History Main / RugbyUnion

24th Sep '16 12:59:07 AM KYCubbie
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* '''The Rugby Championship''' — Created as the Tri Nations Series in 1996, shortly after the sport became professional, and initially involving South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia. In 2012, Argentina was invited to join and the competition adopted its current name. The governing body is SANZAAR, a joint venture between the governing bodies of the participating countries (originally SANZAR until Argentina became a full member in 2016). New Zealand are the reigning champions, having won the 2016 edition with a round to spare.

to:

* '''The Rugby Championship''' — Created as the Tri Nations Series in 1996, shortly after the sport became professional, and initially involving South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia. In 2012, Argentina was invited to join and the competition adopted its current name. The governing body is SANZAAR, a joint venture between the governing bodies of the participating countries (originally SANZAR until Argentina became a full member in 2016). New Zealand are the reigning champions, having won the 2016 edition with a round [[CurbstompBattle two rounds to spare.spare]].
20th Sep '16 4:53:06 PM KYCubbie
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* '''The Rugby Championship''' — Created as the Tri Nations Series in 1996, shortly after the sport became professional, and initially involving South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia. In 2012, Argentina was invited to join and the competition adopted its current name. The governing body is SANZAAR, a joint venture between the governing bodies of the participating countries (originally SANZAR until Argentina became a full member in 2016). Australia are the reigning champions, having won an abbreviated tournament in the World Cup year of 2015.[[note]]Normally, each team plays the others home and away. In World Cup years, each team only plays the others once.[[/note]]

to:

* '''The Rugby Championship''' — Created as the Tri Nations Series in 1996, shortly after the sport became professional, and initially involving South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia. In 2012, Argentina was invited to join and the competition adopted its current name. The governing body is SANZAAR, a joint venture between the governing bodies of the participating countries (originally SANZAR until Argentina became a full member in 2016). Australia New Zealand are the reigning champions, having won an abbreviated tournament in the World Cup year of 2015.[[note]]Normally, each team plays the others home and away. In World Cup years, each team only plays the others once.[[/note]] 2016 edition with a round to spare.
18th Sep '16 6:50:22 PM KYCubbie
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* '''The National Rugby Championship''' - Australia's equivalent to the Mitre 10 and Currie Cup competitions. The NRC is, in contrast to most other domestic rugby competitions, very young indeed, having been established in 2014 (although there have been other similar competitions in the past). Rugby faces a unique challenge in Australia - although the only major rugby countries where it is the most popular sport are New Zealand and Wales, in most of the rest of the world it only really has to compete with AssociationFootball (and maybe Gaelic games in Ireland) for the public's affections. In Australia however, not only is rugby not the most popular national sport, not only is it not the second most popular sport, it isn't even the second most popular ''form of football''. AssociationFootball, RugbyLeague and AustralianRulesFootball are all generally more popular than rugby union, not to mention the national obsession that is {{cricket}}. As a result Aussie rugby has generally been slightly anaemic at the domestic level, fuelled mainly by intense popularity among the nation's private schools and a few local club competitions (especially in the state of New South Wales). The NRC represents the latest attempt to surpass that obstacle and raise the profile of the game among Australia's sports-mad population - as yet the jury is out on how successful that attempt is. The reigning champions are Brisbane City.

to:

* '''The National Rugby Championship''' - Australia's equivalent to the Mitre 10 and Currie Cup competitions. The NRC is, in contrast to most other domestic rugby competitions, very young indeed, having been established in 2014 (although there have been other similar competitions in the past). Rugby faces a unique challenge in Australia - although the only major rugby countries where it is the most popular sport are New Zealand and Wales, in most of the rest of the world it only really has to compete with AssociationFootball (and maybe Gaelic games in Ireland) for the public's affections. In Australia however, not only is rugby not the most popular national sport, not only is it not the second most popular sport, it isn't even the second most popular ''form of football''. AssociationFootball, RugbyLeague and AustralianRulesFootball are all generally more popular than rugby union, not to mention the national obsession that is {{cricket}}.UsefulNotes/{{cricket}}. As a result Aussie rugby has generally been slightly anaemic at the domestic level, fuelled mainly by intense popularity among the nation's private schools and a few local club competitions (especially in the state of New South Wales). The NRC represents the latest attempt to surpass that obstacle and raise the profile of the game among Australia's sports-mad population - as yet the jury is out on how successful that attempt is. The reigning champions are Brisbane City.
18th Sep '16 6:48:59 PM KYCubbie
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In league you have six tackles (think downs) to make it to the end zone. In Union, you have as long as you can keep hold of the ball. Imagine Grid Iron played like that. There would be a lot of running the ball up the gut.

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In league you have six tackles (think downs) to make it to the end zone. In Union, you have as long as you can keep hold of the ball. Imagine Grid Iron Gridiron played like that. There would be a lot of running the ball up the gut.



Rugby Union is a version of football supposedly started at [[BoardingSchool Rugby School]] in Warwickshire when a player picked up the ball and ran with it. It's played in Britain, France, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, a good proportion of the south Pacific, South Africa, Japan, and even (a little) in the U.S. [[note]] A bit of trivia here: the U.S. was the reigning Olympic champion in Rugby Union until 2016, having won at the 1924 Summer Olympics, since that was the last time it was an Olympic event. Arguably they are still reigning champion as the sport played in 2016 was Rugby ''Sevens'' which has separate championships from normal Rugby Union and even different "great powers" - reigning Olympic Champion Fiji being a big name in Sevens but no match for New Zealand in fifteen on fifteen Rugby Union[[/note]] However, Rugby Sevens, a shortened form of Union returned to the Olympics in 2016. Neither Fiji or Samoa had ever won an Olympic medal at any sport, and both are among the strongest sevens nations, so they will be among the most ferocious competitors in Rio de Janeiro. And indeed Fiji brought home gold, endearing the world both to the plucky underdog nation and the sport's much faster paced "little cousin".

to:

Rugby Union is a version of football supposedly started at [[BoardingSchool Rugby School]] in Warwickshire when a player picked up the ball and ran with it. It's played in Britain, France, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, a good proportion of the south Pacific, South Africa, Japan, and even (a little) in the U.S. [[note]] A bit of trivia here: the U.S. was the reigning Olympic champion in Rugby Union until 2016, having won at the 1924 Summer Olympics, since that was the last time it was an Olympic event. Arguably they are still reigning champion as the sport played in 2016 was Rugby ''Sevens'' which has separate championships from normal Rugby Union and even different "great powers" - reigning Olympic Champion Fiji being a big name in Sevens but no match for New Zealand in fifteen on fifteen Rugby Union[[/note]] However, Rugby Sevens, a shortened form of Union returned to the Olympics in 2016. Neither Fiji or Samoa had ever won an Olympic medal at any sport, and both are among the strongest sevens nations, so they will be were among the most ferocious competitors in Rio de Janeiro. And indeed Fiji brought home gold, endearing the world both to the plucky underdog nation and the sport's much faster paced "little cousin".



As with most sports codified and then popularised around the world via the British, the pinnacle of the game is the competition between international teams. As with most sports in general, there is a TierSystem in which certain teams are generally more likely to triumph over others. The thing about rugby however is that, due to the complexity and physical intensity of the game and the variety of differing ways to score, major upsets are fairly rare. When you go up against a significantly better rugby team than you, you can generally expect that you will be beaten. This has the effect ([[ATouchOfClassEthnicityAndReligion appropriately]], perhaps, for a sport that emerged in Britain) of producing a sort of "caste system" in both domestic club competitions and the international circuit. At the top rung are the nations defined by the sport's governing body as "Tier 1" teams - the best of the best, all of whom have or are involved in professional or semi-professional competitions each year. These teams can also be divided based on which hemisphere they are found in, as this determines which transnational competitions they compete in. In the Northern Hemisphere, these are England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales. In the Southern Hemisphere, they consist of Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Note that, with the curious exceptions of Italy, France and Argentina, all of these nations were once part of the British Commonwealth, which is how the game was popularised there. And Argentina really isn't that large of an exception—British expats played a major role in the country's industrial development, and introduced the sport to the country in the 1870s. As time goes by the dominance of the top teams is diminishing - at the most recent World Cup, Japan stunned South Africa and pretty much the rest of the world by recording their first ever win over the Springboks, which was also their second ever win in the entire history of the World Cup. For reference, South Africa have won the whole thing twice and are at any given time very likely to be in the top 3 teams in the world. Japan, by contrast, have never been higher in the world rugby rankings then ''ninth''.

to:

As with most sports codified and then popularised around the world via the British, the pinnacle of the game is the competition between international teams. As with most sports in general, there is a TierSystem in which certain teams are generally more likely to triumph over others. The thing about rugby however is that, due to the complexity and physical intensity of the game and the variety of differing ways to score, major upsets are fairly rare. When you go up against a significantly better rugby team than you, you can generally expect that you will be beaten. This has the effect ([[ATouchOfClassEthnicityAndReligion appropriately]], perhaps, for a sport that emerged in Britain) of producing a sort of "caste system" in both domestic club competitions and the international circuit. At the top rung are the nations defined by the sport's governing body as "Tier 1" teams - the best of the best, all of whom have or are involved in professional or semi-professional competitions each year. These teams can also be divided based on which hemisphere they are found in, as this determines which transnational competitions they compete in. In the Northern Hemisphere, these are England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales. In the Southern Hemisphere, they consist of Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Note that, with the curious exceptions of Italy, France and Argentina, all of these nations were once part of the British Commonwealth, which is how the game was popularised there. And Argentina really isn't that large of an exception—British exception—the sport was introduced to Argentina by British expats (who played a major role in the country's industrial development, and introduced the sport to the country development) in the 1870s. As time goes by the dominance of the top teams is diminishing - at the most recent World Cup, Japan stunned South Africa and pretty much the rest of the world by recording their first ever win over the Springboks, which was also their second ever win in the entire history of the World Cup. For reference, South Africa have won the whole thing twice and are at any given time very likely to be in the top 3 teams in the world. Japan, by contrast, have never been higher in the world rugby rankings then ''ninth''.



The Southern Hemisphere teams tend to have nicknames: South Africa are known as the Springboks, Australia as the Wallabies, Argentina as the Pumas and New Zealand, most famously, as the All Blacks. The Northern Hemisphere teams, however, don't, save for the French team called Les Bleus, and the Italians, the Azzurri (confusingly, both teams' names translate to "the blues", though for entirely unconnected reasons). Note that the ''official'' symbol of the All Blacks is a silver fern, while Les Bleus are supposedly designated by a Rooster. However, all the British teams are commonly associated with a flower - a red rose for England, a leek/daffodil for Wales, a thistle for Scotland and a shamrock for Ireland.

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The Southern Hemisphere teams tend to have nicknames: South Africa are known as the Springboks, Australia as the Wallabies, Argentina as the Pumas and New Zealand, most famously, as the All Blacks. The Northern Hemisphere teams, however, don't, save for the French team called Les Bleus, and the Italians, the Azzurri (confusingly, both teams' names translate to "the blues", though for entirely unconnected reasons). Note that the ''official'' symbol of the All Blacks is a silver fern, while Les Bleus are supposedly designated by a Rooster.rooster. However, all the British teams are commonly associated with a flower - a red rose for England, a leek/daffodil for Wales, a thistle for Scotland and a shamrock for Ireland.



* '''World Rugby Sevens Series'''[[note]]Per corporate naming, called the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series[[/note]] — An annual series of tournaments for national sevens teams conducted since 1999–2000. In the just-completed 2015–16 season, the tour had 10 stops, up from nine in 2014–15: Dubai, South Africa (Cape Town), Australia (Sydney), New Zealand (Wellington), Canada (Vancouver), the USA (Las Vegas), Singapore, Hong Kong, France (Paris), and England (London). Each tournament except for Hong Kong involves 16 teams competing for four distinct trophies, plus points toward the overall series championship. Fifteen of these teams are "core teams" that compete in each event during a given season. The Hong Kong event incorporates a separate 12-team tournament that, since the 2013–14 season, has been used for core team qualification for the following season. The winner of this tournament is assured a core team place in the next season, replacing the core team that finished with the fewest points at the end of the series. Fiji have won the last two titles, but New Zealand have dominated this series, winning 12 times in all.

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* '''World Rugby Sevens Series'''[[note]]Per corporate naming, called the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series[[/note]] — An annual series of tournaments for national sevens teams conducted since 1999–2000. In the just-completed 2015–16 upcoming 2016–17 season, the tour had will have 10 stops, up from nine in 2014–15: stops: Dubai, South Africa (Cape Town), Australia (Sydney), New Zealand (Wellington), Canada (Vancouver), the USA (Las Vegas), Singapore, Hong Kong, France (Paris), and England (London). Each tournament except for Hong Kong involves 16 teams competing for four distinct trophies, plus points toward the overall series championship. Fifteen of these teams are "core teams" that compete in each event during a given season. The Hong Kong event incorporates a separate 12-team tournament that, since the 2013–14 season, has been used for core team qualification for the following season. The winner of this tournament is assured a core team place in the next season, replacing the core team that finished with the fewest points at the end of the series. Fiji have won the last two titles, but New Zealand have dominated this series, winning 12 times in all.



* '''Super Rugby''' - A contest between domestic teams (generally referred to as franchises rather than clubs) from the SANZAAR nations (South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina), plus one, slightly token team from Japan. It is contested annually, and as you'd expect from a competition featuring teams from some of the best rugby nations in the world, the quality is generally considered to be second only to international rugby. This is somewhat debatable at times and there is a lengthy argument to be had regarding the devaluing or otherwise of the competition as it slowly expands - it started life as a competition between 6 provincial sides from Australia and New Zealand, but has gradually expanded to incorporate a total of 18 franchises (5 each for New Zealand and Australia, 1 from Argentina, 1 from Japan and 6 from South Africa - the extra one being added mostly for reasons of money). It is a showcase of "basketball" style rugby, played in generally agreeable weather on firm grounds by teams whose primary concern after winning is to put on a great show. The tournament's supervising body also aims to encourage a grand spectacle. It has seen a fairly broad spread of winners, with the most successful teams unsurprisingly tending to herald from New Zealand - but both Australian and South African teams have won it as well. The reigning champions are the Hurricanes of New Zealand.
* '''European Rugby Champions Cup''' - Broadly speaking the Northern Hemisphere equivalent of Super Rugby, this is an international competition between the best teams from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France and Italy (although the Italian sides are very much also-rans). Because the season is more fragmented in the Northern Hemisphere and also because the national competitions are stronger and run at roughly the same time, this competition is more truncated than Super Rugby - where the latter runs for 17 regular season rounds followed by 3 elimination rounds, the former has only 6 regular season rounds before the elimination stage. Like Super Rugby the competition undergoes periodic mutation, but has remained more stable in structure. However, the actual teams who contest it are not fixed as with Super Rugby, but rather determined by performance in the respective national competitions in the preceding year. Like most Northern Hemisphere rugby competitions, compared to the Southern offering the ERCC is a little more stodgy, defense-focused and setpiece oriented. This is partially a product of mindset among players and coaches but also a simple result of weather - rugby is a winter sport and it is not uncommon for it to be played, in Europe, in howling gales, driving rain and the occasional mild snowstorm, all of which are comparatively rarer in most of the Southern Hemisphere rugby nations. The reigning champions are Saracens, based in North London in England.[[note]]This contest also has a lower-profile sister competition referred to as the Challenge Cup, and contested by teams who just missed out on the big league. It is considerably less highly regarded.[[/note]]
* '''Top 14''' - the premier French domestic competition. 14 (clever, eh?) teams compete against each other across 26 regular season games and a six-team playoff, with two quarterfinals, a pair of semifinals and a final. The final, normally at Stade de France just outside Paris (though held in Barcelona in 2016 due to a scheduling conflict with [[EuropeanChampionship UEFA Euro 2016]]), is one of France's biggest sporting events and has a party atmosphere. The competition has been running since 1892 and is without much question the most popular non-international domestic competition in the world. The French, it turns out (especially in the south), are crazy about rugby, and the [=T14=] is rapidly becoming rugby's equivalent of the UsefulNotes/EnglishPremierLeague, with star players from around the world turning out in front of huge, rabid crowds and being paid comparatively substantial sums of money. It is also believed by some to be the reason French international rugby has been on the wane for the better part of a decade, and it's a tough sell for the neutral given the intense desire of every team to win every game (the league operates a promotion and relegation system with the second-level Rugby Pro [=D2=], and every team is desperate to avoid relegation, meaning games are often played in a very cautious and risk-free manner). The reigning champions are Racing 92, based just outside of Paris.

to:

* '''Super Rugby''' - A contest between domestic teams (generally referred to as franchises rather than clubs) from the SANZAAR nations (South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina), plus one, slightly token team from Japan. It is contested annually, and as you'd expect from a competition featuring teams from some of the best rugby nations in the world, the quality is generally considered to be second only to international rugby. This is somewhat debatable at times and there is a lengthy argument to be had regarding the devaluing or otherwise of the competition as it slowly expands - it started life as a competition between 6 provincial sides from Australia and New Zealand, but has gradually expanded to incorporate a total of 18 franchises (5 each for New Zealand and Australia, 1 from Argentina, 1 from Japan and 6 from South Africa - the extra one sixth South African team being added mostly partially for reasons of money).money but mainly for domestic political reasons). It is a showcase of "basketball" style rugby, played in generally agreeable weather on firm grounds by teams whose primary concern after winning is to put on a great show. The tournament's supervising body also aims to encourage a grand spectacle. It has seen a fairly broad spread of winners, with the most successful teams unsurprisingly tending to herald from New Zealand - but both Australian and South African teams have won it as well. The reigning champions are the Hurricanes of New Zealand.
* '''European Rugby Champions Cup''' - Broadly speaking the Northern Hemisphere equivalent of Super Rugby, this is an international competition between the best teams from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France and Italy (although the Italian sides are very much also-rans). Because the season is more fragmented in the Northern Hemisphere and also because the national competitions are stronger and run at roughly the same time, this competition is more truncated than Super Rugby - where the latter runs for 17 regular season rounds followed by 3 elimination rounds, the former has only 6 regular season rounds before the elimination stage. Like Super Rugby the competition undergoes periodic mutation, but has remained more stable in structure. However, the actual teams who contest it are not fixed as with Super Rugby, but rather determined by performance in the respective national competitions in the preceding year. Like most Northern Hemisphere rugby competitions, compared to the Southern offering the ERCC is a little more stodgy, defense-focused and setpiece oriented. This is partially a product of mindset among players and coaches but also a simple result of weather - rugby is a winter sport and it is not uncommon for it to be played, in Europe, in howling gales, driving rain and the occasional mild snowstorm, all of which are comparatively rarer in most of the Southern Hemisphere rugby nations. The reigning champions are Saracens, based in North London in England.[[note]]This contest also has a lower-profile sister competition referred to as the Challenge Cup, and contested by teams who just missed out on the big league.league, plus a couple of token entries from the second-tier European nations. It is considerably less highly regarded.[[/note]]
* '''Top 14''' - the premier French domestic competition. 14 (clever, eh?) teams compete against each other across 26 regular season games and a six-team playoff, with two quarterfinals, a pair of semifinals and a final. The final, normally at Stade de France just outside in the inner Paris suburb of Saint-Denis (though held in Barcelona in 2016 due to a scheduling conflict with [[EuropeanChampionship UEFA Euro 2016]]), is one of France's biggest sporting events and has a party atmosphere. The competition has been running since 1892 and is without much question the most popular non-international domestic competition in the world. The French, it turns out (especially in the south), are crazy about rugby, and the [=T14=] is rapidly becoming rugby's equivalent of the UsefulNotes/EnglishPremierLeague, with star players from around the world turning out in front of huge, rabid crowds and being paid comparatively substantial sums of money. It is also believed by some to be the reason French international rugby has been on the wane for the better part of a decade, and it's a tough sell for the neutral given the intense desire of every team to win every game (the league operates a promotion and relegation system with the second-level Rugby Pro [=D2=], and every team is desperate to avoid relegation, meaning games are often played in a very cautious and risk-free manner). The reigning champions are Racing 92, based just outside of Paris.in another Paris suburb.



* '''Mitre 10 Cup''' - New Zealand's premier entirely domestic competition, and thus arguably the highest quality (on average at least) rugby competition in the world. It is however not particularly well-known outside of rugby mad New Zealand, for the simple reason that Super Rugby is generally treated as the Southern Hemisphere equivalent of the domestic competitions listed above. All the same if your primary concern is watching the highest consistent levels of skill on a regular basis the Mitre 10 is probably where you should look. It operates with a promotion and relegation structure, but the New Zealand rugby culture means that it still averages a very high number of tries scored per game, which is usually a hallmark of both high quality and teams playing with risk and abandon. The Mitre 10 also functions, like all domestic competitions, as the pipeline for the next generation of rugby talent, so it provides an opportunity to see up-and-coming All Blacks as they first arrive on the scene - along with the current ones in fact, because the competition runs at a different time to Super Rugby and thus allows players to keep getting games in and honing their skills when normally they'd be in the off-season. The reigning champions are Canterbury.
* '''Currie Cup''' - the South African equivalent of the Mitre 10. As with the Mitre 10 the CC has a comparatively low profile, but South Africa is sufficiently rugby mad that it still has a decent buzz surrounding it. The competition has been running since 1892, and is probably the most efficient way to watch a combination of rugby, and men getting put through the ringer - South African rugby has a well-deserved reputation for physicality, and the players who compete in it are no shrinking violets. The reigning champions are the Golden Lions, based in Johannesburg, Gauteng province.
* '''The National Rugby Championship''' - Australia's equivalent to the Mitre 10 and Currie Cup competitions. The NRC is, in contrast to most other domestic rugby competitions, very young indeed, having been established in 2014 (although there have been other similar competitions in the past). Rugby faces a unique challenge in Australia - although the only major countries where it is the most popular sport in New Zealand and Wales, in most of the rest of the world it only really has to compete with AssociationFootball (and maybe Gaelic games in Ireland) for the public's affections. In Australia however, not only is rugby not the most popular national sport, not only is it not the second most popular sport, it isn't even the second most popular form of football. AssociationFootball, RugbyLeague and AustralianRulesFootball are all generally more popular than rugby union, not to mention the national obsession that is cricket. As a result Aussie rugby has generally been slightly anaemic at the domestic level, fuelled mainly by intense popularity among the nation's private schools and a few local club competitions (especially in the state of New South Wales). The NRC represents the latest attempt to surpass that obstacle and raise the profile of the game among Australia's sports-mad population - as yet the jury is out on how successful that attempt is. The reigning champions are Brisbane City.

to:

* '''Mitre 10 Cup''' - New Zealand's premier entirely domestic competition, and thus arguably the highest quality (on average at least) rugby competition in the world. It is however not particularly well-known outside of rugby mad New Zealand, for the simple reason that Super Rugby is generally treated as the Southern Hemisphere equivalent of the domestic competitions listed above. All the same if your primary concern is watching the highest consistent levels of skill on a regular basis the Mitre 10 is probably where you should look. It operates with a promotion and relegation structure, but the New Zealand rugby culture means that it still averages a very high number of tries scored per game, which is usually a hallmark of both high quality and teams playing with risk and abandon. The Mitre 10 also functions, like all domestic competitions, as the pipeline for the next generation of rugby talent, so it provides an opportunity to see up-and-coming All Blacks as they first arrive on the scene - along with the current ones in fact, because the competition runs at a different time to Super Rugby and thus allows players to keep getting games in and honing their skills when normally they'd be in the off-season. The reigning champions are Canterbury.
Canterbury, based in the South Island city of Christchurch.
* '''Currie Cup''' - the South African equivalent of the Mitre 10. As with the Mitre 10 the CC has a comparatively low profile, but South Africa is sufficiently rugby mad that it still has a decent buzz surrounding it. The competition has been running since 1892, and is probably the most efficient way to watch a combination of rugby, and men getting put through the ringer - South African rugby has a well-deserved reputation for physicality, and the players who compete in it are no shrinking violets. The reigning champions are the Golden Lions, based in Johannesburg, Gauteng province.
the country's largest city and commercial capital of Johannesburg.[[note]]South Africa has three official capitals, but Jo'burg isn't one of them. However, it's easily the country's main economic centre.[[/note]]
* '''The National Rugby Championship''' - Australia's equivalent to the Mitre 10 and Currie Cup competitions. The NRC is, in contrast to most other domestic rugby competitions, very young indeed, having been established in 2014 (although there have been other similar competitions in the past). Rugby faces a unique challenge in Australia - although the only major rugby countries where it is the most popular sport in are New Zealand and Wales, in most of the rest of the world it only really has to compete with AssociationFootball (and maybe Gaelic games in Ireland) for the public's affections. In Australia however, not only is rugby not the most popular national sport, not only is it not the second most popular sport, it isn't even the second most popular form ''form of football. football''. AssociationFootball, RugbyLeague and AustralianRulesFootball are all generally more popular than rugby union, not to mention the national obsession that is cricket.{{cricket}}. As a result Aussie rugby has generally been slightly anaemic at the domestic level, fuelled mainly by intense popularity among the nation's private schools and a few local club competitions (especially in the state of New South Wales). The NRC represents the latest attempt to surpass that obstacle and raise the profile of the game among Australia's sports-mad population - as yet the jury is out on how successful that attempt is. The reigning champions are Brisbane City.
15th Sep '16 10:58:56 PM KYCubbie
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* '''European Rugby Champions Cup''' - Broadly speaking the Northern Hemisphere equivalent of Super Rugby, this is an international competition between the best teams from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France and Italy (although the Italian sides are very much also-rans). Because the season is more fragmented in the Northern Hemisphere and also because the national competitions are stronger and run at roughly the same time, this competition is more truncated than Super Rugby - where the latter runs for 17 regular season rounds followed by 3 elimination rounds, the former has only 6 regular season rounds before the elimination stage. Like Super Rugby the competition undergoes periodic mutation, but has remained more stable in structure. However, the actual teams who contest it are not fixed as with Super Rugby, but rather determined by performance in the respective national competitions in the preceding year. Like with most Northern Hemisphere rugby competitions, compared to the Southern offering the ERCC is a little more stodgy, defense-focused and setpiece oriented. Yhis is partially a product of mindset among players and coaches but also a simple result of weather - rugby is a winter sport and it is not uncommon for it to be played, in Europe, in howling gales, driving rain and the occasional mild snowstorm, all of which are comparatively rarer in most of the Southern Hemisphere rugby nations. The reigning champions are Saracens, based in North London in England. [[note]]This contest also has a lower-profile sister competition referred to as the Challenge Cup, and contested by teams who just missed out on the big league. It is considerably less highly regarded.[[/note]]
* '''Top14''' - the premier French domestic competition. 14 (clever, eh?) teams compete against each other across 26 regular season games, a pair of semi finals and a final, played at a different venue every year but always a big one and with a party atmosphere. The competition has been running since 1892 and is without much question the most popular non-international domestic competition in the world. The French, it turns out (especially in the south), are crazy about rugby, and the T14 is rapidly becoming rugby's equivalent of the EnglishPremierLeague, with star players from around the world turning out in front of huge, rabid crowds and being paid comparatively substantial sums of money. It is also believed by some to be the reason French international rugby has been on the wane for the better part of a decade, and it's a tough sell for the neutral given the intense desire of every team to win every game (the league operates a promotion and relegation system with the league below, and every team is desperate to avoid relegation, meaning games are often played in a very cautious and risk-free manner). The reigning champions are Racing 92, based in Paris(ish).
* '''Aviva Premiership''' - the English domestic competition. 12 teams from around the country compete every year across 22 regular season games (playing each opponent once at home and once away), two semi-finals and one grand final, played out at the home of English rugby, Twickenham stadium. Very much plays second fiddle to the Top14 in terms of revenue and even the Pro12 in terms of viewership, but despite this the Aviva Premiership is one of the top leagues in the world and is slowly gaining pace and success. In particular, the standard of rugby played in the Aviva Premiership is generally considered, currently at least, to be higher than the Pro12 and more interesting than the Top14, and the increase in commercial success is starting to mean that the best international players are increasingly being drawn to England over France (though the language issue is also likely a factor). Like the T14 it operates with a promotion and relegation model, but the more amicable relationship between the English national administration and the clubs compared to the situation in France and the less frenzied financial pressures mean that teams are not quite as risk averse. The reigning champions are Saracens of North London after completing the rare domestic and European double.
* '''Guinness Pro12''' - formerly (and in some quarters unofficially still) known as the Celtic League, this is a curious beast by domestic rugby standards, involving an international domestic competition at the level below the ERCC. It consists of 4 teams from Ireland ([[TheTroubles including Ulster which overlaps with Northern Ireland]]), 4 from Wales, 2 from Scotland and 2 from Italy (who were just happy to be invited). Played to the same general structure as the Aviva Premiership, it has higher viewing figures thanks to being played across a less concentrated population. The standard of rugby, at least among the top teams, is very high and several teams who contest the Pro12 have gone on to become famous European champions. In particular the Irish provinces (it's a local thing) of Leinster and Munster enjoyed something of a golden age in the 00s, although both are in decline at present. The other thing to note about the Pro12 is that it doesn't have promotion or relegation, meaning teams are free to play in a more carefree, Southern Hemisphere-esque fashion than they are in the Aviva Premiership or Top14. The reigning champions are the Irish province of Connacht, who made history by winning the final at the end of last season to win their first competition honours in ''their entire 131 year history''.
* '''ITM/Mitre 10 Cup''' - New Zealand's premier entirely domestic competition, and thus arguably the highest quality (on average at least) rugby competition in the world. It is however not particularly well-known outside of rugby mad New Zealand, for the simple reason that Super Rugby is generally treated as the Southern Hemisphere equivalent of the domestic competitions listed above. All the same if your primary concern is watching the highest consistent levels of skill on a regular basis the Mitre 10 is probably where you should look. It operates with a promotion and relegation structure, but the New Zealand rugby culture means that it still averages a very high number of tries scored per game, which is usually a hallmark of both high quality and teams playing with risk and abandon. The Mitre 10 also functions, like all domestic competitions, as the pipeline for the next generation of rugby talent, so it provides an opportunity to see up-and-coming All Blacks as they first arrive on the scene - along with the current ones in fact, because the competition runs at a different time to Super Rugby and thus allows players to keep getting games in and honing their skills when normally they'd be in the off-season. The reigning champions are Canterbury.

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* '''European Rugby Champions Cup''' - Broadly speaking the Northern Hemisphere equivalent of Super Rugby, this is an international competition between the best teams from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France and Italy (although the Italian sides are very much also-rans). Because the season is more fragmented in the Northern Hemisphere and also because the national competitions are stronger and run at roughly the same time, this competition is more truncated than Super Rugby - where the latter runs for 17 regular season rounds followed by 3 elimination rounds, the former has only 6 regular season rounds before the elimination stage. Like Super Rugby the competition undergoes periodic mutation, but has remained more stable in structure. However, the actual teams who contest it are not fixed as with Super Rugby, but rather determined by performance in the respective national competitions in the preceding year. Like with most Northern Hemisphere rugby competitions, compared to the Southern offering the ERCC is a little more stodgy, defense-focused and setpiece oriented. Yhis This is partially a product of mindset among players and coaches but also a simple result of weather - rugby is a winter sport and it is not uncommon for it to be played, in Europe, in howling gales, driving rain and the occasional mild snowstorm, all of which are comparatively rarer in most of the Southern Hemisphere rugby nations. The reigning champions are Saracens, based in North London in England. [[note]]This contest also has a lower-profile sister competition referred to as the Challenge Cup, and contested by teams who just missed out on the big league. It is considerably less highly regarded.[[/note]]
* '''Top14''' '''Top 14''' - the premier French domestic competition. 14 (clever, eh?) teams compete against each other across 26 regular season games, games and a six-team playoff, with two quarterfinals, a pair of semi finals semifinals and a final. The final, played normally at Stade de France just outside Paris (though held in Barcelona in 2016 due to a different venue every year but always a big one and scheduling conflict with [[EuropeanChampionship UEFA Euro 2016]]), is one of France's biggest sporting events and has a party atmosphere. The competition has been running since 1892 and is without much question the most popular non-international domestic competition in the world. The French, it turns out (especially in the south), are crazy about rugby, and the T14 [=T14=] is rapidly becoming rugby's equivalent of the EnglishPremierLeague, UsefulNotes/EnglishPremierLeague, with star players from around the world turning out in front of huge, rabid crowds and being paid comparatively substantial sums of money. It is also believed by some to be the reason French international rugby has been on the wane for the better part of a decade, and it's a tough sell for the neutral given the intense desire of every team to win every game (the league operates a promotion and relegation system with the league below, second-level Rugby Pro [=D2=], and every team is desperate to avoid relegation, meaning games are often played in a very cautious and risk-free manner). The reigning champions are Racing 92, based in Paris(ish).just outside of Paris.
* '''Aviva Premiership''' - the English domestic competition. 12 teams from around the country compete every year across 22 regular season games (playing each opponent once at home and once away), two semi-finals and one grand final, played out at the home of English rugby, Twickenham stadium. Stadium. Very much plays second fiddle to the Top14 Top 14 in terms of revenue and even the Pro12 [=Pro12=] in terms of viewership, but despite this the Aviva Premiership is one of the top leagues in the world and is slowly gaining pace and success. In particular, the standard of rugby played in the Aviva Premiership is generally considered, currently at least, to be higher than the Pro12 [=Pro12=] and more interesting than the Top14, Top 14, and the increase in commercial success is starting to mean that the best international players are increasingly being drawn to England over France (though the language issue is also likely a factor). Like the T14 [=T14=] it operates with a promotion and relegation model, but the more amicable relationship between the English national administration and the clubs compared to the situation in France and the less frenzied financial pressures mean that teams are not quite as risk averse. The reigning champions are Saracens of North London after completing the rare domestic and European double.
* '''Guinness Pro12''' [=Pro12=]''' - formerly (and in some quarters unofficially still) known as the Celtic League, this is a curious beast by domestic rugby standards, involving an international domestic competition at the level below the ERCC. It consists of 4 teams from Ireland ([[TheTroubles including Ulster which overlaps with Northern Ireland]]), 4 from Wales, 2 from Scotland and 2 from Italy (who were just happy to be invited). Played to the same general structure as the Aviva Premiership, it has higher viewing figures thanks to being played across a less concentrated population. The standard of rugby, at least among the top teams, is very high and several teams who contest the Pro12 [=Pro12=] have gone on to become famous European champions. In particular the Irish provinces (it's a local thing) of Leinster and Munster enjoyed something of a golden age in the 00s, although both are in decline at present. The other thing to note about the Pro12 [=Pro12=] is that it doesn't have promotion or relegation, meaning teams are free to play in a more carefree, Southern Hemisphere-esque fashion than they are in the Aviva Premiership or Top14. Top 14. The reigning champions are the Irish province of Connacht, who made history by winning the final at the end of last season to win their first competition honours in ''their entire 131 year 131-year history''.
* '''ITM/Mitre '''Mitre 10 Cup''' - New Zealand's premier entirely domestic competition, and thus arguably the highest quality (on average at least) rugby competition in the world. It is however not particularly well-known outside of rugby mad New Zealand, for the simple reason that Super Rugby is generally treated as the Southern Hemisphere equivalent of the domestic competitions listed above. All the same if your primary concern is watching the highest consistent levels of skill on a regular basis the Mitre 10 is probably where you should look. It operates with a promotion and relegation structure, but the New Zealand rugby culture means that it still averages a very high number of tries scored per game, which is usually a hallmark of both high quality and teams playing with risk and abandon. The Mitre 10 also functions, like all domestic competitions, as the pipeline for the next generation of rugby talent, so it provides an opportunity to see up-and-coming All Blacks as they first arrive on the scene - along with the current ones in fact, because the competition runs at a different time to Super Rugby and thus allows players to keep getting games in and honing their skills when normally they'd be in the off-season. The reigning champions are Canterbury.



* '''The National Rugby Championship''' - Australia's equivalent to the Mitre 10 and Currie Cup competitions. The NRC is, in contrast to most other domestic rugby competitions, very young indeed, having been established in 2014 (although there have been other similar competitions in the past). Rugby faces a unique challenge in Australia - although it is only the most popular national sport in New Zealand and Wales, in most of the rest of the world it only really has to compete with AssociationFootball (and maybe GAA in Ireland) for the public's affections. In Australia however, not only is rugby not the most popular national sport, not only is it not the second most popular sport, but it isn't even the second most popular form of football. AssociationFootball, RugbyLeague and AustralianRulesFootball are all generally more popular than rugby union, not to mention the national obsession that is cricket. As a result Aussie rugby has generally been slightly anaemic at the domestic level, fuelled mainly by intense popularity among the nation's private schools and a few local club competitions (especially in the state of New South Wales). The NRC represents the latest attempt to surpass that obstacle and raise the profile of the game among Australia's sports-mad population - as yet the jury is out on how successful that attempt is. The reigning champions are Brisbane City.
* '''PRO Rugby''' - Founded in late 2015, PRO Rugby is the USA's first professional rugby competition. 6 teams compete against each other home and away across 12 games, with the winner (unusually in rugby, which has embraced the end-of-season playoff concept in virtually all domestic competitions) determined by the highest placed team at the end of the season. PRO Rugby is currently in a slightly awkward position lying somewhere between "professional rugby competition" and "proof of concept", but their first season was considered a success based on performance vs expectations and should resume in spring 2017. The reigning, inaugural champions are Denver Stampede.

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* '''The National Rugby Championship''' - Australia's equivalent to the Mitre 10 and Currie Cup competitions. The NRC is, in contrast to most other domestic rugby competitions, very young indeed, having been established in 2014 (although there have been other similar competitions in the past). Rugby faces a unique challenge in Australia - although the only major countries where it is only the most popular national sport in New Zealand and Wales, in most of the rest of the world it only really has to compete with AssociationFootball (and maybe GAA Gaelic games in Ireland) for the public's affections. In Australia however, not only is rugby not the most popular national sport, not only is it not the second most popular sport, but it isn't even the second most popular form of football. AssociationFootball, RugbyLeague and AustralianRulesFootball are all generally more popular than rugby union, not to mention the national obsession that is cricket. As a result Aussie rugby has generally been slightly anaemic at the domestic level, fuelled mainly by intense popularity among the nation's private schools and a few local club competitions (especially in the state of New South Wales). The NRC represents the latest attempt to surpass that obstacle and raise the profile of the game among Australia's sports-mad population - as yet the jury is out on how successful that attempt is. The reigning champions are Brisbane City.
* '''PRO Rugby''' - Founded in late 2015, PRO Rugby is the USA's first professional rugby competition. 6 teams compete against each other home and away across 12 games, with the winner (unusually in rugby, which has embraced the end-of-season playoff concept in virtually all domestic competitions) determined by the highest placed team at the end of the season. PRO Rugby is currently in a slightly awkward position lying somewhere between "professional rugby competition" and "proof of concept", but their first season was considered a success based on performance vs vs. expectations and should resume in spring 2017. The reigning, inaugural champions are Denver Stampede.
15th Sep '16 10:47:04 PM KYCubbie
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As with most sports codified and then popularised around the world via the British, the pinnacle of the game is the competition between international teams. As with most sports in general, there is a TierSystem in which certain teams are generally more likely to triumph over others. The thing about rugby however is that, due to the complexity and physical intensity of the game and the variety of differing ways to score, major upsets are fairly rare. When you go up against a significantly better rugby team than you, you can generally expect that you will be beaten. This has the effect ([[ATouchOfClassEthnicityAndReligion appropriately]], perhaps, for a sport that emerged in Britain) of producing a sort of "caste system" in both domestic club competitions and the international circuit. At the top rung are the nations defined by the sport's governing body as "Tier 1" teams - the best of the best, all of whom have or are involved in professional or semi-professional competitions each year. These teams can also be divided based on which hemisphere they are found in, as this determines which transnational competitions they compete in. In the Northern Hemisphere, these are England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales. In the Southern Hemisphere, they consist of Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Note that, with the curious exception of France, all of these nations were once part of the British Commonwealth, which is how the game was popularised there. As time goes by the dominance of the top teams is diminishing - at the most recent World Cup, Japan stunned South Africa and pretty much the rest of the world by recording their first ever win over the Springboks, which was also their second ever win in the entire history of the World Cup. For reference, South Africa have won the whole thing twice and are at any given time very likely to be in the top 3 teams in the world. Japan, by contrast, have never been higher in the world rugby rankings then ''ninth''.

It is one of the few sports that the English can claim to be genuine world beaters at, with their making appearances in three out of seven rugby World Cup finals and winning it once, with ''that'' famous drop goal from Jonny Wilkinson in 2003. The England rugby team is renowned both for the poshness of the players, as mentioned above, and for the sheer power of the forward pack (think linemen and linebackers). Whatever state the rest of the team is in, the England Scrum is generally a thing to be feared and always a force to be reckoned with. That said, they are still an English sports team and as such are never all that far away from a really spectacular public collapse. Even with this general tendency they recently outdid themselves, becoming the first team ever to host a World Cup and fail to make it past the group stage. They have bounced back very quickly however to win their first 6 Nations Grand Slam in 13 years and are currently ranked as the second best team in the world. In Sevens Team GB did quite respectably for itself, coming in second at the inaugural Olympic tournament for the male side behind dominant Fiji. The female side placed fourth behind Canada, New Zealand and gold medalist Australia.

to:

As with most sports codified and then popularised around the world via the British, the pinnacle of the game is the competition between international teams. As with most sports in general, there is a TierSystem in which certain teams are generally more likely to triumph over others. The thing about rugby however is that, due to the complexity and physical intensity of the game and the variety of differing ways to score, major upsets are fairly rare. When you go up against a significantly better rugby team than you, you can generally expect that you will be beaten. This has the effect ([[ATouchOfClassEthnicityAndReligion appropriately]], perhaps, for a sport that emerged in Britain) of producing a sort of "caste system" in both domestic club competitions and the international circuit. At the top rung are the nations defined by the sport's governing body as "Tier 1" teams - the best of the best, all of whom have or are involved in professional or semi-professional competitions each year. These teams can also be divided based on which hemisphere they are found in, as this determines which transnational competitions they compete in. In the Northern Hemisphere, these are England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales. In the Southern Hemisphere, they consist of Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Note that, with the curious exception exceptions of France, Italy, France and Argentina, all of these nations were once part of the British Commonwealth, which is how the game was popularised there.there. And Argentina really isn't that large of an exception—British expats played a major role in the country's industrial development, and introduced the sport to the country in the 1870s. As time goes by the dominance of the top teams is diminishing - at the most recent World Cup, Japan stunned South Africa and pretty much the rest of the world by recording their first ever win over the Springboks, which was also their second ever win in the entire history of the World Cup. For reference, South Africa have won the whole thing twice and are at any given time very likely to be in the top 3 teams in the world. Japan, by contrast, have never been higher in the world rugby rankings then ''ninth''.

It is one of the few sports that the English can claim to be genuine world beaters at, with their making appearances in three out of seven rugby World Cup finals and winning it once, with ''that'' famous drop goal from Jonny Wilkinson in 2003. The England rugby team is renowned both for the poshness of the players, as mentioned above, and for the sheer power of the forward pack (think linemen and linebackers). Whatever state the rest of the team is in, the England Scrum scrum is generally a thing to be feared and always a force to be reckoned with. That said, they are still an English sports team and as such are never all that far away from a really spectacular public collapse. Even with this general tendency they recently outdid themselves, becoming the first team ever to host a World Cup and fail to make it past the group stage. They have bounced back very quickly however to win their first 6 Six Nations Grand Slam in 13 years and are currently ranked as the second best team in the world. In Sevens Team GB did quite respectably for itself, coming in second at the inaugural Olympic men's tournament for the male side behind dominant Fiji. The female women's side placed fourth behind Canada, New Zealand and gold medalist Australia.
8th Sep '16 10:20:29 PM Jhonny
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It is one of the few sports that the English can claim to be genuine world beaters at, with their making appearances in three out of seven rugby World Cup finals and winning it once, with ''that'' famous drop goal from Jonny Wilkinson in 2003. The England rugby team is renowned both for the poshness of the players, as mentioned above, and for the sheer power of the forward pack (think linemen and linebackers). Whatever state the rest of the team is in, the England Scrum is generally a thing to be feared and always a force to be reckoned with. That said, they are still an English sports team and as such are never all that far away from a really spectacular public collapse. Even with this general tendency they recently outdid themselves, becoming the first team ever to hose a World Cup and fail to make it past the group stage. They have bounced back very quickly however to win their first 6 Nations Grand Slam in 13 years and are currently ranked as the second best team in the world.

to:

It is one of the few sports that the English can claim to be genuine world beaters at, with their making appearances in three out of seven rugby World Cup finals and winning it once, with ''that'' famous drop goal from Jonny Wilkinson in 2003. The England rugby team is renowned both for the poshness of the players, as mentioned above, and for the sheer power of the forward pack (think linemen and linebackers). Whatever state the rest of the team is in, the England Scrum is generally a thing to be feared and always a force to be reckoned with. That said, they are still an English sports team and as such are never all that far away from a really spectacular public collapse. Even with this general tendency they recently outdid themselves, becoming the first team ever to hose host a World Cup and fail to make it past the group stage. They have bounced back very quickly however to win their first 6 Nations Grand Slam in 13 years and are currently ranked as the second best team in the world. \n In Sevens Team GB did quite respectably for itself, coming in second at the inaugural Olympic tournament for the male side behind dominant Fiji. The female side placed fourth behind Canada, New Zealand and gold medalist Australia.
8th Sep '16 10:14:30 PM Jhonny
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However, things aren't quite that simple - a good rule of thumb is that Rugby has almost no protective gear and fairly strict rules about what you can do to people, and American Football has a lot of protective gear and almost no rules about what you can do to people. Also, American Football players run the gamut from ''very'' big and heavy to rather lightweight - especially at the semi pro level. Yet 250 pound linemen can be surprisingly fast in a sprint. You do ''not'' want someone like that coming at you without any protection.

to:

However, things aren't quite that simple - a good rule of thumb is that Rugby has almost no protective gear and fairly strict rules about what you can do to people, and American Football has a lot of protective gear and almost no rules about what you can do to people. Also, American Football players run the gamut from ''very'' big and heavy to rather lightweight - especially at the semi pro level. In Rugby there are certain positions that require more or less weight, but specialisation is a lot less pronounced. Yet 250 pound linemen can be surprisingly fast in a sprint. You do ''not'' want someone like that coming at you without any protection.
8th Sep '16 10:13:34 PM Jhonny
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The differences from RugbyLeague (a related football code) are mostly subtle to outsiders. Union has 15-player teams; League has 13-player teams. Union is traditionally the gentlemen's game (though it can be played by women); League is the working-class game. This distinction is only (if ever) true for certain regions (specifically the North and South of England, with the North being a traditional stronghold of Rugby League and Union dominating across the South, and the North and South of France, where it's inverted) and the accusation is commonly used by League fans as an insult. It's also averted in Wales and New Zealand, among other places. However, in England at least, it holds true at International level. In 2013, 12 of the 24 members of the England squad were privately educated, while 12 were state educated (while one player, Ben Foden, managed to be both). Only 7% of the entire British population is privately educated. By contrast, 6 of the 33 man Rugby League Squad were privately educated. This is still disproportionate, but less obviously so. Players can and do cross codes from one to the other (usually from League to Union) and some, like legendary England winger Jason Robinson are very successful. Others, not so much.

to:

The differences from RugbyLeague (a related football code) are mostly subtle to outsiders. Union has 15-player teams; League has 13-player teams. Union is traditionally the gentlemen's game (though it can be played by women); League is the working-class game. This distinction is only (if ever) true for certain regions (specifically the North and South of England, with the North being a traditional stronghold of Rugby League and Union dominating across the South, and the North and South of France, where it's inverted) and the accusation is commonly used by League fans as an insult. It's also averted in Wales and New Zealand, among other places. However, in England at least, it holds true at International level. In 2013, 12 of the 24 members of the England squad were privately educated, while 12 were state educated (while one player, Ben Foden, managed to be both). Only 7% of the entire British population is privately educated. By contrast, 6 of the 33 man Rugby League Squad were privately educated. This is still disproportionate, but less obviously so. Players can and do cross codes from one to the other (usually from League to Union) and some, like legendary England winger Jason Robinson are very successful. Others, not so much.
much. Rugby League is also a bit more similar to American Football than Union (the limited number of tackles / downs for instance) and a handful of players have tried crossing over, one even making it to the NFL.



However, things aren't quite that simple - a good rule of thumb is that Rugby has almost no protective gear and fairly strict rules about what you can do to people, and American Football has a lot of protective gear and almost no rules about what you can do to people.

to:

However, things aren't quite that simple - a good rule of thumb is that Rugby has almost no protective gear and fairly strict rules about what you can do to people, and American Football has a lot of protective gear and almost no rules about what you can do to people.
people. Also, American Football players run the gamut from ''very'' big and heavy to rather lightweight - especially at the semi pro level. Yet 250 pound linemen can be surprisingly fast in a sprint. You do ''not'' want someone like that coming at you without any protection.
8th Sep '16 10:09:29 PM Jhonny
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Rugby Union is a version of football supposedly started at [[BoardingSchool Rugby School]] in Warwickshire when a player picked up the ball and ran with it. It's played in Britain, France, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, a good proportion of the south Pacific, South Africa, Japan, and even (a little) in the U.S. [[note]] A bit of trivia here: the U.S. is the reigning Olympic champion in Rugby Union, having won at the 1924 Summer Olympics, since that was the last time it was an Olympic event. [[/note]] However, Rugby Sevens, a shortened form of Union will be returning to the Olympics in 2016. Neither Fiji or Samoa have ever won an Olympic medal at any sport, and both are among the strongest sevens nations, so they will be amongst the most ferocious competitors in Rio de Janeiro.

The differences from RugbyLeague (the football code based on it) are mostly subtle to outsiders. Union has 15-player teams; League has 13-player teams. Union is traditionally the gentlemen's game (though it can be played by women); League is the working-class game. This distinction is only (if ever) true for certain regions (specifically the North and South of England, with the North being a traditional stronghold of Rugby League and Union dominating across the South, and the North and South of France, where it's inverted) and the accusation is commonly used by League fans as an insult. It's also averted in Wales and New Zealand, among other places. However, in England at least, it holds true at International level. In 2013, 12 of the 24 members of the England squad were privately educated, while 12 were state educated (while one player, Ben Foden, managed to be both). Only 7% of the entire British population is privately educated. By contrast, 6 of the 33 man Rugby League Squad were privately educated. This is still disproportionate, but less obviously so. Players can and do cross codes from one to the other (usually from League to Union) and some, like legendary England winger Jason Robinson are very successful. Others, not so much.

to:

Rugby Union is a version of football supposedly started at [[BoardingSchool Rugby School]] in Warwickshire when a player picked up the ball and ran with it. It's played in Britain, France, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, a good proportion of the south Pacific, South Africa, Japan, and even (a little) in the U.S. [[note]] A bit of trivia here: the U.S. is was the reigning Olympic champion in Rugby Union, Union until 2016, having won at the 1924 Summer Olympics, since that was the last time it was an Olympic event. [[/note]] Arguably they are still reigning champion as the sport played in 2016 was Rugby ''Sevens'' which has separate championships from normal Rugby Union and even different "great powers" - reigning Olympic Champion Fiji being a big name in Sevens but no match for New Zealand in fifteen on fifteen Rugby Union[[/note]] However, Rugby Sevens, a shortened form of Union will be returning returned to the Olympics in 2016. Neither Fiji or Samoa have had ever won an Olympic medal at any sport, and both are among the strongest sevens nations, so they will be amongst among the most ferocious competitors in Rio de Janeiro.

Janeiro. And indeed Fiji brought home gold, endearing the world both to the plucky underdog nation and the sport's much faster paced "little cousin".

The differences from RugbyLeague (the (a related football code based on it) code) are mostly subtle to outsiders. Union has 15-player teams; League has 13-player teams. Union is traditionally the gentlemen's game (though it can be played by women); League is the working-class game. This distinction is only (if ever) true for certain regions (specifically the North and South of England, with the North being a traditional stronghold of Rugby League and Union dominating across the South, and the North and South of France, where it's inverted) and the accusation is commonly used by League fans as an insult. It's also averted in Wales and New Zealand, among other places. However, in England at least, it holds true at International level. In 2013, 12 of the 24 members of the England squad were privately educated, while 12 were state educated (while one player, Ben Foden, managed to be both). Only 7% of the entire British population is privately educated. By contrast, 6 of the 33 man Rugby League Squad were privately educated. This is still disproportionate, but less obviously so. Players can and do cross codes from one to the other (usually from League to Union) and some, like legendary England winger Jason Robinson are very successful. Others, not so much.
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.RugbyUnion