As we discussed in the history page, the game of rugby league came from rugby union. In this section, we will take a look at some of the distinctive qualities that make rugby league different from rugby union. Before we consider differences, it might be useful to highlight some of the similarities between the two games.
Firstly, they both use the distinctively shaped oval ball. They both use the same scoring method of tries, conversion and drop kicks and they also both play for 80 minutes, unless extra time is required in case of injury or a draw. However, points are worth more in the game of rugby union than they are in a game of rugby league. A two-point conversion is worth 3 points in the game of union.
Tackling is different in the two games, not so much in when or how you tackle but more so in how the game progresses after the tackle. Once a player is immobilised on the ground, which is considered a tackle in both games, in rugby union they must play the ball straight away, in essence the game does not stop. In league, however, the game stops and the team play the ball again from a fresh position.
Another difference between the two games is the size of the pitch, it is slightly bigger in rugby union than it is in rugby leave, though not by much it has to be said. Union is 144 metres long by 70m wide while a league pitch is between 112 and 122 metres long by 68m wide.
The term sin bin was invented by the game rugby league for when a player is sent off for a foul, union also adopted a similar practice in the 1970’s though it didn’t formally come into practice until much later.