Comparison of rugby league and rugby union
Comparison of rugby league and rugby union is possible because of the games' similarities and shared origins.
|Rugby League playing field|
Initially, following the 1895 split in rugby football, rugby league and rugby union differed in administration only. Soon, however, the rules of rugby league were modified, resulting in two distinctly different forms of rugby. After 100 years rugby union joined rugby league, and most other forms of football, as an openly professional sport.
|Rugby Union playing flied|
The inherent similarities between rugby league and rugby union has at times led to the possibility of a merger being mooted and experimental hybrid games have been played that use a mix of the two sports' rules.
The precursor to both rugby union and rugby league was rugby football. During this early period different schools used different rules, on many occasions agreeing upon them shortly before commencement of the game. In 1871, English clubs met to form the Rugby Football Union (RFU).
Rugby football spread to
and Australia , with games being played in the early to mid nineteenth century. In
1892, charges of professionalism were laid against Yorkshire clubs after they
compensated players for missing work. A proposal to pay players up to six
shillings when they missed work because of match commitments was voted down by
the RFU. On New Zealand 27
August 1895, prominent Lancashire clubs declared that
they would support their Yorkshire colleagues in their proposal to form a professional Northern Union and the Northern
Rugby Football Union, usually called the Northern Union (NU), was formed. The
rugby union authorities issued sanctions against clubs, players and officials
involved in the new organisation, extending to amateurs who played with or
against Northern Union sides. After the schism the separate codes were named
"rugby league" and "rugby union".
In 1906, All Black George William Smith joined with Albert Henry Baskerville to form a team of professional rugby players. George Smith cabled a friend in
professional matches were arranged between a NSW rugby team before continuing
onto the Sydney . This game was played under the rugby union laws and it wasn't
until the team, nicknamed the All Golds, arrived in UK Leeds that they learnt the new Northern Union laws. Meanwhile
in a meeting was organized to look at forming a professional rugby
competition in Sydney . The meeting resolved that a "New South Wales Rugby Football
League" (NSWRFL) should be formed, to play the Australia Northern Union rules. The first
season of the NSWRFL competition was played in 1908, and has continued to be
played every year since.
During rugby league's 1921–22 Kangaroo tour of
, the Northern Rugby Football Union tried to arrange a match in Great Britain , but
opposition from the Rugby Football Union-aligned French Rugby Federation made
it impossible. In France rugby league split from rugby union in the 1930s. In
1948 the French instigated the formation of the International Rugby League
Board as the world governing body for rugby league. Paris , France , New Zealand and Britain (who joined a few months later) were the founding countries. The
International Rugby Football Board (IRFB) had formed prior to the schsim in
1886 and remained the international governing body for rugby union, although it
originally only consisted of Australia , England , Wales
and Ireland . Scotland , Australia and New Zealand joined the
IRFB in 1948, South
Africa in 1978 and France , Argentina , Canada and Italy in 1991. Japan
26 August 1995
the IRFB, now known as the International Rugby Board, declared rugby union an
"open" game and thus removed all restrictions on payments or benefits
to those connected with the game. According to The New York Times at the time,
"Thirteen-man rugby league has shown itself to be a faster, more open game
of better athletes than the other code. Rugby union is trying to negotiate its own escape from amateurism, with
some officials admitting that the game is too slow, the laws too convoluted to
attract a larger TV following".
The oldest international rugby union competition is the Six Nations Championship, starting in 1883 with games played between England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland. France joined in 1910 and Italy in 2000. In 1996 the Southern Hemisphere teams of South Africa, Australia and New Zealand started their own annual international competition known as the Tri Nations; it adopted its current name of The Rugby Championship when Argentina joined in 2012.
Rugby union had previously been a medal sport at four Olympic games, in Paris (1900), London (1908), Antwerp (1920) and Paris (1924), and will return to the Olympics in 2016 and 2020 in the sevens form. Rugby union sevens is a core event at both the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games.
The major annual international competition in rugby league is the Four Nations, first played in 1999. It originally involved Britain, Australia and New Zealand before expanding to include a fourth invited nation in 2009. Rugby league introduced its World Cup in 1954 and it has been held intermittently since, in various formats. Rugby union's first World Cup was held in 1987 and it is contested every four years.
American football (known as football in the United States) is a sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field 120 yards long by 53.33 yards wide with goalposts at each end. The offense attempts to advance an oval ball (the football) down the field by running with or passing it. They must advance it at least ten yards in four downs to receive a new set of four downs and continue the drive; if not, they turn over the football to the opposing team. Most points are scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.
|American Football playing field|
American football evolved in the United States, originating from the sport of rugby football. The first game of American football was played on November 6, 1869, between two college teams, Rutgers and Princeton, under rules resembling rugby and soccer. A set of rule changes drawn up from 1880 onward by Walter Camp, the "Father of American Football", established the snap, eleven-player teams and the concept of downs, and later rule changes legalized the forward pass, created the neutral zone and specified the size and shape of the football.