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Rugby vs. Soccer: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sara Rehman || Published on November 24, 2023
Rugby is a contact sport with handling the ball, tackling, and goalposts, while soccer (football) involves non-contact play focused on kicking a ball into a goal.

Key Differences

Rugby is characterized by physical contact, such as tackling, scrums, and rucks, whereas soccer strictly prohibits most physical contact, penalizing players for tackles and holds.
Sara Rehman
Nov 24, 2023
In rugby, players can carry, pass, and kick the ball, but in soccer, players predominantly use their feet, with hands used only by goalkeepers within their designated area.
Sara Rehman
Nov 24, 2023
Rugby matches involve goalposts with a crossbar and a H-shaped structure, where scoring can be done by grounding the ball behind the opponent's goal line or kicking it through the goalposts. While, soccer uses a rectangular goal without a crossbar, and scoring is achieved by kicking the ball into the net.
Huma Saeed
Nov 24, 2023
The shape of the ball differs: rugby uses an oval ball, conducive to carrying and kicking in different ways, while soccer uses a spherical ball, designed for being kicked and headed.
Sara Rehman
Nov 24, 2023
Rugby teams consist of 15 players (or 7 in rugby sevens), covering various positions like forwards and backs. Soccer teams are made up of 11 players, including positions like defenders, midfielders, forwards, and a goalkeeper.
Sara Rehman
Nov 24, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Contact Level

High, with tackling and scrums.
Minimal physical contact allowed.
Sara Rehman
Nov 24, 2023

Ball Handling

Use of hands and feet permitted.
Primarily feet, except for goalkeepers.
Sara Rehman
Nov 24, 2023

Scoring Method

Grounding the ball or kicking through goalposts.
Kicking the ball into a netted goal.
Sara Rehman
Nov 24, 2023

Ball Shape

Oval-shaped for varied handling.
Spherical, designed for kicking.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 24, 2023

Team Composition

15 players with diverse roles.
11 players, including a goalkeeper.
Sara Rehman
Nov 24, 2023
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Rugby and Soccer Definitions

Rugby

Characterized by tackling and scrums
Rugby is known for its intense scrums.
Sara Rehman
Nov 17, 2023

Soccer

Involves two teams of eleven players
A standard soccer team has eleven players.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 17, 2023

Rugby

Has variations like rugby sevens
She excels in rugby sevens.
Janet White
Nov 17, 2023

Soccer

Known as football outside North America
Soccer is commonly called football in Europe.
Sara Rehman
Nov 17, 2023

Rugby

A contact team sport
He plays rugby at his high school.
Harlon Moss
Nov 17, 2023

Soccer

A team sport played with a spherical ball
Soccer is popular worldwide.
Huma Saeed
Nov 17, 2023

Rugby

Played with an oval ball
The rugby ball is distinctively oval.
Sara Rehman
Nov 17, 2023

Soccer

Aims to score goals by kicking the ball into a net
He scored a goal in soccer.
Janet White
Nov 17, 2023

Rugby

Originated in England
Rugby has a rich history in England.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 17, 2023

Soccer

Prohibits the use of hands except by goalkeepers
In soccer, handling the ball is a foul.
Sara Rehman
Nov 17, 2023

Rugby

A game played by two teams of 15 players each on a rectangular field 110 yards long with goal lines and goal posts at either end, the object being to run with an oval ball across the opponent's goal line or kick it through the upper portion of the goal posts, with forward passing and time-outs not permitted.
Sara Rehman
Nov 16, 2023

Soccer

A game played on a rectangular field with net goals at either end in which two teams of 11 players each try to drive a ball into the other's goal by kicking, heading, or using any part of the body except the arms and hands. The goalie is the only player who may touch or move the ball with the arms or hands.
Sara Rehman
Nov 16, 2023

Rugby

A form of football in which players can hold or kick an ovoid ball; rugby football. The ball cannot be handled forwards and points are scored by touching the ball to the ground in the area past the opponent's territory or by kicking the ball between goalposts and over a crossbar.
The scrum is a distinctive element of rugby.
The two rugbies split following a debate about amateurism.
Sara Rehman
Nov 16, 2023

Soccer

Indoor soccer.
Sara Rehman
Nov 16, 2023

Rugby

(specifically) The form of the game known as rugby union (see the usage note).
Sara Rehman
Nov 16, 2023

Soccer

Association football.
Sara Rehman
Nov 16, 2023

Rugby

(countable) rugby shirt
Sara Rehman
Nov 16, 2023

Soccer

(Australian rules football) To kick the football directly off the ground, without using one's hands.
Sara Rehman
Nov 16, 2023

Rugby

(Philippines) Rubber cement, contact cement.
Sara Rehman
Nov 16, 2023

Soccer

A football game in which two teams of 11 players try to kick or head a ball into the opponents' goal
Sara Rehman
Nov 16, 2023

Rugby

(intransitive) To play rugby.
Sara Rehman
Nov 16, 2023

Rugby

A form of football played with an oval ball
Sara Rehman
Nov 16, 2023

FAQs

What is rugby?

A contact sport played with an oval ball.
Sara Rehman
Nov 24, 2023

What is a scrum in rugby?

A method of restarting the game with a contest for the ball.
Sara Rehman
Nov 24, 2023

How many players are in a rugby team?

Fifteen in traditional rugby, seven in rugby sevens.
Sara Rehman
Nov 24, 2023

Is rugby played worldwide?

Yes, especially popular in countries like the UK, New Zealand, and South Africa.
Harlon Moss
Nov 24, 2023

What is a try in rugby?

A scoring method worth five points, achieved by grounding the ball.
Sara Rehman
Nov 24, 2023

How do you score in rugby?

By grounding the ball in the in-goal area or kicking it through goalposts.
Huma Saeed
Nov 24, 2023

What's the difference between rugby union and league?

They have different rules and number of players.
Janet White
Nov 24, 2023

Can rugby players kick the ball?

Yes, kicking is a key part of the game.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 24, 2023

Is rugby an Olympic sport?

Yes, particularly rugby sevens.
Sara Rehman
Nov 24, 2023

How many players are on a soccer team?

Eleven, including the goalkeeper.
Sara Rehman
Nov 24, 2023

What are the positions in soccer?

Goalkeeper, defenders, midfielders, and forwards.
Sara Rehman
Nov 24, 2023

What is a penalty kick in soccer?

A free shot at goal, awarded for certain fouls in the penalty area.
Harlon Moss
Nov 24, 2023

How long is a rugby match?

Typically 80 minutes, divided into two halves.
Sara Rehman
Nov 24, 2023

How do you score in soccer?

By kicking the ball into the opponent's net.
Sara Rehman
Nov 24, 2023

What is offside in soccer?

A rule that restricts players' positioning on the field.
Harlon Moss
Nov 24, 2023

What is soccer?

A sport involving teams playing with a spherical ball to score goals.
Janet White
Nov 24, 2023

Is soccer played globally?

Yes, it's one of the most popular sports worldwide.
Janet White
Nov 24, 2023

Can soccer players use their hands?

Only the goalkeeper within their own penalty area.
Janet White
Nov 24, 2023

Is soccer in the Olympics?

Yes, soccer is an Olympic sport.
Harlon Moss
Nov 24, 2023

How long is a soccer match?

Usually 90 minutes, split into two halves.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 24, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sara Rehman
Sara Rehman is a seasoned writer and editor with extensive experience at Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Information Technology, she combines her academic prowess with her passion for writing to deliver insightful and well-researched content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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