The 7 main differences between Union and League, thanks to Louise Ransome (@louransomefox), Fox Sports News Presenter & Fox Rugby sideline:
1. Rugby Union can be called either ‘Rugby’ or ‘Union’. Rugby League is never called ‘Rugby’, but is often referred to as ‘League’.
2. Rugby Union has 15 players, while Rugby League has 13.
3. In Rugby League, you're only allowed six tackles before you have to ‘turnover’ the ball – give it to the other team. In Rugby Union you just keep going until one team loses possession or the opposition steals the ball.
4. In Rugby Union, when a player gets tackled and ‘goes to ground’, they need to try to get the ball backwards to their players standing behind them. The other team is trying to come in over the top to steal the ball. This is called the breakdown and is generally the time where you’ll hear the ref blow his whistle the most because there are a lot of rules around what players can do in this part of the game. In Rugby League, they just have a ‘play the ball’ where, once a player is tackled, they get up and roll the ball through their legs with their foot and the other team can’t try to steal it like in Rugby Union.
5. Rugby Union has contested scrums (players actually push against the other team’s scrum to try to gain possession of the ball). Scrums happen to restart the game after a minor infringement of the rules.
6. In Australia, Rugby Union is often considered a ‘white collar’ sport, supported by the high end of town, whereas Rugby League has always been known as a working-class game.
7. Rugby Union is an international game – lots of countries around the world have teams that play against teams from other countries. Rugby League is an Australian game with a national competition called NRL – this comp is made up of Australian teams only, plus one NZ team that's based in Auckland.