Rugby Union vs Rugby League - What’s the difference? Rugby Union vs Rugby League - What’s the difference?

Rugby Union vs Rugby League – What’s the difference?

Rugby Union vs Rugby League - What’s the difference

Everything began in 1823, when a young kid named William Ellis picked up the ball and then ran with it at a football match. This was where the concept of rugby was formulated.

Take a look at the present day and you will see that both rugby union as well as rugby league are extremely popular sports in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and other areas of the world. Sporting events are already thrilling enough, but some followers also make a small bet on the outcome, that gets them some money and helps make the win considerably nicer. Betting games have become a popular pastime for many individuals, in large part due to the availability of a mobile and online casino or sportsbook version. There’s a lot of movement and excitement in a rugby match, which makes it a popular sport to bet on.

Rugby League & Rugby Union are two distinct forms of the sport, and each has its own distinct perks and limitations. These sports may appear to be identical, yet the strategies, game administration, and styles of play of each are vastly different. Both versions of Rugby will be covered here, with the distinctions and similarities highlighted throughout.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) was established in 1871 with the goal of regulating what may occur during a rugby match. Their refusal to become pro, though, caused several players to develop their alternative code, with Yorkshire clubs going outside the regulations and compensating working-class players because they intended to recompense them for absence from work. In today’s England, Rugby League is more prevalent in the north while Rugby Union is more popular in the south.

When addressing the differences between rugby league and union, it’s crucial to stress out that the 2 versions of rugby exhibit a number of parallels.


• The Game Ball

Oval or elliptical balls are used in both the categories and may be pushed forward in 3 ways; it’s the same in both types of rugby. Through kicking it, sprinting with it, or as a consequence of a set piece. Sideways as well as backwards movement is also possible, but just not forward.

• The Purpose of Play

Both sides strive to triumph by achieving greater points than their rivals through drop goals, conversions, tries, and penalty goals in both the forms of the games.

• Scoring

When a player makes contact with the ball beyond the other team’s goal line, a try is recorded in both the variants. Conversions are then permitted for teams to try and score two additional points.

• Tackling

The sole person authorised to be tackled in rugby union as well as league is the player who is holding the ball. And in both disciplines, play is restarted with the ball being passed to a new player, although the methods of doing so vary.

What are the Differences Between Rugby Union and Rugby League?

In the early days of rugby union, it was referred to as “rugby football.” A group of English clubs created the RFU in 1871, before the sport moved to New zealand And Australia.

Proposals to compensate rugby union players for missing work during matches were rejected in 1892. Lancashire’s top clubs backed Yorkshire’s efforts to create the Northern RFU or NU in 1895.

The officials imposed fines on the breakaway group’s club teams, players, and authorities, resulting in the formation of two different codes – ‘rugby union’ for the RFU code and ‘rugby league’ for the NU code. When it comes down to it, this is how the two sports came to have different sets of rules in the first place.

For example, there is a tiny variation in the two balls used in today’s game. In terms of dimensions, rugby league balls are somewhat larger and have more sharp edges than rugby union balls.



Most people consider rugby union to be middle-class, while rugby league is considered to be a working-class sport. This is especially true in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia, to name a few. Choosing between rugby union and rugby league might be a difficult decision.

Aspects such as pitch size

As for pitch size, rugby league has pitches measuring between 112 and 122 mts in length, and the length between the try-lines generally being 100 mts. A rugby union pitch is somewhere between 106 and 144 mts long by 68 to 70 mts broad, with the space between try-lines ranging from 94 to 100 mts.

Aspects such as pitch size

Inconsistencies in the rule of law

Inconsistencies in the rule of law

The biggest difference between rugby union and league is that in rugby union, every squad has 15 members, but in rugby league, every team has 13 teammates. In rugby league, you can make 10 substitutes, but in rugby union, you can only make 8. Rugby league fields are smaller because there are fewer players on the field.


While both codes have fairly similar rules regarding tackles, rugby league players are permitted to still utilise their legs to knock their rival down if they have both arms on them. A play the ball happens when a tackle is made in a league game, allowing the tackled player to return the ball to a teammate. Union, on the other hand, is a fast-paced game, and a ruck is typically formed to challenge the ball.


The scoring method

The scoring method

Distinctions in the points granted between rugby league and union may be seen in the scoring system. It is valued 5 points in union, and 4 in league, however a try is the primary method of scoring for both games. In union, a drop goal is worth 3 points, however in league it is only worth 1 point. In union, penalty goals are awarded 3 points, but in league, they are for 2 points.


Rugby league looks to be falling behind its nearest rival in the popularity ratings, at least. The “working class” origins of the sport tend to reverberate most strongly in New Zealand, England, and Australia, where it is a prominent game.

As a result of the prohibition of rugby league in the British Armed Forces in the beginning of the twentieth century, rugby union has gained a significantly greater global popularity.


Rugby Union vs. Rugby League: Which Is Better?

We don’t mean to seem like we are giving the most generic response imaginable, but that truly comes down to personal choice. Rugby union is the sport of choice if you’re looking for an all-action, end-to-end extravaganza, with exhilarating sprints and passes and various, frenetic kicking plays. Rugby league, on the other hand, is more suited to those who enjoy a more traditional style of play that emphasises tackling, kicking, and pure willpower.

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Post Name : Rugby Union vs Rugby League – What’s the difference?

Posted On : 07/11/2021

Author : Cameron Riddell