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Rugby vs. Football: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on November 15, 2023
Rugby is a contact sport with 15 players per team, focusing on carrying and passing an oval ball, while football (soccer) is played with 11 players per side, emphasizing kicking a spherical ball.
Rugby vs. Football

Key Differences

Rugby allows full-contact tackling without protective gear, whereas football has restricted contact and emphasizes skillful footwork.
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Nov 15, 2023
Rugby is characterized by continuous play, where players run with or kick the oval ball. Football focuses on scoring goals by kicking or heading a spherical ball into the opponent’s net.
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A rugby team consists of 15 players, playing on a field that's larger than a football pitch. Football is played with 11 players per side on a slightly smaller pitch.
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In rugby, points are scored through tries, conversions, penalty kicks, and drop goals. Football scores through goals, with each goal counting as one point.
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Rugby matches are typically 80 minutes long, divided into two halves. Football matches last 90 minutes, also divided into two halves, with specific offside rules.
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Comparison Chart

Play Style

Carrying, passing an oval ball
Kicking, heading a spherical ball
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Team Size

15 players per team
11 players per team
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Physical Contact

Full-contact tackling
Restricted contact
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Scoring

Tries, conversions, penalty kicks
Goals
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Game Duration

80 minutes
90 minutes
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Rugby and Football Definitions

Rugby

A team sport with an oval ball played without protective gear.
He plays rugby for his college team.
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Football

A team sport played with a spherical ball and goalposts.
Football is the most popular sport in the world.
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Rugby

A game focused on carrying and kicking the ball to score points.
Rugby requires both physical strength and strategic planning.
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Football

A game played on a rectangular field with a goal at each end.
The football match attracted thousands of fans.
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Rugby

A sport originating in Rugby, England.
Rugby has evolved greatly since its inception in the 19th century.
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Football

A game played by two teams of 11 players each on a rectangular, 100-yard-long field with goal lines and goalposts at either end, the object being to gain possession of a ball and advance it in running or passing plays across the opponent's goal line or kick it through the air between the opponent's goalposts.
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Rugby

A game played by two teams with 15 players each.
Their rugby team won the championship last season.
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Football

The inflated oval ball, slightly pointed at both ends, that is used in this game.
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Rugby

A contact sport with specific rules about tackling and play.
Rugby’s tackling rules differ significantly from football.
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Football

Soccer.
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Oct 19, 2023

Rugby

A game played by two teams of 15 players each on a rectangular field 110 yards long with goal lines and goal posts at either end, the object being to run with an oval ball across the opponent's goal line or kick it through the upper portion of the goal posts, with forward passing and time-outs not permitted.
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Football

Rugby.
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Rugby

A form of football in which players can hold or kick an ovoid ball; rugby football. The ball cannot be handled forwards and points are scored by touching the ball to the ground in the area past the opponent's territory or by kicking the ball between goalposts and over a crossbar.
The scrum is a distinctive element of rugby.
The two rugbies split following a debate about amateurism.
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Football

The ball used in soccer or rugby.
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Rugby

(specifically) The form of the game known as rugby union (see the usage note).
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Football

(Informal) A problem or issue that is discussed among groups or persons without being settled
The issue of tax reform became a political football.
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Rugby

(countable) rugby shirt
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Football

(general) A sport played on foot in which teams attempt to get a ball into a goal or zone defended by the other team.
Roman and medieval football matches were more violent than any modern type of football.
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Rugby

(Philippines) Rubber cement, contact cement.
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Football

Association football: a game in which two teams each contend to get a round ball into the other team's goal primarily by kicking the ball. Known as soccer in Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.
Each team scored three goals when they played football.
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Rugby

(intransitive) To play rugby.
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Football

American football: a game played on a field of 100 yards long and 53 1/3 yards wide in which two teams of 11 players attempt to get an ovoid ball to the end of each other's territory.
Each team scored two touchdowns when they played football.
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Rugby

A form of football played with an oval ball
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Football

Canadian football: a game played on a field of 110 yards long and 65 yards wide in which two teams of 12 players attempt to get an ovoid ball to the end of each other's territory.
They played football in the snow.
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Football

Australian rules football.
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Football

Gaelic football: a field game played with similar rules to hurling, but using hands and feet rather than a stick, and a ball, similar to, yet smaller than a soccer ball.
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Football

Rugby league.
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Football

Rugby union.
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Football

(countable) The ball used in any game called "football".
The player kicked the football.
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Football

(uncountable) Practice of these particular games, or techniques used in them.
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Football

An item of discussion, particularly in a back-and-forth manner
That budget item became a political football.
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Football

The leather briefcase containing classified nuclear war plans which is always near the US President.
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Football

To play football.
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Football

An inflated ball to be kicked in sport, usually made in India rubber, or a bladder incased in Leather.
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Football

The game played with a football{1}, by two opposing teams of players moving the ball between goals at opposite ends of a rectangular playing field. Outside the United States football refers to soccer, and in England, also to rugby, but in the United States the shape of the ball and the rules of the game are different.
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Football

Soccer or rugby.
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Football

Something which is treated in a rough manner, usually as part of a dispute; as, a political football.
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Football

Any of various games played with a ball (round or oval) in which two teams try to kick or carry or propel the ball into each other's goal
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Football

The inflated oblong ball used in playing American football
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Football

A game where players primarily use their feet to control the ball.
His skill in football earned him a scholarship.
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Football

A sport with 11 players on each side, emphasizing kicking and strategy.
Football tactics vary greatly between teams.
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Football

A sport where scoring is achieved by getting the ball into the opponent's net.
Scoring a goal in football is a moment of high excitement.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

What is football?

Football, known as soccer in some countries, is a sport where players use their feet to score goals with a ball.
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How many players are on a rugby team?

A rugby team typically has 15 players.
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What is rugby?

Rugby is a team sport involving carrying, passing, and kicking a ball to score points.
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What shape is a rugby ball?

A rugby ball is oval-shaped.
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What is the shape of a football?

Footballs are spherical.
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Can rugby players pass the ball forwards?

No, forward passes are not allowed in rugby.
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What is the standard number of players in a football team?

A football team usually consists of 11 players.
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How is scoring done in rugby?

Points in rugby are scored through tries, conversions, penalty kicks, and drop goals.
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How long is a rugby match?

A standard rugby match lasts 80 minutes.
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How are points scored in football?

In football, points are scored by getting the ball into the opposing team's goal.
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Are forward passes allowed in football?

Yes, players can pass the ball forward in football.
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What's a scrum in rugby?

A scrum is a method of restarting play in rugby involving players packing closely together.
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Where did rugby originate?

Rugby originated in England in the early 19th century.
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Is rugby played worldwide?

Rugby is played globally but is most popular in countries like the UK, France, and New Zealand.
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Is physical contact allowed in rugby?

Yes, rugby involves significant physical contact, like tackling.
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How much physical contact is in football?

Football involves less physical contact; tackles must be careful to avoid penalties.
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What is the duration of a football match?

A football match typically lasts 90 minutes.
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What is offside in football?

Offside in football is a rule that restricts player positioning during a play.
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What is the origin of modern football?

Modern football also originated in England, during the mid-19th century.
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How widespread is football?

Football is one of the most popular and widely played sports worldwide.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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