Friday, June 26, 2009


Status of rugby codes in various countries
Rugby union is both a professional and amateur game, and is dominated by first tier unions: Argentina, Australia, England, Fiji, France, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa, and Wales. Rugby Union is administered by the International Rugby Board (IRB). Rugby union is the national sport in New Zealand, South Africa and Wales. Second and Third tier unions include Canada, Chile, Georgia, Japan, Namibia, Portugal, Romania, Samoa, Spain, Tonga, United States and Uruguay.
Rugby league is also both a professional and amateur game, administered on a global level by the Rugby League International Federation. In addition to the countless amateur and semi-professional competitions in countries such as the United States, Russia, Lebanon and across Europe and Australasia, there are two major professional competitions worldwide—the Australasian National Rugby League and the European Super League.

Main article:
Comparison of rugby league and rugby union
Distinctive features common to both rugby codes (league and union) include the prolate spheroid ball and the ban on passing the ball forward, so that players can gain ground only by running with the ball or by kicking it. As the sport of rugby league moved further away from its union counterpart, rule changes were implemented with the aim of making a faster-paced, more try-oriented game.
The main differences between the two games, besides league having teams of 13 players and union of 15, involve the
tackle and its aftermath:
Union players contest possession following the tackle: depending on the situation, either a
ruck or a maul can occur. League players may not contest possession after making a tackle: play is continued with a play-the-ball.
In league, if the team in possession fails to score before a set of six tackles, it surrenders possession. Union has no six-tackle rule; a team can keep the ball for an unlimited number of tackles before scoring as long as it maintains possession and does not commit an offence.
Set pieces of the union code include the scrum, where packs of opposing players push against each other for possession, and the lineout, where parallel lines of players from each team, arranged perpendicular to the touch-line (the side line) attempt to catch the ball thrown from touch (the area behind the touch-line).
In the league code, the scrum still exists, but with greatly reduced importance. Set pieces are generally started from the play-the-ball situation. Many of the
rugby league positions have similar names and requirements to rugby union positions but there are no flankers in rugby league.
Rugby league does not have any kicking for touch rules based on the 22 meter line. Rugby Union has just (at the beginning of the 2006 international tournaments) put in place experimental law variations (ELVs) that include such rules as legal pulling down of mauls if done above the waist and opposing defense have to be 5 meters off the back of the scrum.

In the UK, an old saying goes "Football is a gentleman's game played by ruffians and rugby is a ruffian's game played by gentlemen".
[4] In most rugby-playing countries, rugby union is widely regarded as an "establishment" sport, played mostly by members of the upper and middle classes. For example, many students at private schools and grammar schools play rugby union.[5] By contrast, rugby league has traditionally been seen as a working and middle class pursuit. A contrast to this ideology is evident in the neighbouring unions of England and Wales. In England the sport is very much associated with the public schools system (i.e. independent/private schools). In Ireland, rugby union is also associated with private education and the "D4" stereotype, and this image of the spoilt, ignorant, wealthy rugby-playing jock inspired the best-selling Ross O'Carroll Kelly novels. In Wales, rugby is associated with small village teams which consisted of coal miners and other industrial workers playing on their days off.[6] In Australia support for both codes is concentrated in New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory. The same perceived class barrier as exists between the two games in England also occurs in these states, fostered by rugby union's prominence and support at private schools.[7]
Exceptions to the above include New Zealand, Wales, France except Paris, Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Somerset, the Borders region of Scotland, County Limerick in Ireland (see Munster), and the Pacific Islands, where rugby union is popular in working class communities. Nevertheless, Rugby League is perceived as the game of the working class people in northern England,[8] and in the Australian states of New South Wales and Queensland.[7]
In the United Kingdom, rugby union fans sometimes use the term "rugger" as an alternative name for the sport, (see Oxford '-er').[9] Also the kick off is known to be called "Rug Off" in some regions. New Zealanders generally refer to rugby in general as "footy" or "football", rugby union simply as either "rugby" or "union" and to rugby league as "rugby league" or "league".[10] In the U.S., people who play rugby are sometimes called "ruggers", a term little used elsewhere except facetiously. Those considered to be heavily involved with the rugby union lifestyle—including heavy drinking and striped jumpers—sometimes identify as "rugger buggers". Retired rugby union players who still turn up to watch, drink and serve on committees rank as "alickadoos" or, less kindly, as "old farts" (the "old farts" reference has probably been made the more popular by former England captain Will Carling's remark on the RFU.)[11]