Rugby League vs. Rugby Union


This Hub consists of a comparison between two of the toughest sports in the world, rugby league and rugby union. It's not about my personal opinions on which of the two sports is the best because to be honest (and I have experience of both) I don't really know!

Both have good points and bad points. In general I would rather watch a game of union but play a game of league. But that would depend on the weather, the quality of the game, the teams involved and a whole host of other factors!

In any case, on the page below I've detailed some of the key properties of each sport and compared them to each other.

Make no mistake, these are two of the fiercest, toughest and most competitive sports in the world. But which is the best? Read through and then make your decision! Let me know in the comments.

Ma'a Nonu breaks through the Australian defence with Matt Giteau chasing.
Ma'a Nonu breaks through the Australian defence with Matt Giteau chasing.

Brief summary

To decide which sport you think is best (and I really want you to decide you know) it is only fair that you know a bit more about each sport. In this section I will give a brief rundown of the rules and defining characteristics of each before mentioning some of the stand out features and occurrences below.

Rugby union is played between two teams of 15 for 80 minutes plus a 10 minute half-time break. The rugby ball may not be passed forward at any time during the game but can be kicked out of hand in any direction. There are 5 ways to score points in a union match. Firstly, if you cross your opponent's try-line and place the ball on the floor with downward pressure then you have scored a 5 point try. After a try has been scored there is the possibility of a conversion being kicked over the posts to earn a further 2 points. Other than that, if awarded, penalties may be kicked for 3 points from any position on the field (though are only normally kick-able from in the opponent's half) and drop kicks maybe taken at any time during the game to score drop goals which also earn 3 points. The last method of scoring is the rarely seen penalty try which is given should the opposition break the rules to prevent a certain try from being scored.

Rugby union is a game that blends proactive, team-wide strategy with individual brilliance. Territory is precious and every yard is hard fought with a mixture of crashing runs taking on tacklers, lightning quick, evasive back play, ferocious struggles to hold on to possession or deft kicking skill that can win 60 metres in a stroke. It is a violent, dogged scrap of a sport but played with such rich passion, vital intensity and increasingly skillful razzledazzle that can be breathtaking.

Sydney Roosters centre Iosia Soliola about to take a two-man tackle.  CRUNCH!
Sydney Roosters centre Iosia Soliola about to take a two-man tackle. CRUNCH!

Rugby league is played between two teams of 13 players for 80 minutes just like union. The game is inherently a lot simpler than union as there is less emphasis on set-pieces and more on basic attack and defence. In league a try is worth 4 points, conversions and penalties are both worth 2 points and a drop goal is worth just 1.

Each team is allowed 6 tackles with which to attempt to score, a tackle being defined as when the attacking player's motion is stopped or when they hit the floor. When this occurs the attacking player gets to their feet and rolls the ball backwards under one leg whilst the defending team must retreat 10 metres. After the 6th tackle has been made the possession of the ball is turned over to the other team who begin their set of 6 from the point of the tackle. This does not generally happen however as teams prefer to kick the ball after the 5th tackle either to attempt to regain the ball and score a try or to make the opposition retreat down the field to recover it.

The old adage goes that rugby union is a contact sport whereas rugby league is a collision sport. There are a number of subtleties and stratagems that need to be brought together for a successful rugby league performance but there is little doubt that monstrous two-man tackles or destructive smashing runs bouncing off hapless defenders is the very soul of the sport. It requires highly developed handling skills, ruthless physicality and, above all, stalwart courage to be a successful league player and results in some of the greatest all-round athletes in the world.

(Note that both the image of Ma'a Nonu and the image of Iosia Soliola were acquired from

Best competition or tournament

Both sports have a number of tournaments watched by various crowds throughout the year. Here I have picked what I believe to be the best individual competition to characterise each sport.

In consideration of rugby union, there are large number of competitions that could best represent it and selection was difficult. From the World Cup every 4 years to the annual tribulations of the 6 Nations, the Super 14, the Heineken Cup or the mighty Rugby Championship, rugby union abounds with quality competitions. However, in my opinion, the tournament that best captures the personality and ethos of rugby union is the British and Irish Lions Tour.

Occurring every four years, the most talented players from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland (Both Eire and Northern Ireland rugby players form a combined national team) are selected and tour one of the southern hemisphere countries of Australia, New Zealand or South Africa. The tour is usually about 6 weeks long and involves games against regional and professional teams before a 3 test series against the national side. The tours are legendary, some classic games have come about as their result and the heady mix of travelling, gruelling match schedule, the combined talent on display and sheer down to earth rugby vibe make this the stand out competition in modern rugby union.

For rugby league the choice of a flagship event was an altogether simpler affair. The competition that most clearly and effectively represents the combative, defence-oriented style of the game is undoubtedly the Australian tournament State of Origin.

Basically, Australia dominates the rugby league world and nowhere on earth is it played with more passion, intensity and skill. And if Australia dominates the sport worldwide then the states of New South Wales and Queensland dominate it nationally and these are the teams that battle it out annually for the State of Origin crown.

The tournament is a three game series played out during the professional season by teams that are selected only from players who debuted for a club in one of these two states (regardless of who they play for now). Hence the name State of Origin. Such a format makes for a tantalising spectacle as friends, teammates and even family members play against each other on rugby league's highest stage. The tournament's setup, the sheer quality of the rugby played and the overall feeling a country's most breathtaking rivalry means that the State of Origin tournament is the best event in existence to truly embody the spirit of rugby league.

The mighty All Blacks perfoming the Haka, a traditional Maori war dance, before they play Australia.
The mighty All Blacks perfoming the Haka, a traditional Maori war dance, before they play Australia.

Unique features

I have already mentioned some of the basics rules and strategies of each sport and mentioned a tournament that best captures their ethos today. Here are a couple of stand-out idiosyncracies that exist in the modern form of both sports today.

The photo on the right (obtained from Flickr ) shows one of union's most famous spectacles, the Haka, a traditional Maori war dance performed before matches to intimidate opponents and pump up the team. And that team is the famous All Blacks, the national side of New Zealand and one of the most successful around. The Haka is an amazing site being performed just before kick off to international matches by New Zealand and other Pacific Island countries (who have different dances). There is nothing else like it in the world of rugby union, it is violent, impressive and passionate and therefore has been chosen as my unique feature of rugby union.

For rugby league the choice is yet again simple. It is the collision that characterises the sport, the cataclysmic contact between muscle-bound athletes trying to smash each other backwards. Just look at the video below. Enough said!

Rugby league big tackles

So? Which is best?

After an introduction to both rugby codes and highlighting some of their stand out features I still might not have helped you decide which is the better sport. So, as a final attempt to get you to make a decision, here's a list of various aspects common to both sports and my opinion on which is the better sport for each consideration.

Tackling - Easy. Rugby league. See the video above. 'Nuff said.

Skill - I originally had this as union but, after watching more and reading some of the comments below think rugby league just edges this. Whilst players of he calibre of Shane Williams, Quade Cooper, Carlos Spencer and others do display outrageous skills in union, the general level of handling and off-loading in league is better. And when players like Shaun Johnson, Benji Marshall, Sonny-Bill Williams, Greg Inglis, Sam Burgess and Ben Barba continue to raise the bar whilst still being amazing athletes, it is clear to me that league deserves to win this category.

Strategy - I think that rugby union wins this one. Strategy is vital in league as well, but I think that in union a team with fewer game breakers can outfox their opposition through tactical kicking, playing to their set-piece strengths and trying to keep (or not keep) the ball as needed. In league it's much harder (if not impossible) to prevent the opposition from having significant possession - does this mean there is actually more strategy involved as you need tactics for both attack and defence? Maybe - but I think that the options available to a team in union and the different facets of the game give it the edge here.

Both sports definitely have a lot of differences, and this need to be reflected in training too. Training for rugby league and rugby union needs to be carried out in a way that is right for each sport, with drills, gym work, skills session and tactics all specific to the way each game is played. While the athletic work is similar, most things aren't.

Set-pieces - Set-pieces are prescribed actions such as scrums or lineouts necessary to restart the game after knock-ons, when the ball is kicked out etc. If you like set-pieces because they require players to acquire a multitude of abilities and factor in their effects to the overall strategy then, like me, you cannot help but pick rugby union. Set pieces are also often cited as a reason why players of all shapes and sizes can play union at all levels - and I think that's a fair assertion.

Athleticism - This is an interesting one. Whilst wingers in both codes are generally super-fit sprinting machines the front row union players can weigh upwards of 20 stone and (whilst certainly professional athletes) are not marathon runners. Therefore rugby league wins this one too as players are of similar build across the team and exhibit an amazing mixture of power, pace and fitness.

Banter - Which sport's players have the best chat, are the funniest, the most entertaining, the best laugh? This is too close to call I'm afraid. Click here to see a classic video of the aforementioned British and Irish Lions which is absolutely hilarious but then this video shows off some characteristic rugby league style hilarity from the Australian NRL Footy Show. This is definitely a draw!

So there you have it. A few random categories with my thoughts on the winner for each.

Plenty of information from which to draw your own opinions on rugby league vs. rugby union.

Please vote in the poll below and I'd love to hear your comments on which you think is the better sport. Thanks for reading!

The Results


  • Rugby League of course! I love tackling!
  • Rugby Union without a doubt! Better all-round.
  • They're both equally good. Rugby in any form is sublime!
  • I don't know.
  • I don't care, they're both nothing compared to [INSERT SPORT HERE]!
See results without voting

Comments 119 comments

hp 13 months ago

Quite late to this entry, I am an outsider and have watched parts or/and full matches here and there (both codes). I have tried to watch League but never seem to watch more than 10 minutes of the game and I don't really know why that is, however, when it comes to union, I tend to enjoy it more. As a person who doesn't fully understand the rules and just watching for the heck of it, I find union more tactical/strategic than League, whereas League seems faster and physical.

karl 17 months ago

union is better....

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Fran Michaels 2 years ago from Buffalo, NY

Here in the U.S., I have yet to see League rules on any level. Everything in Union rules.

The ariki 2 years ago

Rugby is better than

Langer 2 years ago

Rugby League for ever, amazing sport, love it soooo much, hard hitting, fast paced, cleaver ball skill, fancy footwork, and simple takle, run, pass and score tries. Everything a player and spectator wants. Played both but league is for me, so correct that League has been pushed sideways by toffy nosed administration of the upper classes. Also the fans are more fun and social. Go the Rugby League

christian man 2 years ago

Union is way better than league, I have played both codes, union is tougher than league. Union skills are more better than league, moreover union games is more intelligent.

swivel 2 years ago

haha, great comment union legend. afrikaaners would certainly have beat aussie at their own game(league).

a few quick points for new readers.


league has a greater array of passing and kicking. every play is a running or kicking set piece, so it is far more linear and scripted, requiring a bigger range of plays.

union has a bigger variety of skill sets and a greater emphases on open running football than league.

this means you get some skills from league like the highwide kick to AFL type leaping wings and benji marshal back flick passes that don't need to be widely used in union, while union has what's mentioned in the article. each aspect(passing/kicking) is just as important to each and therefore show and equal level in skill. so rugby easily wins on the skills requirement.

what matters most to non purists viewers though is good running plays off even better passing plays, these plays are often more spectacular in league but rugby has more of them and with the style of game also produces the best free flowing rugby. league is more consonantly watchable as rugby can suffer long pauses in play, in terms of seeing good attacking running footy.

i do agree that nz creates a lot more flamboyant play makers in league than union(in reference to the RLWC) due to the difference in games.

and i agree with wigan pete(as rugby is clearly the best game), the split has hurt both sports since they both turned professional but then the All Blacks probably wouldn't be the All Blacks we have to day. The AB's are the only thing that enables NZ to compete at a professional level and i feel if there mystic was lessened we would have a hole lot more struggles here financially, being such a tiny country.

i do wonder how good/bad the split was for the game back in the day though? it seems like a logical thing. i hope im not being rude in saying that league is a much simpler game, which appeals to a lot of people, which could be demographed to lesser socioeconomic regions. would the interest in 'rugby' not have increased having both games?

Liam 2 years ago

This article is alright.

One issue is saying League wins in tackles. I'll agree that in terms of all round handling skills league players are generally better. But when it comes to tackling League just isn't up to scratch. A union defender doesn't have 10 meters to get ready for the tackle, he must also be ready to get the ball contested immediately. Search videos on George Smith, does hits to take down those players, but then he is immediately on his feet to get the ball. You will never see that in League.

Wigan Pete 2 years ago

The biggest crime committed was the break up of rugby in the first place. This should never have happened and it was done by the English upper classes who wanted rid of the working class people from the game at any cost. The "RFU" was in danger of losing control of the game because of its immense popularity in the North, especially Yorkshire. The broken time payments to working men who took time off to play rugby on a Saturday delivered the perfect excuse. It is widely known that the French were professional for years, that boot money and favorable employment opportunities were the norm for star players yet the strict anti League rules were rigorously enforced by Union.

The fact League exists is the biggest inhibiting factor to the development of Union. In 1895 they were both exactly the same game. Almost immediately League went to 13 players, got rid of lineouts and started the modification of the ruck to what has become the "play the ball" of today. There is a real need to create more space on a Union field and redress the balance between the involvement of forwards and backs - not to mention make the game more interesting to watch. In fact reducing the number of players to 13 (say removing 6 & 7) could actually result in Union having lighter scrums & less people in rucks thereby allowing them to cater for the bigger players but be kept part of the game.

As much as some people make a point about Union being the more popular sport, Rugby Football, competing in a modern world, is still a very minor sport and much worse off for there being two codes. The self interest and bigotry of those people in the 1890's still effects the game of Rugby today.

Johnc852 2 years ago

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Tonyblak 2 years ago

until union went pro the defense was laughable. they have addressed that with rugby league defensive coaches. union has become more watchable as a result. the one thing that will never change in union is the amount of rules only serving to slow the game down and keep grossly overweight forwards n the game. if there ever was a game between the two codes that is exactly where league would win , through their unfit forwards.

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SuperSkyRockets 2 years ago from United Kingdom Author

It's been a few years since I posted this article and I thought it was due an update. The chief edits have been to address a mistake I made in the original when claiming that rugby union takes more skill than league which a number of commentators noted.

After careful consideration, due in no small part to the awesome rugby league world cup in the UK in 2013 (find the highlights of the semi-final between NZ and England on Youtube - what a game!) I think that league is the more skilled game.

Union definitely takes skill - the big number 8 who reaches down to pick up the ball at the base of a retreating scrum, under pressure from a lightning-quick scrum half, and then breaking wide of the flanker before off-loading in the tackle is a skilled fella. The full-back who catches on the run, puts the high kick up, and catches it in the air in the middle of the opposition defence is pretty skilled. Hookers need pin-point accuracy to throw into a lineout or the ball gets knicked, outside halves need to catch and kick quickly to clear the lines before getting charged down, flankers need to tackle the opposition - get back to their feet - release the man - stay on their feet and try to grab the ball before being driven off it or getting penalised - different skills and abilities are on show all over the pitch.

But that doesn't quite match up to the skills displayed in league where it seems like every player can catch, off-load or pass at speed, and most can put a little (or a big) kick in when needed too.

In general, rugby league is the more skillful game. I was wrong - and I changed the article accordingly!

The poll has now been voted on by over 2,500 people - and rugby union is currently out in front with 47% of the vote and rugby league has 36%. its not a huge gap but it is there. Interesting!

Anyway - thanks to everyone for the votes and the comments, I'm glad people enjoy the article and I hope you all continue to enjoy BOTH codes of rugby to the full!

Diana 2 years ago

thank you for this. I've been looking for resources for a student on just this topic! great stuff

steves007 3 years ago

it is vero important to learn about the history.... who actually formed the oval ball.... etc.... league is a game born adversity played by good people genuine, from the lower classes you took the game the game to new heights... read and learn about when the officers played the lower rank during the war... read about french rugby.... it is very interesting reading. Why was the all blacks all white ???? i rest my case..

I whant to become a union legend 4 years ago

I am a South African (a "Afrikaner" so english is my second lauguge , so my spelling is going to be bad ) 16 year old boy and not don't whant to comment leage cause I know nothing about the sport . I just whant to say don't talk sh#t about union and I not just talking to the guys how is dising union , I am also talk about the guys how think thy know more to union then there is ; like one of the comments I read : I like union because it is a olmpic sport . Sorry to say buddy but 7's rugby is the only rugby u will see at the olmpics and that would first b 2016 and one more thing that is a different game to rugby union . There seems to b guys also think if thy play rugby on their playstation at the age of 50 it makes them a intrenational union player , then I just have to say that I have also been playing intrenational since I was 10 just a day after my father bought my a playstation . I also looked at a comment saying that union has no skill with al those forward passes and knock ons , but I have seen Sonny bill williams ( he is a fomer leage player ) he is good but he is great . He does keeps the ball flowing in union with his offloads , but I have seen sonny bill knock a lot and a he has also gave out a few forward pass like any union player . @ steve thanks for the our comment it's a nice comment and the truth is if someone wanted to shoulder gharge my when I have the ball ; I will put them on there ass .

duven 6 4 years ago

@ dolph ww2 was a long time ago rugby union is played in countries that your armed forces has never been too during ww2 and if there are ex league coaching union does that mean there is no ex union coaching league? Your only point which has value is fitness level but I doubt anybody could play any physical sport at national level against twenty year old's at fifty, that's bull s***.

Gregg 4 years ago

Why would union need to play against league, league is like touch rugby with high tackles. It does not inspire any youngsters, league to many bar brawls. Now that rugby union 7's will be played at the Olympics that will be that for league.

dolph 4 years ago

The reason Rugby Union is played in more countries than league is because the armed forces banned rugby league during the 2nd world war to prevent injuries which prevented it being passed on to other nations.

To compare fitness you only have to look at the retirement ages of both top and lower level players. i have played professional rugby league and had to give it up at 32 simply due to a lack of speed and fitness, i now play rugby union at national level and to be honest could play till i am 50.

The debate on skills level is difficult but could be argued why does international rugby union require so many ex league players to coach, don t union have any good coach of their own.

duven 4 years ago

Answer me this, which has become one of the fastest growing sports in the world even though it wasn't the first to go pro? Rugby union. Most counties even ones where union is massive i.e south Africa the majority of people never even knew there was another code. Bigger audience= more players at grass roots = more pro players = more competition to get to the top = rugby union a tougher competition (spell checked)

duven 4 years ago

Answer me this, which has become one of the fastest growing sports in the world even though it was'my the first to go pro? Rugby union. Most counties enemy ones where union is massive i.e south Africa the majority of people never even knew there was another code. Bigger audience= more players at grass roots = more pro players = more competition to get to the top = rugby union a tougher competition

League 4 years ago

If you want tries then league is for you. I do enjoy watching the odd game of union but only some of the players score tries in league everyone does! The super league is getting stronger and stronger. A few years ago only St Helens(my team) and Leeds were winning anything but now Wigan, Huddersfield, Warrington, Catalans and the two hulls are challenging to so those who say rl is dying out .. It's not!!

drlove 4 years ago

league is the better game to watch and play by far,but union is run and promoted better,by the toffs who had university upbringings and kept all their hooray henry mates involved....

pimms or choose its your life,but go and tell your parents now that your coming out of the closet,cos ur a big poof if u choose union...:-)

Montgorhino 4 years ago

Absoloutley no question, League by a country mile, I played Union and have watched League for 53 years. Union is boring and slow, touch pause engage, what's all that about, its a joke. So are League scrums I hear you say, but its quick and the none offending side get the ball back. eg What's fair in kicking the ball in to touch knowing you are winning all the line outs anyway.If you want entertainment with speed, abundant skills and TRIES there is only one winner. LEAGUE. If you want an afternoon sleep in front of the TV try watching 80 mins of Union if you can, 35 mins of which the ball will be out of play and you will have witnessed lots of penalties and the odd try!!

lol 4 years ago

will, obviously an eton boy who has never played league.

home dawggggg! 4 years ago

union is basically a retirement home for league players when their past the best, on average it takes a union player up to 3 month to get match fit for league wheras it only takes a handful of games for a league player to be match ready for union, obviosly there are exceptions but as a general rule of thumb that's about right. just go union is shit!!! and just a note to the southern prick your NRL is bullshit to predictable and your union players have NO heart

will 4 years ago

also no offence if your from england but your uk superleague is shite compared to the nrl and union up there is shite compared to the super rugby. both codes are way better in the southern hemisphere than north.

will 4 years ago

i love both codes but primarily play rugby union. union involves more skill. its easier for a union player to go to league than a league player to union. imagine if they played off against each other like people say. its end up just being league coz they wouldn't allow scrums. the league players would probably break their necks. and lineouts would be a joke. as to the defensive side to the game league is allot easier. sure they run hard but its easy to tackle someone whos running straight at you.when you have 3 defenders tackling the ball carrier. in the backline in union its allot harder to defend where the attacker has allot more space either side. as to the toughness ive never met a league player who can handle being at the bottom of a ruck getting stomped on and rucked.this happens to union players everygame. league is better to watch if you've never watched either of the codes because there are hardly any rules and its easy to follow. league is repetative its 5 tackles then kick. union players kick more because territory is such a huge part of the game and you can contest for the ball whenever you like. a fullback isn't going to run into defenders without any support around him or else they'll just turn the ball over. union is a much more complex sport. scrums, lineouts,mauls, backline moves, all involve hours of practice. league is so 1 dimensional. don't get me wrong i watch league all the time. i just think union is a better game. and if you like league and not union you should be thanking us because if it wasn't for union league would never have been played

Wigtail 4 years ago

There is this common belief that to play union you need the use of tactics & be a 'cleverer' player, whereas league you just crash into one another & hope for the best. This is complete nonsense. To prove my point there are more ex league players coaching union than ex union players coaching league (if at all), look at the recent 6 nations game between Wales & England. 2 ex Wigan captains masterminding a very good game. Don't get me wrong I enjoy both games of rugby which have both good & bad bits about them but both can be exciting to play & watch however, I do lean towards rugby as it is faster & more consistent than union. Also another common misconception about league is that there is no 'competing' for the ball like in union. There is plenty of ball steeling in League both legally & illegal. Both have there merits.

purd tolisher 4 years ago

I watch the Union on Sky Sports every week. I tune in and see 4 extremely well educated blokes, all with extensive and complex vocabularies talk about the up coming game like its rocket science. They break down the up coming game, analysing, pondering and discussing along the way.

Eventually, the game gets under way, 30 seconds in, somebody has dropped the ball and we have to wait 3 minutes for a scrum to be formed.

This is a recurring feature throughout the game, whether it be through stupid mistakes or penalties. In the post match analysis, the same 4 well educated blokes analyse the mistake ridden game like it was something special.

Is it just me or is anybody else not buying their BS?

My old grandfather had a saying. You can polish a turd, but its still a turd.

lobster 4 years ago

for me union is better..more tactical and unpredictable.. league is good too but i find it boring when i see repetitive actions and expecting to kick the ball after the 5th tackle..maybe the solution is they should create a hybrid rugby game that emphasizes on key assets of both codes...exciting isn't it?..

willo712 4 years ago

Played both games until I was 17. Made the decision to carry on playing League and packed in Union. Best decision I ever made. Rugby should be about doing the basics well, that's passing, tackling and support play. It goes without saying that the ball is passed more in League. As far as tackling is concerned, the stats for the England vs Wales Six Nations game showed the top tackler made 19 tackles. In League, some players make 19 tackles in the first 20 minutes and in general, a greater number of tackles are made throughout the game. A few months ago I was watching a Super League match on TV while an international Union match was on another channel. Every now and again, I turned the TV over to check the score of the Union game. Every time I turned the TV over, the teams were packing down for a scrum and taking up far too much time to do so. Jonathan Davies, who was a fantastic of both codes, once said that he could get through a Union match with hardly a finger laid on him. However, when he played League, he ached for days. At any of the comparable levels of both games, League is faster, tougher, more skilful (basics) and better to watch and play. Shame the adminstrators aren't as good as the product on the park. League for me, all day long.

pragueboy 4 years ago

but one thing i would mention is the way that leauge players adapt to union so well...when do you see union players moving to leauge?

--- That is laughable. That is so one-eyed. That is so demonstrably false.

Ried Alderbooks 4 years ago

Rugby is more skillful to the skilled observer. I will never expect Rugby League peasants to understand!!! I say watch what you want its all taste, some people like Europe holidays some like Bali, some people love formula one same like V8s, some people like Penfolds some people love goon. One thing we can all agree on is that if you like League its because its all you know and therefore understand.

George 4 years ago

i think its still even more complex than what's written as things can still be broken down again. you cant say the league tackles are harder, as they are not tied with the same rules as union players, in league you can happily charge player an crash into them, in union you have to make an attempt to wrap the arms or you could see red, so on that note alone league is going to have harder clashes as its easier to smash somebody when you can keep your arms tucked in giving you a stronger platform for a hit.

at the end of it all there is no 'better' one all i know is they are both better than football.. an really, that's all that matters !

The maroons! 4 years ago

Just because something is bigger doesn't mean it's better. Biggest let down for union has to be all the set plays. League scrum or foot tap and the game is off straight away. And what's with all the fat old men jumping into a pile. Did some drop some sweets or a pie or something? And the guys who said about union is a mans game and league is a girls game. My advice have a game in front or Second row in league and play a bit dirty and see what happens. Union banning the shoulder charge that's the worst decision ever made by any sport! Nothing more satisfying than smashing a 18st or 110-120kg bloke straight off his feet and the surprised look on his face is by far a priceless moment. I normally play 2nd row have occasionally played front row and lock (loose forward). League players built for lightning pace roundhouse power and energizer battery stamina. The utter top class of athletes that are good at everything where in leafue you have players that only have one trait. Us league players play rugby the way it was intended to be. Risking everything to win no matter what it takes.

Graham 4 years ago

I'm in Texas and hv only seen Union games, super15, tri-nations and the world cup. I love sport. Scrums rucks an mauls can get tedious at times but are also gateways to some great action.

League however does sound more fluid but don't know if that wouldn't be like taking the knights out of chess.

As a American football (best sport in the world) fan if given a choice i'd prob pick League.

Footyrivalsdotcom 4 years ago

Read many comments regards the pros and cons of Union and league, and too be honest I live Rugby League and Watch Rugby Union if a league game is not on. I have played both codes and played against international teams representing my county/state. I remember being on the wing playing against Auckland and being the typical Union game, the ball never came out there unless the five eight kicked it to the opposition winger, and if it was raining in the middle of winter you just got soaked and cold and even as a player it was boring. I changed to league as a centre/ wing and was immediately given the opportunity to run with the ball and work out tactics with fellow back line team mates with the coach offering his experience to get the best out of us.

I played against England that year and we won and if anyone says that League is not a thinking game, it is because they have never played at top level and have become biased.

I see the possibility of a rule change in the NRL competition, which will change the game of Rugby League forever, it was trialed during the All Star match this year and if brought in, will see the virtual end of scrums and penalty line kicks. If the ref notices an infringement by the defending team, he does not blow his whistle and halt the game he simply calls out "Zero Tackle" and the attacking team has six more tackles. The game was played at a ferocious pace with unlimited interchange. It was a spectators delight, and if the Rugby Union wanted to give the same experience at this stage they only have to remove the pea from the referees whistle and stop tired players from laying around on the ground adjacent to the scrums.

Msororaji, Nairobi , Kenya 4 years ago

Union rules

Rugby is boring without racks, mauls, scrums, lineouts . Rugby Union forever

the don 4 years ago

union is getin beta but its still got a lng way 2 go b4 its anywer near the pace agility and stamina of league, league is the far beta game hands down...........oh and this weekends union was crap very very boring, even my hardcore union m8s said so.

proff 89 4 years ago

played both codes to high standard, found both games absolutly magnificent, love the scrums and mauls in union, and love the crack of players. but for me and alot of my other team mates from both codes will admit league is the faster harder more skillful more painfull and alot more rewarding than union also the lads in league are salt of the earth working class boys and you find they would kill for you but don't get me wrong union is fab game but it just isn't a patch on league. also would like to see some cumbrian teams in super league.... GO WHITEHAVEN GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

smally 4 years ago

ok wheere to start.does anyone remember the fat slow union players of the amateur days moving to league.johnathon davies man of steel martin offiah try machine inga the winger john devoux?welsh chap all union players who excelled in aha jason robinson is the only player i can think of who excelled in union.lote t strong but slow.union players are sharper and quicker as less time to think.didn't lachie turner burn off the league guys recently.look at the skill displayed in sevens.why must league always rant on about how much fitter and skilful their players are when clearly they are not

Hosey G 4 years ago

Danske - Bradford vs Wasps was a sevens tournament played in 2002 so you can't even compare. And they went on to play in the International Dubai 7s and got smacked by a 2nd division team.

danske 4 years ago

Search wasps v Bradford on YouTube. Both teams are professional, playing under rugby union rules. The rugby league team wins the match because of the superior skills, and fitness. watch it. End of debate. League wins. Thankyou and goodnight.

Kevin 4 years ago

Waay upthere in the thread a guy it on the head. League is like a whole game of selfish, touch rugby, just like in practice warm ups. No set up to speak of, TONS of cross pitch running and the whole passy-footie thing behind you makes my eyes bleed.

karl 4 years ago

i love both codes but union is much more tactical than the league..

Jimmy Hagg 5 years ago

While on a trip Down under last year I had the opportunity to watch a live game of Rugby league.

Since then league is the sport for me .

Brent Jorgenson 5 years ago

I am an American and just recently started watching a lot of rugby. I've seen 10+ union matches and 2 or 3 league matches.

I like union, but to me, league is much more exciting. I would love to introduce my friends to the sport, but I can't possibly explain all the rules of union. I wish league was more popular on TV as I know it could become more popular in the USA as it is much more fast paced, doesn't have so many ridiculous rules and the 6 tackle rule makes it somewhat similar to American football.

Karl Kirkpatrick 5 years ago

I have refereed league at a high level and am currently refereeing Union at RFU National League level.

They are a completely different game played by players of different shapes and skills. Both games are very entertaining if you can understand what they are trying to do. There are some great comments posted about the different aspects it really is about preference. I find RU a busier game to watch and referee but league is easier to understand and more physical. Both sets of players are both very fit and very brave !

As far as the players mentioned, Ashton and Robinson in particular I suspect the main reason they wish they had played union sooner is because of the off field opportunities and the superior way you are treated in RU. The Union set up is far better than league and the games remain for me very different. Whichever you prefer they are both far superior to soccer. Great debate and some interesting comments.

malaysian 5 years ago

well.. looks at the history why they saparated in 1890s... i.e. professionalism vs amateurism, I think they should merged back as the reason of saparation is no longer there. Union had embraced the professionalism... no longer a stgright amateurism - players are being paid for the playing with lucarative contracts - for the game rules... they should takes the best of both...

Klueless 5 years ago

At last somebody takes on the great debate. I love both games but Union has a huge problem with its points system. 3 point penalties has killed the running game. Teams tend to select number 10s who can keep booting the ball down the field then hope their props can get them a penalty. Terrible. Rugby League is a much maligned sport by insecure, snobbish people who deep down suspect it could be the greatest sport ever. The ability to take and make big hits, the endurance, the skill and the fact that you sometimes see Union backs come over to League but you rarely see forwards do the same as it`s HARDER. Now let`s all sit back and enjoy the NFL season. Chuckle.

david 5 years ago

skill for union, psssh you obviously haven't seen enough NRL games, the kicking skills are amazing, footwork, passing skills and handling skills of league players is so much more impressive then that of a union player

steve 5 years ago

At amateur club level League is probably better as there are not many rules, and union the refs arent that good and mess up the game and the forwards are just big or fat with no skills whatsoever. But at professional level Union is better way better how ca you say they have no skills the Beast and bismarck du plessis would run over any league player, league players cant tackle they just try and shoulder charge. Sonny Bill Williams the great league convert is the most average player in the world, half his tackles are illegal and he cant pass the ball more than five metres. Come on BOKKE

jack 5 years ago

I think rugby league is almost a combination of union and american football. American football has 1-4 downs kind of like six tackles in league. and on the last down/tackle the ball is usually kick or in america punted for the opponent to get. or the offensive team goes for a field goal/drop goal. Also less importantly league has a middle number of players (two more than american football and two less than union).

LineCDR 5 years ago

My two cents, from an American living abroad. I've been watching both League and Union for the past year and love both. My observation, from an outsider's perspective, is that the referee in Union has too much latitude in the way he interprets penalties, especially in the scrums and rucks. This delays the game, and often times results in a penalty kick. I've seen several matches determined not by cleanly earned "tries" but through questionable penalty decisions that result in a penalty kick.

League, on the other hand, has a cleaner set of rules (due to the lack of emphasis on the scrum, and the removal of the ruck) that reduces the amount of subjective calls the referee in forced to make. League play is more 'clean' from that perspective, and the flow of the game is better.

Again, just my observations, and only made from short exposure to both versions of rugby. In all, I love the sport and will continue to watch both League and Union whenever they are broadcast in my area.

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will folju 5 years ago from Queensland

Interesting viewpoints, I'm a big fan of all three codes (AFL included) for what they each have to offer as a spectacle. Bring on the worldcup!

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SammyDrago 5 years ago from London, UK

Great post! It's rugby union all the way for me, but I do watch league!

You so need the video of Josh Lewsey's tackle on Matt Rogers on this post!

Mathew. 5 years ago

Okay... some of these comments are ignorant and moronic. Having more people enjoy watching Rugby Union, doesn't make it the better sport. Justin Bieber sells more albums and sells out concerts more than most bands these days. Does this mean he is better? No... it doesn't. I enjoy both, though I find myself getting more excited over Rugby League due to it being more skillful and not having 40% of the game being 5 guys lying on top of the ball.

andy 5 years ago

Having played both, i prefer to play league because of the open play. In league the ball is in open play for about 80% of the time and in union between about 10 and 20%. When you play union in the wet with a whistle happy ref it can feel like one scrum after another followed by a lineout, i.e. little opportunity for individual skill or brilliance. To look at soccer for example, there is plenty of opportunity for individual skill, just look at the demigods of messi, henry, best or maradona; I don't think it is a coincidence why soccer is the worlds most popular sport.

To go back to rugby, league would have been by far the better game if they hadn't got rid of rucks; lineouts yes, scrums (more o less) yes, flankers yes, rucks no.

Union on the other hand could be improved by removing the flankers and speeding up the scrums.

Both codes i believe would be improved by using a smaller ball (like an american football) that could be carried in one hand as opposed to under the arm allowing for better offloading of the ball.

Chuck 5 years ago

At a club level, if you want action, speed, skill and atmosphere for 77 minutes out of 80, watch League. If you want CONSTANT knock ons, forward passes, penalties, five minute scrums, few tries and lots of goal kicking, Union is the game for you.

In Union the amount of players on the field is a major contributer to why the game lacks in try scoring action, the forwards are terrible at ball handling, the stop start nature of the game and the fact that 90% of the time when a team gets a penalty in the opponants half they kick for goal makes for aweful viewing.

Some argue that in Rugby League the uncontested scrums are boring, but ask yourself, would you rather see a 30 second scrum and continued action or 5 minutes of forming and refoming a scrum.

Being born in a RL town i am obviously bias, but i cant see why people are so attracted to Union, it bores me to death.

I will say that internationally i would rather watch union because it's a better contest overall (more teams evenly matched), but Australia vs New Zealand RL is incredible, the standard of play is out of this world.

Karl Bantleman 5 years ago

6 tackles and you can have the ball back?? if you want it you've got to work for it! Union all the way, magnitude of skills instead of just running and tackling

Phil  5 years ago

They are both good games but I believe Rugby League wins hands down, I've played and watched both, so this is my belief from a playing and a spectator point of view. The reason Union is more widespread is very much down to the old class system, but also the second world war had massive impact on the game of rugby league in France. The amateurs running rugby league in the UK also must take some of the blame.

I could go on about the politics that have ensured rugby league isn't more popular than rugby union, but it would take all night, but please believe me, it's not because it's a better game, Rugby League is king!

Mikey 5 years ago

I come from the town rugby league was invented in and love the sport but I'm a big union fan too. For me club rugby is better in league and international in union but I watch it all. Saying that I'd only play league. I'd much rather get smashed to the ground by 3 guys at speed than tackled by 1 then have up to a 100stone of forwards pile on top of me (could be my cluastrophobia.

Sam 5 years ago

i play,union,its great but i have played 3 league matches and i am better. being a fly-half, all i do is league i can run and make people look like absolute fools. but having a coach from the midlands, union is pounded into me so i have to i prefer union.

Live Rugby League 5 years ago

Born and bred in St helens I have to admit to being biased as most people will be towards one or the other sport, however as a regular at Saints and a massive sports fan in general I do love Union at International level.

I feel the top level club competition in League is outstanding and better than its Union counterpart, I honestly cant understand how on earth you can say the skill level in Union is higher the kicking game and the fact that it is a 15 man game means it doesn't compare to League'Despite this though the skill level at international class Union has rose greatly in recent years.

Either way Rugby is an awesome sport to watch or play and the speed, passion, PRIDE and strength shown in both codes is superhuman!! Great post cheers!

Luis 5 years ago

I'm sorry, but recently all the union I have watched has been like a football match, just endless kicking. League requires more skill, up the giants!

Kebz 5 years ago

Ask Chris Ashton he wishes he played rugby (union) years ago

Miki, Poland 5 years ago

Quite interesting article. I live in Poland and, to the best of my knowledge, there are no League clubs here. I have never seen a League match so I will not comment on how I find it in comparison to Rugby Union. But there must be something that makes Union extremely popular in some countries (i.e. NZ, SA, GB, Ausie, Argentina, France, Italy) and recognisable all over the world (even in Poland which is still Rugby shithole). Summing up, let everyone enjoy the code they really prefer.

Upstrate 5 years ago

There is a reason why union is so much bigger than league internationaly, its unpredictable! With league its 5 tackles each and no real scrum, how boring zzzz

dan 5 years ago

thanks for the article. For me it Rugby leauge. why? Better handling skills, better tackles, simpler rules, uncontested scrums, better athletes...but one thing i would mention is the way that leauge players adapt to union so well...when do you see union players moving to leauge? Jason Robinson was so good because he played leauge and its evident in his play. Even Jonah Lomu played Leauge as a schoolboy...why do players move to union then? simple = money and for some reason its more popular!

robert 5 years ago

no contest league is more skillful faster fitter if you want a sore neck from watching all the kicking to & fro how can a team win a match without scoring a try which they do in boring union so .so they are in the olympics i could pick numerous league team that would stuff the kick & clap boys it makes me laugh to see all the union spectators drooling over a penalty or drop goal

Duncan  5 years ago

Ask Gareth Thomas... He wishes he'd played League years ago!

baaaa 5 years ago

league is better and rugby union is for posh blocks with no brains.

simon 5 years ago

Rugby League is a much better game because it is more passionate. Rugby is boring to watch because the game is played by the referee not the players.

5 years ago

Have you guys even seen a game of rugby or do you guys live in a dark hole. how is this not skilfull and brilliant. league is a small game while rugby (union) is played world wide.

Josh 5 years ago

Rugby league is a boring amateurish game, i predict it will die out in over 50 years time. Anyway who are the kangaroos the all blacks are by far a much bigger and better brand.

tezdan 5 years ago

rugby league faster more skillful more intense less stop and start more points scored through tries, no kicking tennis

Mike C. 5 years ago

I LOVE Rugby League!

Hosey G 5 years ago

Both are good sports but it depends what kind of person you are. If you like things simple you will like League as it is fast paced (apart from stopping every 2 seconds to play the ball) and more athletic. The problem is every player does exactly the same thing as every other player, they are the same size and they have exactlythe same role apart from 2 players in the team who kick after the 5th tackle. Rugby Union is slower, but far more tactical, all players have different roles to fulfil and have different specialisd skills. If you like a more intelligent game then rugby is for you; teams have different styles and there are a whole range of subtleties not understood by simpletons.

Sinker 5 years ago

rugby union is the best game on the planet cuz. love super 14 rugby. league is so sh*the boys play a real mans game.

super 14 2010 tries cuzzie.

kovana 5 years ago

League is a good Game. But i prefer Rugby Union... Why?

Its in the Olympics. Has more registered Rugby players. Has more professional Rugby Competitions in the world then Rugby League. Rugby league is only Popular in East Australia and In A small belt in North England... Goodness sake, there are more Registered rugby players in the England then there are Rugby League players in the WHOLE WORLD.

Another thing that put me of league are the League fans themselves. They constantly say rugby union is boring and is going to die soon.. They have been saying that for the past 100 years.

For those who don't know, Rugby league was Professional 100 YEARS before Rugby Union.. And have yet to grow out of the heartlands.. Rugby Union went professional in 1995... ONLY 15 years ago.. and in that small amount of time, rugby now has a very Popular WORLD cup.. With world cup crowd averages only 2nd to the FIFA world cup... And also we gained re-admittance into the Olympics, no doubt a dagger in the heart of every league fan.

League fans should stop hyping their game and Players so much. Its what puts people off.


Shaun 5 years ago

Union is a good sport...but just look at how many other codes try to convert league players...AFL...RU....Modern League Players have superior fitness and skill and are better all round atheletes...League is the winner.

Lee partington 5 years ago

Rugby union is a waste of time to me. Im a rugby league fan and i have tried to watch a game of union and it dosent make any sense and all the player are always chasing the ball at the same time. so you can hardly tell were the ball is. this is why RL was invented in the first place. because lets just say that RU is shite..

Chinaboy 5 years ago

Rugby is better overall - with the new ELV's it has in some cases become a try fest with 60 plus point games. The skill level is higher. I am an ex league player but now generally watch more union. I specifically like the French Top 14 for the style of play. League can also be good to watch but the stop start stop start is a little tedious at times the commentators make it more intreresting as well as they get very fired up , Union commentators may as well be narrating a funeral they are so dull to listen to! If they reduced the amount of kicking in rugby that's help also. I have lived in NZ and now back in China where rugby is getting more in the universties and via the sevens tournaments. Rugby is global whereas League has not really taken off elsewhere out of NSW, Queensland, South Auckland and the Northern areas of England - the battle and the war has been lost to Union.

5 years ago

cvvv g

Grant 5 years ago

League easily. Not just because of the game either but that is way better too. Being a kiwi we are constantly bombarded rugby , rugby , rugby. Hows its our national game and we are the best. All hype. It is a boring game. Honestly you can pop out and have a leak , grab another beer and miss nothing. NRL matches you can't get off your seat. It's the rugby world cup soon. Quite frankly I don't think the AB's will win it. I think they will choke and be bundled out by France again! Then we will have 2 yrs of excuses and sackings. If they do win 4 yrs of gloating. Sonny Bill (ex league)ain't gonna save them. They are raving about his skills. These skills are quite normal in league. Our Kiwis league team has delivered in spades. 3 out of the last 5 major trophies coming home against massive odds. The Kiwis league team are real winners from a country that normally specialises in coming second. Check out the 2010 four nations final on youtube and see what I mean.

Tom 5 years ago

rugby union is so much better. just check these the tri nations and the 6 nations. league is boring and reptitive.

SA 5 years ago

The latest internationals have just proved rugby (union) is by far the better game. better skills and better quality. rugby is so much better than league. go the mighty springboks

Petalac 5 years ago

The only reason we are so into Rugby Union in NZ, is because it is the only sport we are good at, the rest of the world have got more exciting and faster sports to compete in and Union is their 3rd or fourth sport of choice, of course we are going to be the best! As Petalac said nothing worse than watching grown men standing around for 80 minutes in bewilderment as the play gets halted for yet another rule infringement. Yes i agree Yaaaaaaaawn!!!!

Dubious 5 years ago

Rugby Union is a thug's game played by gentlemen. Rubgy League is a gentlemen's game played by thugs.

George 6 years ago

I've played both codes and much prefer rugby league. Quite honestly, I found Union to be the sort of game where you can have a rest now and then by leaving it to everyone else. On top of this, the constant hold-ups at the scrums in union whilst the ref tries to get the forwards packed down correctly is flustrating and time-wasting.

In league, you have no time to go "out of the game" for a while - it's much more a man-to-man marking sport and very tense.

So, league is harder to play and consequently a much better game.

Drew 6 years ago

No comparison. League is boring, boring, boring. Same old stuff - may as well be watching touch rugby. And the numbers don't lie - union is huge worldwide & league only in the English Midlands & Australia. Which is why league people have a chip on their collective shoulders. Talk about "rugby" & it means union - hardly anyone cares about league.

kevs.storm 6 years ago

As a new zealander I have been around both codes all my life and have played both. In my personal opinion I have to say rugby league is by far the better game and quite sad to see it in the shadow of union. Every time I've walked off the field playing league I have a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment knowing I have contributed to my team, but when I play union it always feels like I could have done more, maybe its because I sometimes may only touch the ball a handful of times and spend the other time chasing it.

rugby league god 6 years ago

league is obviously better, union is boring. in union they kick the ball every two seconds and have to wait about 30 seconds at "the ruck". wigan warriors are my life and im still soo happy they won the grand final !! was there in that brilliant amazing atmosphere that union do not have. just like a game of tennis to be league wins every time.

Ian 6 years ago

Being from the United States, rugby in general is pretty much off the radar screen for most people around here. That said, the only form of "rugby" most people here know of is union - that's what's played at the few colleges, universities, high schools, and clubs that sponsor rugby; few are even aware that a separate thing called rugby league even exists.

Which is very weird and a darn shame, because rugby league is actually much closer to American football than rugby union is. Show a rugby league match to an American football fan, and they will be able to figure out, on their own, what's going on very quickly, and they'll usually find it pretty enjoyable, too. That isn't really the case with rugby union.

I probably would have never heard of rugby league either, if it wasn't for the fact that half of my family's from northern England (go Salford!).

So, obviously I'm biased toward rugby league, but I'd suspect a lot of people in the U.S. would be, too, if they were even aware of its existence.

JohnBoat 6 years ago

Tim Sheens said Lote Tuqiri was off the pace when he joined the Tigers

manuistheman 6 years ago

i think rugby league is better because of the scrums, or league is more fast flowing than rugby union because at the scrums, there will be people on the ground and they will take forever to do that because they are league the scrums are not contested

Cameron Fraser 6 years ago

Rugby union to put it 'simply' is a game of forwards whilst league again 'simply' is a backs game.

rugby union forwards will destroy each other to create holes in continuing game play for backs to 'penetrate'

in league the 'forward make around 30m-40m whilst the backs kick or exploit the 'extra' holes onto the field due to less players. please keep in mind this is a simplistic version as there is a lot more tact involved in both sports

as a forward i have to lean on a personal bias toward union has its a perfect fusion of backs and forward working together with out one the other cant survive. whilst league seems to favor the smaller lighter player

Aide Vresme 6 years ago

Rugby union is like chess. Great game to play but not so good to watch. League is like UFC. Great to watch but you got to be nuts to play it.

Rod Bulldog 6 years ago

Rugby League Wins by far, much more entertaining, plus the big hits, go the Dogs

kovana 6 years ago

Union. Because more countries can play it.

Also i like the fact its a game for all shapes and sizes. Also please don't believe the Muppet who says Union is for 'Elites', Union is the number one code in Samoa, Tonga and Fiji pacific islands.

Also with the Rugby Union 7's now in the olympics, it makes union that more international.

No offense to league, Only 2 teams play it well. And that NZ and AUS.. And even then there is a huge gap between NZ and AUS.. Aus simple is dominating.

League has been professional for 100 years and is still yet to come out from Eastern Australia and North en England.

Union has only been professional for 15 years. So in 15 years It has grown considerably in other countries.

What is holding league back is its Greedy Administrators. Full Stop.

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gearheadx 6 years ago

Both sports are really great.....but I have to say that Union is better because it's more of an international thing....but anyway this was a really good article :D

Bob 6 years ago

Union is better. You get to see competitive scrums and set pieces. Plus, there are a lot more tactical kicks, which I think are awesome, and league has pretty much eliminated that except after the fifth tackle.

Bottle 6 years ago

The Jacksonville Axemen, a semi pro rl team in the united states will be playing against the Jacksonville mens rugby union club this saturday,June 19, 2010. Both codes will be played, the first half union, and the second half league. Ill let you know how it goes. Similarily, about a year ago, the Jacksonville Axemen played a Semi-pro American Football team, The Jacksonville Sharks, in a half rl/half american football match. The Axemen came away with a victory in this match. To learn more about either match check out

Andrew V 6 years ago

Rugby union by far is the best form of Rugby. In union, the game is more unpredictable and hence, more interesting. As we know, in league after the 5th tackle, the team with the ball will kick the ball 99% of the time. In union the intrigue is what makes it interesting. There are lineouts, free kicks, scrums, penalty kicks, rucks, malls, etc, etc..

Jon Martin 6 years ago

It is not a balanced piece! Union has too many rules which the officials, let alone the players or spectators, do not understand. League is much more athletic, shows better handling and tactical skills (faster, better hands and offloading, infinitely better kicking, and defense is as skilful as offence). I can just about watch a high grade Union international. At club level it is unwatchable. League, however, is good fun even at under-15.

Union is appalingly bad value-for-time, unless you are a player or a drunken hooray. Just compare the fitness and skill involved in each, and only a hypocrite could deny that League is by far a better game.

Teddy Bruckshot 6 years ago

Great and balanced piece! Two thing that differ between the codes: A) Rugby Union has a much wider variety of special individual skill sets compared to League. and B) The cultural differences between the two (working class vs. upper class).

Rugby League 6 years ago

Rugby league is certainly better for fights and hits; I prefer the dynamics of rugby though.

CHUR 6 years ago

rugby league all day, go the west tigers and eels!

Dave Bettney 6 years ago

I have played both codes and I am a prop, but I have probably played more Union. I much prefer Rugby League because I can actually run with the ball and personally set up tries, or even get them myself. I have played many 80 minutes of Union, and never even touched the ball!! and still been congratulated on my scrummaging and lifting in the line out. I feel that forwards in union are only there for the backs to touch the ball. Whereas in League a forward can use his ball skills too.

In essence, Rugby union is more techincal, and League is more skilful.

Union was set up so that the Lanky and fat kids could play a sport too!

Rugby Fix 6 years ago

Thorough article. Thanks for posting.

Personally I prefer rugby because it has more dimensions. However, some of the tries in Rugby League are absolutely amazing.

Here's a simple breakdown of the differences here:

Your article is much more insightful though

Maninga 6 years ago

league every time. Union keeps changing it's rules to be like erm League. The fact that this author mentions Jason Robinson as a Union player says it all. (He played for Wigan RL for years before ending his career in Union).

The media bias in the UK towards Union is unbelievable, it's as if the split took place last year.

Union get the big crowds for Internationals, league get the big crowds for domestic.

If you want to see lots of running, big hits and points then League is for you.

If you want to play the game of "where's the ball?" or "why do they keep kicking it out?" then Union is for you. 6 years ago

Haha **great article** im from up north lol and i also couldn't pick between the two. I have two friends Paul king and rich horne as we know pauls left fc now.. but i think if my northern head was on the block :0) id go with league...

James 6 years ago

Good article, although I disagree with Union being more skillful. The fact that you only have 6 tackles to score a try in League compared to endless phases in Union and yet you see more tries in a game of league in my opinion makes league a more skillful sport. In England a lot of people are ignorant about league as it is only popular in the North, where I live in the midlands I have to listen to idiots say union is a better sport when they've never watch a game of Rugby League in their life. I watch both when they're on TV and it's no contest in my opinion, League wins hands down

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evan26 6 years ago

Rugby League all the way. Go the bulldogs.

Maxx 7 years ago

I come from Malaysia and most (I think all) the rugby games played here are rugby union.

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SuperSkyRockets 7 years ago from United Kingdom Author

@macavity - thanks for your comment. I know that the Haka also plays an important part in the identity of the New Zealand rugby league team too but I just think that it plays a bit more of a role in union.

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SuperSkyRockets 7 years ago from United Kingdom Author

@yuvraj singh - thanks very much for your comment and I agree with you, a match like that would be amazing! In Australia I believe that every year the Aussie Rules Football champions play the Irish Gaelic football champions in an intersport club competition (I'm not sure whether they play one game of alternating halves or two games, one of each sport). Something similar either between clubs (Super 14 champions vs. NRL champions in the southern hemisphere or Heineken champions vs. Super League champions up north) or countries (Tri-Nations champions vs. Australia or New Zealand) would be absolutely fantastic to watch!

macavity 7 years ago

league by a long long way. don't believe me, sit down and watch the respective world cup finals and compare.

oh, and the world-cup champion Kiwis (NZ Rugby League team) do the Haka too.

yuvraj singh 7 years ago

amazing article... a balanced comparison.. i think its also worth mentioning that majority of points in league come from tries whereas in union its more off goals and penalties.. here is an interesting scenario.. the kangaroos (aus rugby league team) vs all blacks (NZ rugby union team) in a match that has alternating halves of union and league style.. hmmmm

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