The similarities and differences between rugby and football

By Metro Creative Connection

Fall and winter are prime seasons for scholastic athletes. Two of the more popular sports fans can enjoy this time of year include rugby and American football. These games share many similarities, but they also have some notable differences.

American football is played in many parts of the world, but it is most popular in the United States. Conversely, rugby is more internationally recognized and played in more countries than football.
Rugby is perhaps most popular in areas of northwestern Europe and portions of the southern hemisphere with ties to Great Britain. Both sports involve carrying a ball over the opposing team’s goal line. In football this is known as a touchdown. Football teams also can score points by kicking the ball between the goal posts, which is known as a field goal.

In rugby, the ball must not only be carried beyond the touch line, but then placed down, called a try. Points also can be scored by kicking the ball, known as a conversion, drop goal or penalty kick depending on the circumstances. Football has 11 players per team on the field, while rugby has 15 players. While football has unlimited substitution of players, rugby only allows seven depending on the tournament rules. Football includes a lot of stop-and go action. There are four 15-minute quarters and a halftime in professional and college football, while high school games feature four 12-minute quarters. The clock will stop frequently between plays. In rugby, the clock only stops for prolonged injuries, and there are two, 40-minute halves with a short halftime. American football is played with a spheroid ball that is slightly longer yet slightly lighter than a rugby ball. Stitching and seams on the football tend to make it easier to throw. A football game takes place on a field that is smaller than a rugby union pitch. Even though play in both rugby and football can be aggressive, football players wear more protective gear than their rugby counterparts. Rugby players are only allowed modest padding to protect their bodies.

Only a mouthguard (gum shield) is required. American football players are required to don helmets, shoulder and chest protection, upper leg padding, and mouthguards. American football and rugby are both intense and beloved sports.

Football is believed to have been derived from rugby, so it’s easy to see how there are many similarities among the two sports.