The Difference Between Rugby and American Football


American football and rugby are mostly identified by many as a single sport. However, sports aficionados, as well as sports betting fans would completely disagree. Today, iClub will be tearing down the main differences between rugby and American football.

Demographic and geographic spread

One of the things that set rugby and American football apart is this first category. While American football is certainly starting to gain momentum in terms of popularity across the world, for the most part, the US still has the greatest number of players and fans.

Look no further on how big the Super Bowl gets every year. It is one of the biggest sporting events in the states and the league is always guaranteed to gain a massive number of audiences during its airtime. It is simply one of the most-anticipated and most-watched live broadcasts out there.

Rugby, on the other hand, is just as popular. However, Rugby actually has a far bigger geographical reach. The sport is more popular in many European countries like France, England, Ireland, and Scotland. It’s one of the biggest sports in Australia and New Zealand, too.

While both sports are immensely popular, their demographics and reach certainly vary in regions and territories. Many sports betting Singapore sites can give you a good grasp on how each of them is popular in specific continents.

The object of the game

Your main goal when playing American football is to score more points than the opposing team. The ball must be carried beyond the opposing team’s touchline. When done successfully, they call it a “touchdown”. Scores can also be earned by kicking the ball within the posts or the “field goal”.

With rugby, the main object of the game is pretty similar. The main difference between the two lies after the ball is carried beyond the opposing team’s touch line. The ball needs to also be placed down which is called a “try”.

Just to add a bit more information, rugby also lets teams earn a score by kicking the ball in between the goalposts. All of these pieces of information are also briefly explained in many bookmaker websites as a reminder for players.

The ball

At first glance, comparing the two balls side by side would give you the impression that they are no different from each other. That’s because they are indeed similar in terms of looks. However, a closer inspection, and if you want to get a bit more technical about it, there’s a slight difference.

American footballs are longer than a centimeter at 28cm weighing less than 1 pound. Meanwhile, rugby is only about 27cm long with a weight of about 1 pound. Lastly, American football usually has more pointy ends to enable players to throw them easier and farther.

The players

In this category, rugby has a greater number of players than American football. Many online sports betting fans already know this fact. Rugby teams have fifteen players while American football players only have eleven. This makes betting for certain side markets a bit easier than others.


American football allows for an unlimited number of substitutions for each team. In rugby, however, each team is only permitted to call for substitutions of up to seven times per game. Additionally, players who have already left the pitch can no longer return to the field unless you account for any injury or lack of other substitutes.

The playing field

For American football, the fields are a bit smaller. The playing field for American football has a length total of 109.73m with pitches at 48.77m while a rugby playing field is a bit wider at 120m with pitches of 70m.

Equipment and gears

Right out of the gate, you can immediately identify an American football player from a rugby player. For American football players, players are required to wear large pieces of equipment such as a helmet, shoulder pads, chest pads, leg protectors, and also a gum shield. Rugby, on the other hand, can play with minimal protective gear.

The Difference Between Rugby and American Football

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