So, if keeping up with Rugby Union wasn’t enough for you ladies and you’re eager for more, then fear not – you now have Rugby League to sink your teeth into.
The initial immediate difference between the two variations of the game is the amount of players each team is comprised of.
Rugby Union is made up of 15 players, where as Rugby League only 13. You will notice the physiques of the players within the two disciplines vary as well (it’s a REALLY TOUGH job noticing this, but someone’s got to do it!!)
Rugby League players are slightly more lean and compact, whereas Union players are more traditionally bulky. However – the physical differences are waning now as Union has become a more active and a professional sport (years ago, Rugby Union didn’t used to be a paid professional sport – hence the lack of fitness, whereas League was for the salaried ‘sportsmen’ in peak condition).
The games are very similar – the object is to carry the ball by passing it backwards or kicking it forwards to the other end of the pitch and carrying it over the line to score a ‘try’. Tackles should not be higher than waist up and no passing the ball forward ahead of play and the passing player. However there are slight differences in play, which we will now delve into.
Union is slightly more fluid and spontaneous whereas League is more play broken. This is due to the fact that there must be rules adhered to after a tackle.
In Union, after a tackle – play is started by the receiving team who were fouled/tackled, kicking/passing the ball behind and then playing on. Or if a team has snatched a ball from the opposing team – play doesn’t even stop – it continues towards the other end.
In League however after a tackle, the entire defending team must retreat ten metres back from the player with the ball with the exception of two players who are called markers. The player then rolls the ball backwards through their legs (while standing). This is called to ‘play the ball’ or ‘playing the ball’
After five tackles the attacking team must kick the ball, if they fail to do this and are tackled a sixth time the ball is passed to the opponents who play the ball back to their team in order to make an attack.
After five tackles the attacking team must kick the ball. If they fail to do this and are tackled a sixth time the ball is passed to the opponents who play the ball back to their team in order to start their attacking set of tackles.
The strategy behind choosing to kick the ball forward after the fifth tackle or to ‘run it’ and then have to hand it over to the opposing side after the 6th tackle depends on how deep you are in your own or the opposition’s half.
If you’re deep in your own half then you kick it forward so that the opposition have more ground to cover to score a try. If you’re deep in the opposition half then you may risk running the ball as you could score a try or a drop kick.
It is slightly more structured than Union and so is similar to American Football in that respect. Scoring is the same in terms of a try, a drop goal and a conversion.
The main difference is that a conversion kick can be drop kicked unlike Union, where it has to be off of a tee (..think the gorgeous Jonny Wilkinson or newby, Toby Flood and their little run up!).
There are a few more “involved rules” for the game – but as a general guide, we think this will keep you in the clear!
However, if it’s still a bit complicated look at it this way…. 26 prime specimens running about in one game –
What more does a girl want…..?!?!