There is no such sport as 'Rugby' which is merely a style of football, there are two distinct sports called 'Rugby Union' and 'Rugby League', which whilst they have a common heritage and some common skills, are very different in many ways, have different clubs, national teams, laws and governing bodies etc. They have been separate sports for nearly 120 years.

Most people who talk about Rugby are actually talking about Rugby Union, but it would be presumptive to have Rugby as a synonym for Rugby Union, as League is a popular sport in many countries, particularly Australia, where it is more popular than the other.

I do think that most of the questions tagged Rugby so far could be retagged as Rugby Union, and a separate Rugby League tag could be made.

2 Answers 2


Good question.

Originally there was just .

Then I edited a question and added the respective tag. I mustn't have got around to adding the tag. (I have done this now).

There are definitely vast differences between the two but I think that there is sufficient generic crossover to warrant the tag being left.

Also, if somebody was asking a question about the differences or similarities of the two codes then perhaps the rugby tag would be more pertinent.

In fact, I have created this question on sports.SE which illustrates the example above.

  • 3
    I guess we could just add the -Union -League tags as appropriate when people tag questions with just Rugby when the question is actually about a specific code. I don't have the reputation yet to retag, but I'll get there at some point. Jun 1, 2012 at 13:35
  • @iandotkelly - agree completely.
    – Ste
    Jun 1, 2012 at 13:38

I am not much of an expert in rugby but I have colleagues that play(ed) in teams, one of which have played for the national side in youth teams. Based on the chats I've had with them, I'd say the distinction is not large enough (like rugby vs aussie-rules football) to require different tags as of now, seeing as there are not that many rugby related questions at this point. That's my two cents...

Btw: great meta question, IMHO! :)

Edit: I just had a small chat with my colleagues and got insulted based on the fact that I considered the Union and the League similar enough to be considered two flavors of the same sport. :) Apparently for someone who's a bit more involved and informed there's a huge difference...

  • 1
    Tell your colleagues that they are flavours of the same sport and, in fact, rugby is just a flavour of football. :)
    – Ste
    Jun 1, 2012 at 11:47
  • 3
    He he he .... yes, you just fell into the Rugby code trap. The only thing that can unite Union and League supporters is their shared hatred of the round-ball game. Jun 1, 2012 at 20:27

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