Rugby vs Soccer: Difference and Comparison

Each game has a history and origin, and the same is with football. The two earliest football games are Association Football and Rugby Union.

Both games share a common history and origin. The two games were first played in Europe.

In 1863, the Association of Football laid the rules for association football in England. They named Rugby and Football to differentiate between the different forms of the game.

Later the term soccer was coined in the 1880s in England. Therefore, football or soccer in its current form developed in England, while Rugby’s existence dates back in history.

Key Takeaways

  1. Rugby is a contact sport played with an oval-shaped ball, where teams score points by carrying the ball across the opponent’s goal line (try) or kicking it through goalposts (conversion, penalty, or drop goal).
  2. Soccer, also known as football, is a sport played with a round ball where teams score points by kicking the ball into the opponent’s goal, with only the goalkeeper allowed to touch the ball with their hands.
  3. Both rugby and soccer are popular team sports played worldwide, but rugby involves more physical contact and uses an oval-shaped ball. In contrast, soccer is played with a round ball and has more restrictions on touching the ball with hands.

Rugby vs. Soccer

Rugby is a contact sport and is played with an oval-shaped ball. The objective of the game is to carry the ball over the opposition team’s goal line or to kick it over the crossbar for points. Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. The objective of the game is to score goals by kicking the ball into the opposing team’s net.

Rugby vs Soccer

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Rugby is played between two teams, each having 13 to 15 players with an elongated ball. Soccer is played in teams with 11 players, each with a spherical ball.


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonRugbySoccer
Number of playersIn rugby, a team has 13 to 15 players.In soccer, a team has 11 players.
FieldThe dimensions of a rugby field are 100*70 meters.The length of a soccer field is 100 to 110 meters, and the breadth is 64 to 75 meters.
BallRugby uses an elongated ball length of 30 cm, a circumference of 77 cm, and a breadth of 62 cm. The shape of the ball is called Prolate Spheroid.Soccer uses a spherical ball of 71 cm in circumference.
Time LimitThe rugby game has two halves of 40 minutes each.A soccer game has two halves of 45 minutes each.


What is Rugby?

Rugby is a type of football played between teams of 13 to 15 players each at the time of the game; there are 26 to 30 players on the field. The field of rugby is 100 meters in length and 70 meters in breadth.

The ball of rugby football is an elongated shape known as a Prolate Spheroid. The ball is 30 cm long, 62 cm wide, and 77 cm in circumference.

A rugby game has two halves of 40 minutes each but does not have any timeouts in between.

In rugby, a player has to pick up the ball and go toward the opponent’s side; the rest of the team helps move forward. The team is given 5 points for a try, 3 points for a dropkick, and 2 points for a conversion kick.

The team is allowed to make seven substitutions in an ongoing match.

The International Rugby Board is the highest authority in the game. Rugby was a dominant game in the countries that were British colonies.

Some rugby-playing countries are England, Australia, Italy, New Zealand, etc.


What is Soccer?

Soccer or Football is played between two teams of 11 players; during the match, there are 22 players on the field. The rugby field is 100 to 110 meters long and 64 to 75 meters wide.

The soccer ball is spherical, with a circumference of 71 cm. A soccer game has two halves of 45 minutes each without any timeouts in between.

The game is played with feet, legs, head, and torso without touching the ball with hands. The 17 laws govern the soccer game, and the referee has to look that the game is being played fair.

In soccer, a team has to put the ball in the opposition’s nets or goalpost. One point is awarded to the team for each goal. During the match, a team is allowed to make only three substitutions.

The Federation International de Football Association is the highest authority of the game. Soccer is a popular game in America, Asia, and Africa.

It is more popular than Rugby.


Main Differences Between Rugby and Soccer

  1. Rugby is popular in England and the former British colonies such as France, Australia, Italy, Scotland, Wales, etc., whereas Soccer is popular in Europe, America, Africa, and Asia.
  2. A rugby team has 13 to 15 players, whereas a soccer team has 11 players.
  3. The dimensions of a rugby field are 100*70 meters, whereas the dimensions of a soccer team may vary, the length of the field varies from 100 to 110 meters, and the breadth varies from 64 to 75 meters.
  4. A Rugby ball has a Prolate Spheroid shape, while a Soccer ball is spherical.
  5. A rugby ball is 30 cm in length, and 62 cm in breadth, with a circumference of 77 cm, while a soccer ball is 71 cm in circumference.
  6. A complete game of rugby has two halves of 40 minutes each, while a soccer game has two halves of 45 minutes each.
  7. In rugby, seven substitutions are allowed to a team, while only three are allowed in soccer.
  8. In rugby, there is a different system of giving points to a team; 5 points are awarded for a try, 2 points for a conversion kick, and 3 points for a dropkick. In soccer, 1 point is awarded for a goal.
  9. The highest governing body in rugby is the International Rugby Board, while the Federation International de Football Association is the highest governing body of soccer.
Difference Between Rugby and Soccer


Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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10 thoughts on “Rugby vs Soccer: Difference and Comparison”

  1. I respectfully disagree, rugby and soccer have their own unique characteristics and rules that make them distinct from one another.

  2. Avatar of Palmer Alison
    Palmer Alison

    The historical context provided for both rugby and soccer is enlightening. It’s interesting to learn about the origins and evolution of these sports.

  3. I enjoyed reading about the differences and similarities between rugby and soccer. It’s interesting to learn the specifics of each sport.

  4. This article is missing a critical analysis of the impact and significance of rugby and soccer on global sports culture.

  5. The detailed comparison of rugby and soccer provides a comprehensive overview of the distinguishing features of both sports. Well-researched and informative!

  6. The comparison of the number of players, field dimensions, and ball types in both sports is quite intriguing. It gives a better understanding of the variations between rugby and soccer.

  7. The clear breakdown of the rules, objectives, and key differences between rugby and soccer makes this article an excellent resource for those interested in the history of these sports.

  8. I appreciate the detailed comparison of rugby and soccer. It helps to understand the origins and rules of both games.

  9. I find it amusing how rugby and soccer have evolved differently due to their distinct rules and styles of play. It’s fascinating to see how they have developed over time.

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