultimately, the decision of whether to play one or the other is based entirely on personal preference. Players must consider the different styles of tackling, attack strategies, physicality and rules which might decide their overall game experience.
The difference in these two sports makes it difficult to compare them directly but by comparing elements such as the tackle and kicks a more generalized conclusion can be made. Both sports have important roles in popular culture and are represented worldwide with huge support from fans around the globe.
As such, it would be fair to say that they are consummate opponents- inseparable leads in a unique sporting rivalry; or perhaps two parts of a whole; eternal rivals sharing oddly similar DNA.