Difference Between Rugby vs Football

Difference Between Rugby vs Football

The difference between rugby and football has been contemplated by sporting enthusiasts for decades because there are so many similarities between them visually. Believe it or not, though, they’re completely different sports.

Over the course of this article, we’ll give you a full breakdown of their individual definitions and provide you with a table that highlights the main areas of variation. Without further ado, let’s get straight into the action.

Definition of Rugby

The definition of rugby is: “A game played using a spheroid shaped ball and minimal protective gear that relies on the use of speed, agility and strength to score points.”

It’s very hard when looking purely at the individual summary for each of these respective game types to effectively tell them apart from one another. To understand them, you have to dive into their mechanics.

It all starts with the ball. Despite appearing the same, the balls used in each game feature slightly different size measurements. For rugby, you’re looking at a 27cm length and a 60cm diameter. For football, it’s a 28cm length and 56cm diameter. This is a tiny variation, but it’s still significant. Now, onto the protective gear.

This is where one of the more noticeable contrasts between rugby vs football can be observed in plain sight. Rugby players typically only wear light head protection and a mouth guard, whereas football players have heavy shoulder, head, and lower body protection that is more akin to body armor.

We can also summarize them by referencing pitch sizes, too. The usable area of a rugby pitch is 100 metres in length with a width of 70 metres. With football, you’ve got 91 metres of usable pitch length with a much narrower width of 48 metres, making them both appear very different when looking with a birds eye view.

Definition of Football

The definition of football is: A popular sport primarily played in America featuring the use of a spherical shaped ball and full body protective gear. Players need to call on speed, explosiveness and power in order to score points.”

To continue summarizing these two sports, we need to continue with our focus on game mechanics. Another major difference between football and rugby is the length of each game segment. Football is played in four 15-minute quarters with a half time coming into play after the second quarter. The clock is also stopped regularly throughout each 15-minute segment in football.

With rugby, the game instead consists of two 40-minute halves with a halftime period in between and the clock only ever stops due to a serious injury occurring. Team sizes are different as well, with football having 11-player sides and rugby teams consisting instead of 15 players.

Points, however, are scored in much the same way for each game. It all revolves around players crossing the end line at the far end of each pitch and carrying the ball over the threshold. With rugby, they must touch the ball down on the ground once past this line.

Each game grants a point whenever the ball is kicked from inside the field and successfully lands in between the two goal posts located on each opposing teams side. In summary, the games may appear similar to one another, but their intricacies reveal that they differ greatly.

Main Differences Between Rugby vs Football

The key variations between football vs rugby can be found below.

Basis of ComparisonRugbyFootball
Number of players15 per side11 per side
Length of playable area100-metres91-metres
Playing time2 x 40-minute segments4 x 15-minute segments
Ball size27cm length x 60cm diameter28cm length x 56cm diameter
Protective gearOnly on the headOn the head, shoulders and legs
Typically playedWorldwideMainly in America

Difference Between Rugby and Football: Conclusion

We hope that you finally feel a little more relaxed about summarizing these two popular games. Remember in summary that rugby players wear very little protection whereas football players have a significant amount. This is always an easy visual clue to draw upon.