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Rugby Vs. American Football Print E-mail

Tuesday, 01 November 2011 09:30

Written by William Mataba

The essential difference between American Football and Rugby lies simply in the possession rule. In rugby no player can be impeded if not in possession of the ball. American football is strategically designed to interfere with non ball carrying players.  

Further basic differences dictate that, in Rugby the ball cannot be passed forward, while the key to success in American Football is determined by the receptor being made available for the ball to be received as far as possible ahead of the distributor. The quarterback in American football determines the play, and is observably protected by his defensive network.

In rugby, the play maker, or the stand off half, is vulnerable to any attack, as long as the attacking players were behind the ball when the play started.

Rugby will continue to flow until an infringement is created. This may be something as simple as a ball passed forward, or may be more complex, the infringement happening while the ball is in, or under, a collection of players trying to retrieve the ball for their side. The rules of rugby are complex and often confusing to the less initiated. In American football, it is the play which may be complex, while the rules are fairly substantive and easily followed.

To give you, the reader, an example: in a rugby lineout, the play needed to restart after the ball has left the field of play requires a complex set of decisions.  It can happen that a referee has at least 120+ infringements he can blow for if he is not satisfied with the restart. They may include anything from not throwing the ball in straight, to making contact (interfering) with another player who does not have the ball.

As player and follower of rugby, I do have concern for its future. When played and refree'd well it is a beautiful game to watch, but when manipulated by unscrupulous International Referees who are able because of the rules, to select an infringement when it suits them and manipulate the game, leaves the game with a questionable future. Regrettably, rugby is also a minority sport. By its very nature, rugby cannot appeal to the masses. It was born in private schools, and because of its dependence on refereeing decisions, rugby will never achieve the popularity of American Football.

 

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