Rugby union uses an oval ball (a prolate spheroid). Last year's six nations match between Wales and Scotland was another wonderful example of two sides trying to play entertaining rugby.For me Union and League are 2 different games and good luck and success to both. Rugby Union is not better than Rugby League, it’s different, although many of the skill sets needed are the same. While giants such as Inglis can be dominant they cant beat opponents by size and speed alone.John - as for players who would make it in either code, I think O'Driscoll would have been as outstanding in league as he has been in union with his footwork, power, defense and offloading game being ideally suited. I played league and union all the way through my youth till the age on 18 and represented my province in both forms the game. The whole 80 mins could be a series of kicks to touch and not much else.When 6-0 was a huge score, but it was still hugely entertaining and spellbinding.I will stick with what i know and what i love. Complain about this comment (Comment number 38). Toffesaint writes:"The only thing i wish as a league fan is more coverage in the media. These are some of the popular topics this blog covers. Rugby was never in decline in France before the war. Complain about this comment (Comment number 35). The Pro14 table should probably be viewed through gaps in fingers of Scottish rugby fans. though we use it a lot in training! More positional kicking, the ability to dominate any of the set phases or the breakdown; these mean that the tactical variation is bigger in union than it is in league, where it's basically handling, speed and angles. It's almost a badge of honour. just pure unadulterated strength and stamina.from a pure entertainment angle, i think league is the better game. Half of what union gets would see our coverage go up a hundred fold! Complain about this comment (Comment number 15). While I'm a much bigger League fan than Union, both codes can have their good and bad games. Perhaps if we brought in a 6 phase then turnover concept then we might not have to suffer big heavy men running into other big heavy men with little or no territorial gain. That was in direct contravention of the aforementioned RFU rules and led to a dispute between the clubs and their governing body. Almost rugby league and I wondered to myself: would rugby league lads handle this or are they tougher? It was only in 1996 that those laws where removed.Even playing RL on an RU pitch could 'professionalise' the pitch!Playing amateur RL could get you a ban. I don't think union players are any more or less skillful or fitter than league. They and their Lancashire neighbours formed the Northern Rugby Football Union, whilst the RFU continued to govern the sport which would soon become known, In rugby league a player must place the ball between their legs after being tackled and then roll it back with their foot to a team mate, in what is sometimes colloquially known as a ‘chicken scratch’. Watch the Telfer Lions. ", Complain about this comment (Comment number 71). I like the permanent contest for posession in all facets of the game.League still in a way seems like a highlight sport to me. MY father always used to tell of the risk of being banned for even speaking to a league rep. You could play professional football, cricket, American Football, etc but would be banned for life for playing RL. Why also was it banned in the police ??? Who would have thought after all these years that the game of up'n under would be played by RU teams, and the game of fast free flowing rugby with ball to hand would now be RL. Why are there two different kinds? The Rise of American Football "Not this year,Josephine,My back's killing me".The lot of the wife of a professional Rugby Union player is not a happy one.Forced to scavenge in Oxfam shops due to the paltry salary of her husband,she lives in constant fear that an injury to her husband will not only end his career but even worse, ruin his performance in the Boudoir.She gazes longingly at the lifestyle of footballers' WAGs and asks "Why couldn't my husband have had Wayne Rooney's feet? "One of my (many) issues with rugby league is the way that players basically need one set of skills and that's it. American Football is all inaction for four hours—arguably the … Amongst those laws were strict rules against professionalism within the game and it was these which ultimately led to the rise of rugby league. If you do, Keith Prowse are sure to have a rugby hospitality package which can make your day at the match extra special. Rugby union nowadays is one dimensional. They don't and might as well be considered different sports.An acid test of similarity is whether each code could play each other. I have seen my fair share of boring league matches and I there are fewer "great" league matches that stick in the memory for me. Just my nostalgia soaked opinion, so go easy on me. This led to RL struggling to gain any foothold in universities and the armed forces for example. Jonathon Thurston, probably the best half in the world, small also. Im sure ice hockey, softball, underwater hockey and lawn bowling are crying out loud for more coverage for thei sports. I loved playing the game but also enjoyed watching rugby league. People in the Southern Hemisphere are more concerned with running attacking football than scrums & lineouts.I've always thought the NRL is the best football comp. League restarts with another set of 6 and we are immediately back in to a running and ball handling game which is a crowd spectacle.In short I am unable to say which is the 'better' sport but I do feel that both codes have some great points that make them what they are. Maybe it's because the playing style of ball in hand is very similar. Watching league is 10 times better than watching union, as union is just kick-lineout-scrum until someone gets a penalty and takes a shot at goal. His immobility would be too easily exposed. Union in the northern hemisphere (at club level) is awful, truely boring, the majority of the time, whereas (up until a couple of years ago) it was the exact opposite for League. New Zealand only has 15,000 rugby league players left in the country. John,I am a league fan who comes in peace.Please don't ever ask again which code is better! I hate union's snobby view of the 13-man game. The main objective is to score points by touching the ball down within the opponent’s try line, however points … I watch their tackle technique, they way they drill their forearm into the face of the tackled player when he is on the ground, and their running lines. However there is beauty and skill in the line out, scrum and rolling maul - skills which we should not dismiss just because one or two nations don't have a front row at present. The changes to the game in my view have not helped the free flowing game that I loved to play and the game has got worse to watch as a spectacle. League's hotbeds are the North of England, the cities of Australia and New Zealand, and some large swathes of Papua New Guinea. the competitions in union are far better and a lot more competitive. Complain about this comment (Comment number 25). But can you call one game better than the other? obviously being born in Wales, i'm union through and through, attending and playing matches all my life. tv doesn't show everything that goes on in league. I enjoy both games but I do prefer Union. Anybody who watched the end the last couple of months of the (NH) union season and the summer internationals will know that this has led to more attractive rugby and the move away from the endless kicking we saw before that. Glasgow must take heed of London travel lessons, Tears a big feature of London 2012 Olympic Games, Hoy weighs up retirement with 2014 looming. I think that rugby league is better than Union because i have experienced the game and it is a better one on o0ne sport and i think that league is better that union. whilst there is no competition from any sport to union for me i thouroughly enjoy watching league, as do a lot of my team mates.i've attended many of the league events that have taken place at the millenium stadium and had a great time doing so, though i do feel the crowds were a lot different from the union ones, which is not a slight.when watching league my only gripe (a minor one at that) is the 5 tackle rule. Even the great running French teams of years gone by are a thing of the past. The game opened up a little. League takes the best bits - strength, ball skill, open running, fitness and leaves the dross - endless kicking to find touch, pointless repetitive 1m gains in the middle, fat blokes who would be better suited to darts and games won on penalties without a try being scored. We really are due a bit of luck in international sport!!! The bravery taking the ball into contact at full speed is admirable, and their ability to spot an overlap shows a vision that not many union players possess. Roll forward 40 years and the position has been reversed. "It also provides us with an opportunity to showcase how Airheads can add value and enhance crowd scenes in TV and Film Productions. Scrums are constantly being reset rather than let 2 props of equal ability sort things out themselves. This helped to create a strong class divide between the two codes. Compare Super15 to the Premiership. I would also love to see how hard Jerry Collins could hit if he didn't have to wrap his arms around. I won't go for the whole 'oh union is so boring etc.' Rugby is divided into two main “codes”; Rugby League and Rugby Union. looks like bias is alive and well but the need for both sports to compete in an ever conjested market place will make them both change and develope. This led to RL struggling to gain any foothold in universities and the armed forces for example. You have a very short memory but millions and millions of blacks in South Africa support and play rugby. Just played by people with better grammar. Union has lineouts where large 18 / 19 stone men are being lifted and suspended to a height of say, 5 or 6 feet off the ground. The first obvious difference between rugby league and rugby union is that the former is played by 13 players per team, whilst the latter features 15 players a side. say what you want about league but its far more entertaining, the players are far fitter, the ball is in play far more than in yawnion - where up to 10 minutes can be wasted waiting for nonsense scrums and pointless lineouts and there is far less cheating. They are not afraid to switch match days and kick off times to avoid clashes with other sports in order to maximise attendances. For the latest updates across BBC blogs, visit the Blogs homepage. Why not compare Manchester United to Harlow Town FC while you're at it? Zimbabwe has more rugby players at all level than the current rugby league world champions NZ and France put together. However whilst the we continue to have a lot to learn about lines of running, aggressive driving with the ball and defence, we are improving and have caught up in terms of fitness which was always a major difference in the past - with the advent of professionalism. One of my (many) issues with rugby league is the way that players basically need one set of skills and that's it. Why does everyone get so hung up about comparisons? Brett Hodgson, about 11stone wet through won the 2009 Man of Steel. Nights, as they say, are fair drawing in.Maybe another way to look at it is that having both codes keeps a healthy rivalry and I was trying to think of union players who might make it in league......Sean Lamont, Brian O'Driscoll, Banahan, Shane Williams - it's all the real bangers who have great skill as well.Had my injections for Delhi today - feel like a slightly sick and swollen pin cushionJB, Complain about this comment (Comment number 55). The difference comes from the larger emphasis on kicking in Union compared to the predominantly passing game of league (i.e the bullet like league ball is easier to pass while the slightly rounder union ball has a larger sweet spot for kicking). As for in the other direction, Ryan Hall and Kyle Eastmond, although I hope neither would go as they would be a massive loss. Complain about this comment (Comment number 44). The ball used in rugby union, usually referred to as a rugby ball, is a prolate spheroid essentially elliptical in profile. Union requires a far broader skillset across the team. Complain about this comment (Comment number 60). In the UK, Rugby League is more popular in the north of England, whereas Rugby Union is more popular in the South. Perhaps because of the history and the shape of the ball it is assumed that Union and League have something in common. League is a decent sport but Rugby is on another level and you can tell that by the millions who play it and the millions and millions of fans who follow it. RL on the other hand has improved beyond all recognition, and is no longer the up'n'under game of Eddie Wairing, it has become faster as the players fitness has improved and is a much better game to watch now when the ball is played to hands , there is more ingenuity, more thought and is far more exciting and better to watch now than RU. Complain about this comment (Comment number 5). Is union, with its greater number of facets and shapes and sizes a better game almost exclusively because of that? The Heineken Cup Final is now big enough it would sell out any ground in a 6 Nations country - 80,000 at the Stade de France last season, and I am sure if it had been in Barcelona at the magnificent Camp Nou it would have been a 98,000 sell-out (Barcelona is closer to both Toulouse and Biarritz than Paris is!). Having played both games to a resonable standard for me Rugby League is a more exciting game to play and watch. Me again.I do think conditions make a huge amount of difference here in the Uk. the thing that always astounded me about league was how unbelievably fit the players were, and this was back in the 80s/early 90s. In rugby, those days might yet come. But I feel there is more flow to Union, and there is something gladdening to watch a scrum or lineout operating perfectly. Ask a sports fan simply if they like rugby and you’ll almost always get the same three word response; “league or union?”. Watch Scotland and Wales release from the tackle, rapid ball recovery and continued forward support. I enjoy both codes of the game but union just has it over the league as speciaised positions in union make it that much more technical as a result harder to play. I only play masters Rugby League as I am now close to 45 and Rugby is just too hard to play even at the lowest level. Many more carries and many more tackles in league. BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Union is chess, league is chequers. Complain about this comment (Comment number 52), @ Hugh in FranceThe popularity of rugby league has been heavily shaped by political events and may well have ended up as the more popular sport had the second world was not intervened. There is far too much tinkering with the rules in Union as a result it creates the game that you see today - with a lot of kicking. What is the actual difference? Therefore I declare union the king of rugby. Having played both at pretty reasonable levels, I would say that a poor game of Union is still better to play and watch than a poor game of League but a good game of League is better to watch and play than Union.Having been at a Union playing school, I switched to League at university and my skill and fitness levels came on massively as the League game is faster and there are less places to hide on the pitch. It is winning new fans, breaking new ground and attracting new investors. They stopped people playing sport...they should be ashamed.Recent places where RL has played: Moscow, Riga, Kazan, Beruit, Jamaica, Washington DC, Serbia, Malta, Germany, Dublin, Glasgow, Cardiff, UAE etc. Its just that France were ejected from the Five Nations and had to settle playing rugby minors like Italy, Germany, Hungary and others. that wouldnt happen in Union with amateur squad members making it into the 6N squad or the RWC squad.Now based in Budapest, I am back to playing Union as any form of rugby out here is still relatively unheard of! Rugby is a sport developed in spread areas within the United Kingdom. Rugby League is faster and generally, the ball is in play for much longer, the play the ball was introduced many years ago to speed up the game, which had evolved from Rugby Union and is the modern rugby game. The only single-sport events bigger than the RWC are the FIFA World Cup, and the Tour de France.Surely if League was a better sport, people would watch that rather than Union? During the early development of rugby football different schools used different rules, on many occasions agreeing upon them shortly before commencement of the game. Complain about this comment (Comment number 10). Complain about this comment (Comment number 6). i mean, they were knocked to the ground and they were up again in one second, but even in that intervening second, they were bucking and writhing and kicking. Complain about this comment (Comment number 65), Complain about this comment (Comment number 66), Both sports are magnificent days out with rivals and families joining together, one criticism of union however would be the price, £70 for Scotland top seats at their home 6 nations gamesI dont even want to know what Englands prices would beThat compared to the £30 top range seat that I had for the Super League magic weekend at Murrayfield 2 years ago and you can see where the value is, and this was for 3 games on a Sunday.That said its supply and demand and all 6 nations are near sell outs where as the majority of SL games are notBoth codes realise that apart from the premiership in England they are a minority sport and have started initiatives to try and spread the game like the Friday evening 6 nations matches and the SL Magic weekends at both Cardiff and Edinburgh, and that is to be appluadedOn field its hard to judge cause you are not comparing apples to applesLike John I watched Wigan demolish Englands and probably Europes top Union side Bath in a one off game of unionThen in the return when they switched codes put up a fairly good showing and excelled in the loose and counter attackThey only struggled in scrums mauls rucks and the line outThey were fitter better ahletes and had all round better skills and game awarenessHowever since Union has went proffessional the gap has narrowed to such an extent that most players could hold their own at either codesThe big difference however is that in the tackle League players need to do nothing except not knock on, and indeed many times they can engineer a penalty for holding or high tackle or slowing down the play the ball where as in union players are as likely to be penalised as they are to be awarded a penalty due to interpretation of refsThis is why teams kick far more and from far deeper cause its always safer playing in the opponents half defending or attackingA final point is that Union seem to be doing a far better job in spreading the game around the globeLook at some of the teams who play sevens and play very wellKenya,Portugal,Russia,USA,CanadaI think you have to look at all these factors if you want to decideBut for me my favourite ever players from both codes areJones 87 McCaw 07 Calder 90 Jeffreys 90 Williams 05 (thats Martin not Ali)So its Union and all the scavengers and dark art (cheats) back rows for me, Complain about this comment (Comment number 67). I enjoy both games and both have their place in the world.Union will always be my preffered choice. I'll play your game though, at the AFL grand final in Melborne they got 100,000 people in there while Bristol Sonics League team could barely get a couple of hundred! But these players are lucky if they make a million a year and in Rugby League (see Rugby Union vs Rugby League to understand the differences) it’s rare for players to earn more than £100,000 a year. If you don't practice it also makes these situations becomes more dangerous but the 1.5m rule at school means there is little point practicing driving a scrum and the secondary shove any more. The main league competitions are found (4N's and RLWC are ranked 12 and 13 respectivly, behind Coppa America, FIFA Womens World Cup, Euro 2008, CONCACAF Gold Cup, AFC Asia Cup, The World Baseball Classic and the African Cup of Nations. Jamie Roberts could make the switch easily. It just needs a little more understanding of the "dark arts" to appreciate them all. To the point of the League positions being interchangeable, I agree to a certain degree as I am a Union Centre and a League prop - although I dont think I could do it the other way round, but I have played with people who can and have.Just in case you weren't aware, League is getting stronger in Scotland, with the Scotland Amateur side recently winning the 2010 Home Nations - now several amateur members of the squad now looking to be picked for the Full professional squad who are looking to be the 4th side in the 4 Nations competition in Australia later this year. In the southern hemisphere club Union is quite good to watch but in the NRL the players are so good at the basics alot of games are fairly dull despite the fact you do get the brilliance of the likes of Hayne, Inglis etc. Me again:I have to say but surely they can bring back scrums though? The other thing is that Union is still a game for all shapes and sizes however I feel in League the saying that good big one is far better than a good little one is very true. like every rugby fan of either code, i like big hits and the physicallity of the games, but being Welsh nothing pleases me more than someone willing to take a risk and pull out something beautiful. Why rugby league is obviously better than rugby union. Ninh explains the differences between Rugby League and Rugby Union and a whole lot more. There are more black rugby players in South Africa than there are rugby league players in the whole of Australia. As most rugby followers in Scotland, I've been immersed in Union at the expense of League. Complain about this comment (Comment number 30). We in union have different laws for scrummaging for various age groups throughout the game which I feel is wrong. And this year the second-tier Challenge cup attracted a crowd of 50,000And another stat - average attendance at the 2008 RLWC - 16,000. You can stay up to date with John Beattie via these feeds. Rugby was already played in more countries around the world before the war in 1939. Complain about this comment (Comment number 61). The main reason rugby league is the better sport is the speed of the game. Don’t get me wrong, the Union game does have its moments of ball-in-hand brilliance, but it’s usually an exception, not… Complain about this comment (Comment number 48), Complain about this comment (Comment number 49). Rugby union was originally referred to as rugby football. That, therefore, is exactly what we’re going to do. I've always found the which code is better arguement more confined to the UK.Since moving to NZ in 2007, both codes are watched & enjoyed by fans alike. If the ball goes out of play after such a kick, play restarts with a six player, Now that you’ve hopefully got a better understanding of the difference between rugby league and rugby union, you might well fancy taking in some action from either code in person. The Danes scored 45 goals in 8 games, but could only manage 1 against Scotland (they beat Gerogia 15-0 at home, and drew 0-0 with Scotland)Why do Scotland always seem to miss out by an impossibly small margin? A RL 'prop' requires pretty much the same skillset as a RL 'full back'. This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. What goes up must come down and even 18 stone being brought back to earth slowly by the lifters runs the risk of injury to joints and or soft tissue (watch out for medical reports in 20 yrs time). The tackles were ferocious and at one stage there were some fisticuffs and we were down to fourteen a side. Rugby Union wins by a mile for me. 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