The Ruck and the Tackle Ball in Rugby Union and Rugby League

While it may not appear so to the casual observer, there are a number of key differences between the two codes of rugby. Obviously both games use the same type of ball and there are penalty kicks, conversions, tries and scrums. However, for the most part this is where the similarities end. One of the main differences between the two sports is that rugby union has the ruck and rugby league has the tackle ball.

Put simply, rugby league is the simpler sport. One of the key reasons for this is that it does not have ‘the ruck’. Rugby league has the tackle ball. When you get tackled you need to retain your grip on the ball, stand up and roll the ball back with your foot to the person standing behind you. That counts as one tackle; your team gets five before they have to hand over the ball for the other team to have their turn at five tackles. Because this handover occurs at the place of the last tackle it is most common for the attacking team to kick on their last tackle. Firstly, it allows for an attacking opportunity and secondly it gets the ball further down the field so the other team has further to come to score a try.

In rugby, you have the ‘ruck’. Here the attacker needs to retain the ball, adjust their body position as they hit the ground, place the ball back to their team and release it. The tackler, in turn, has to release the other player and roll away. Meanwhile the other players from each team try to push their way over the ball. Whichever team is able to get over the top of the ball so their halfback can reach it gets to have possession. The halfback clears to another runner and the process continues indefinitely until a team knocks the ball on, kicks or an infringement occurs.

Largely because of these two differences league is the more structured game while rugby union is more contestable and technical.

Source by M A Williams