Rugby Leauge is a full contact sport which is played out on a rectangular field by two teams of 13 players each. The sport is often mixed up with Rugby Union, since they have so quite a few similarities. In fact, as fans who watch Rugby on tv would know, there are several differences. The game enjoys global notoriety and is played by amateurs and professionals from over 100 countries.
- 21 Mar
- 22 Mar
- Today’s earlier broadcasts
- 23 Mar
- 24 Mar
- 28 Mar
- 29 Mar
- 30 Mar
- 4 Apr
- 5 Apr
- 6 Apr
- 11 Apr
- 12 Apr
- 13 Apr
- 19 Apr
- 22 Apr
- 27 Apr
- 2 May
- 16 May
Rugby League, as it is known today, originated in England in 1895, however, its roots date back decades earlier. It split from the Rugby Union primarily over rules regarding payment to players, but over time other rules were adopted. Today, Rugby League is a sport in its own right, viewed by millions of fans across the world.
Northern teams made up the majority of the founders of Rugby League. With many of their players working as coal miners and mill workers, they disagreed that they should not be compensated for lost hours of work.
As the game developed it attracted teams from different parts of the world. In 1907, the New South Wales Rugby Football League was organized and Rugby League went on to replace Rugby Union as the main Rugby sport played in Queensland.
Rules of the game
A Rugby League game is played on a rectangular pitch of 120 meters in length. Two opposing teams compete to get the highest number of points, with the main objective being to get the ball on the respective goal lines. At each of these lines, there is an H-shaped goal post which players use to score kicks, such as drop goals or penalty goals.
As many team sports, a Rugby League match begins with a coin toss to decide which team will kick off first and which sides teams will start from. During the second half, the sides are switched, and the other team kicks off. Once the ball is kicked, the game starts.
The team who holds the oval-shaped ball is the attacker, whilst the opposing team needs to defend their goal line and attempt to steal the ball away from the attackers. Attackers have several ways in which to try and score points. They can attempt to score try by landing the ball in the in-goal area or on the goal line. Alternatively, in some cases, the team can attempt to kick a drop goal, which is a lot trickier.
Fans watching Rugby on tv split their attention between the attackers and defenders. The latter use strategy and brute force to prevent the attackers from scoring points. Their biggest weapon is the tackle, which arguably provides the most entertainment of the game.
As an attacker sees a defender about to tackle them, they can opt to pass the ball to a teammate. Passing can only be lateral or backward of the player's position. If a player is tackled, Rugby League rules state that the attackers can roll the ball over to a teammate, however, this can only be done up to six times per set.
What differentiates it from Rugby Union
Although both Rugby League and Rugby Union appear identical to the uninitiated, there are subtle differences which help distinguish them. Eagle-eyed fans who watch Rugby on tv know that an easy way to tell the difference is by counting the players on the pitch. Rugby League games consist of two teams of 13 players each, whilst Rugby Union teams are made up of 15 players.
Another major difference is what happens after an attacker has been tackled. In Rugby League, the attacker drops the ball and passes it to a teammate, but in Rugby Union, any player who is standing up and onside can acquire the ball. Scoring too is different between the two, with actions in Rugby Union usually awarding more points than in Rugby League.
Key Players and Teams
Andrew Gary "Joey" Johns is, arguably, one of the best players, known for challenging the opposition until his very last game. In fact, the Australian will always be remembered for breaking through the Roosters line just before his retirement. Gary Johns shares the limelight with fellow Australian Darren Lockyer, who broke several records, including most try's for Australia and most games played for a single club.
Other great players who attracted thousands of fans to watch Rugby on tv include the English, Kevin Sinfield, the oldest player to be awarded the golden boot award, and Gus Risman, the Welshman who scored the second highest number of points ever.
According to the RLIF rankings, Australia, England, and New Zealand top the list in order. The Australian men's team has won four of the last five Rugby League World Cup events. New Zealand won the fifth, whilst England, Fiji and Wales were often runner ups in each of these competitions.
Memorable TV/Match Moments
Fans who watch live Rugby on tv will certainly remember some of the best moments over the years. Who could forget Steve Menzies' Final Try In The NRL which represented his final game, number 349? Another great moment happened in the 2015 grand final, where the Cowboys beat all odds and thanks to the incredible efforts of Kyle Feldt and Johnathan Thurston there was nothing the opposition could do.
In 2003, a spectacular tackle by the Panther's Scott Satler stopped the Rooster's Todd Byrne right in his tracks. It was a textbook maneuver and allowed the Panther's to go on and win their second premiership.
Two years later, in 2005, during a wild match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the West Tigers, a young player by the name of Benji Marshall awed fans by carrying out a flick pass that will certainly never be forgotten by Tigers fans.
Rugby League events continue to offer excitement and thrills to their worldwide fans. Thanks to the opportunity to watch live Rugby on tv free, the number of fans has increased considerably. Just like with other sport on tv, Rugby League has created its own communities, loyal following, and legends. The game which started off as a protest has quickly become a world-class activity worthy of the greatest sporting events.