One origin story of the sport of rugby claims that a school named Rugby a soccer player – known as a footballer in England, where this story is alleged to have happened – decided to pick up the ball and run with it. As fun as this story is, it’s also likely to be false, like many sports origin stories.
Although we do know that rugby did evolve from soccer, as did American football, and the close relationship between the two contact sports is easy to spot.
You score touchdowns and have a goal line in football, and in rugby you score once the ball is touched down beyond the goal line. The ball is kicked through the goalposts for extra points following both a touchdown or a try. The ball is oblong in both, players make tackles in both sports, each sport has handoffs, and possession can change with punts or a turnover on downs (reaching the tackle limit in rugby league).
If you are a fan of American football, you would love rugby. And if you are a fan of rugby, you should watch American football.
Biggest Rugby Matches of the Year
One of the great differences between rugby and football is that rugby is played all across the world, and on several continents it’s one of the most popular sports to play, watch, and bet.
Each year the six nations of Italy, France, Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales play the Six Nations Championship. This tournament actually traces its roots back to the Home Nations Championship, which began in 1883 and was the first ever international rugby union tournament. France was added in 1910, making iy the Five Nations, and Italy was added in 1999.
Each team plays every other team once, making for a total of 15 tournament matches.
Rugby World Cup
Six Nations is the best annual rugby event for watching and betting, but every four years we get the Rugby World Cup, which features the 20 best national teams from around the world.
Instead of just the best six teams in Europe, we get the powerful South African team, the All Blacks from New Zealand, Oceania powers Fiji and Samoa, and the top teams from South America, Argentina and Uruguay.
The 20 teams are split into four pools of five teams each, called bands. Each pool is a single round-robin of 10 games, with the top two teams in each pool advancing to the quarterfinals. The top three teams in each pool automatically qualify for the next World Cup.
By the time the World Cup has crowned a champion and awarded the third place team, a total of 48 rugby matches have been played, and all 48 offer great wagering.
The Different Types of Rugby
In your quest to bet on rugby you will notice that there are two different main types of rugby: rugby union and rugby league.
Rugby union consists of 15 players a side and the possession time for one side is unlimited. As long as all passes and runs are legal, and the ball is maintained during tackles, the attacking team maintains possession of the ball.
In rugby league there are only 13 players a side, which generally makes the game more fast paced. There is also a time of possession limit of six tackles. After that possession of the ball is turned over. Also in rugby league there are no rucks, mauls, or line-outs.
Rugby union is the most popular rugby, and it’s the form of rugby played in the Six Nations, the World Cup, and most of the top professional leagues in the world.
Rugby sevens is another type of rugby that has just seven players per side. It was first contested in the Summer Olympics in 2016, and has gained steadily in popularity since.