Rugby League vs Union

Compared to football, rugby is much older as it was already played in Roman times. When the question related to rugby is asked, the common answer is ‘league or union?’ In fact, rugby is divided into two types; Rugby Union and Rugby League. These two most recreational sports for the British are different regarding the rules and the governing bodies. 

For the Rugby Union, this sport is supervised by Rugby Football Union whereas Rugby League is run by the Rugby Football League. When Northern England practices the Rugby League, the British Isles including England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland are arguably home to the Rugby Union. As these two main variants have become a vital part of their culture, here is a full detailed comparison of these two sports games.


Rugby union appeared first and originally it was called ‘rugby football’. There are millions of fans, players, and bettors who use non GamStop bookies provided by or any other GamStop-free gambling portals. Due to the popularity of this game, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) was established by the English clubs and during the 19th century, this game rapidly grew in popularity in other countries like New Zealand and Australia. 

As some players missed their work when they played in the rugby union, the Yorkshire clubs proposed to pay them in 1892. However, this proposition was rejected and the leading clubs in Lancashire supported the Yorkshire sides in 1895. So the formation of a professional organisation was established in which the Northern Rugby Football Union or Northern Union (NU) was shortened. 

Rugby League was, thus, born on 29th August 1895 when 21 clubs in the north of England left the governing body English Rugby Union. They established the Northern Rugby Football Union which later changed its name to the Rugby Football League and formed their own competition.


The main difference between Union and League is that Rugby Union is played with 15 players while Rugby League is played with 13 players. Regarding the pitch, the rugby league has the bigger measuring at between 112 and 122 metres long by 68 metres wide with 100 metres distance between try-lines always. This smaller pitch is caused by the fewer players in Rugby League. 

As for the rugby union, the pitch is between 106 and 144 metres long by 68 to 70 metres wide with the distance between try-lines varying between 94 and 100 metres. Moreover, another significant rule that you have to know to distinguish them is substitution. When you can only make 8 substitutions in Rugby Union, you can make 10 substitutions in League. In other words, the more substitutions you make the longer you can play. 

Nonetheless, as the fitness level is higher, there will be more high-impact collisions and injuries. Furthermore, there are terms spelled the same but have different meanings. As an example, in rugby league, a ‘flanker’ does not exist in rugby league and it is called ‘loose’. It is also the case of ‘the loose forward or lock forward ‘ in rugby league. This has the same job as the number eight of rugby union. In rugby union, centres are inside and outside whereas in the league they are divided into left and right centre.


Rugby is one of the most attractive sports whether professional and recreational. As stated above, this sport is divided into two types and they are different with regards to the rules, the number of players, and pitch dimensions, and length of the field. Rugby union, commonly known simply as rugby is governed by the Rugby Football Union from which this body runs and promotes the sport. 

It also organises international matches and teaches and trains players and officials. As far as the Rugby League is concerned, it’s the Rugby Football League that acts as its governing body. This authority resembles Rugby Football Union in terms of roles and responsibilities. That is to say, this body runs the Challenge Cup, Super League, the Championships, and England Rugby League Team.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.