What are the Key Differences Between Rugby Union and League?

What are the Key Differences Between Rugby Union and League?
Rugby Union and Rugby League are two distinct variations of the sport of rugby, each with its own set of rules and characteristics. Here are the key differences between Rugby Union and Rugby League:

Number of Players: In Rugby Union, each team consists of 15 players, whereas in Rugby League, there are only 13 players on each team. This difference in player numbers affects the overall gameplay and strategies employed.

Scoring: Both versions have similar scoring methods, with tries (touchdowns) worth five points. However, in Rugby Union, a successful conversion kick after a try is worth two points, while in Rugby League, it is worth only one point. Rugby Union also allows for penalty kicks and drop goals, which are not present in Rugby League.

Set Pieces: Rugby Union has more set-piece plays, including lineouts and scrums, which occur after the ball goes out of bounds or certain infractions occur. Rugby League has no lineouts, and scrums are replaced by a play-the-ball restart, where the attacking team gets possession after a tackle.

Tackling and Possession: In Rugby Union, the tackled player must release the ball, and both teams can contest possession on the ground. In Rugby League, the tackled player must play the ball backward with their foot, and the defending team must retreat a certain distance. This results in faster and more frequent phases of play in Rugby League.

Ruck and Maul: In Rugby Union, rucks and mauls occur after a tackle and involve players from both teams competing for the ball. In Rugby League, there are no rucks or mauls, and play continues immediately after a tackle.

Substitutions: Rugby Union allows for more substitutions during a match, with players being able to return to the field after being substituted. Rugby League has more limited substitutions and does not allow players to return once they have been substituted.

Duration of Play: Rugby Union matches generally last 80 minutes, divided into two 40-minute halves, with additional stoppage time. Rugby League matches last 80 minutes as well but are split into two 40-minute halves without added stoppage time.

These are some of the key differences between Rugby Union and Rugby League. While they share a common origin, the rule variations have led to distinct playing styles and strategies in each version of the game.

Photo: Pixabay (free) 

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