Can someone please explain the main differences between Rugby League and Rugby Union?
League does not allow the ref to "play the advantage" as much. This means if someone does something wrong (such as a forward pass) the ref has to stop and penalise in league. Not so in union. The ref may let it continue on to see if the other team ends up in a better advantage than the other.
Ruck and Mauls - OK I don't get this with union. Something about depending on whether the guy with the ball gets rolled over or something, he has to release the ball whilst he is being tackled.
Scrums - actually still a point to this in union. In league a scrum very rarely results in a turnover in possession because the rules basically state that players aren't allowed to push in the scrum. In union they can.
Union has lineouts. Once again - I don't really understand union so I don't know why they do this. but basically each team lines up and one guy throws the ball and both teams throw one of their guys in the air anf try to catch it.
The basic answer is that rugby league has 13 players, rugby union has 15. Most of the laws are similar or identical, but there are bigger differences. For example, Union puts a lot of emphasis on scrums and line-outs (when the ball goes out of play). League has both but they are really incidental to the game. On the other hand a League team has 6 tackles to score a try before it goes to the opposition. The upshot is that League is a more running game, Union has more set pieces. This website gives a table with more details:
The differences are getting less and less. Union has changed its laws radically over the last 10 years and sometimes I have to watch a game for 5 minutes or so before working out which code is being played.
Historically there are big cultural differences. League was in Britain and Australia the working man's game. It was professional at its top layers (because the miners lost a days pay playing on a Saturday). Union was the game for the middle classes and was amateur up to and including national level (they worked Mondays to Fridays and didn't need the money). Again over the last 10 years that has broken down since Union players are professional at the senior end of the game, and League is struggling to afford wages bills in the middle layer of the game.
More Questions & Answers...