The most popular game in the world today is soccer. People also call it by the name of football. Rugby as well as American football is one type of variants of this game. They have their basic differences. We shall go into each one of them, individually.
Number of players: 11 players per team play Soccer whereas in rugby, 13 to 15 players comprise the team.
Balls: In soccer, you use a spherical ball whereas rugby involves an elongated ball. The soccer ball is made of either leather or high quality plastic with a circumference of 71 centimeters. A rugby ball is a prolate spheroid about 30 cm in length and 77 cm in circumference with a maximum width of 62 cm.
Field: A soccer field is 100 meters to 110 meters long and 64 meters to 75 meters in width whereas a rugby field is 100 meters long and 70 meters wide.
Time Limit: Soccer has two halves of 45 minutes each. Rugby has two halves of 40 minutes each.
Substitutions: In soccer, you can use three substitutes. In rugby, you can make use of seven substitutes.
Object: The aim of the game in soccer is to put the ball into the opposing team’s goal. The team with the more number of goals at the end of the match wins. In rugby, you win points by touching the ball on the opponents try line or by kicking it through the goal post.
Basic rules: In soccer, no player other than the goalkeeper can touch the ball in play with their hands. In rugby, each player can touch the ball in play. In soccer, you cannot make any movement in front of the player with the ball. You can only tackle the player to dispossess him of the ball. In rugby, you can do so by physically blocking him.
Protective gear: In soccer, you can wear shin guards for protection. Rugby requires more protection. You can wear mouth guards, headgear and shoulder pads in addition to shin pads.
Body contact: Soccer does not involve that much of a body contact. The referees keep a close watch on unnecessary body contact. Rugby is a body contact game. Hence, more protection is the need of the hour.
Scoring methods: You get one point for a goal in soccer. In rugby, the point system is different. You get 5 points for a try. A conversion kick fetches you 2 points whereas a penalty kick or a drop kick earns you 3 points each.
Governing Bodies: The Federation International de Football Association controls soccer whereas International Rugby Board controls rugby.
Popularity: Soccer is popular in practically every country of the world. Rugby is not as popular as soccer.
Playing skills: Basic skills are more or less the same in both the games. In soccer, you require specialists such as forward, defender, and goalkeeper. In rugby, the frontline players are required to be stronger. The back line players are usually more agile.
Other skills: In soccer, precision and skill are the prerequisite whereas rugby requires more power.
Penalty: In soccer, you get penalty kicks in case of severe obstruction in the goal area. In rugby, you get kicks or scrums for such obstructions.
There are some similarities as well. We shall analyze them too.
Origin of the game: Both these games have their origin in England.
Referees: One referee and two assistant referees officiate in both these games.
Timeouts: Both the games do not envisage any timeouts.
Thus, you have seen the differences between soccer and rugby. Both are great games in their own right.