Rugby LeagueRugby League is a variant of rugby, with different rules from Rugby Union. The game was developed out from Rugby Union by Northern England and Scottish clubs. The players in these clubs were largely working-class, unlike the clubs in Southern England whose players were middle or upper class. Since, the Rugby Union competition at the time did not allow paying players any salary; the working-class players felt they could not afford time off to train and play.
In 1892, charges of professionalism were laid against clubs in Bradford and Leeds, Yorkshire after they compensated players for missing work. On August 29, 1895 representatives of the northern clubs met in the George Hotel, Huddersfield to form the "Northern Rugby Football Union", a professional Union which would eventually become the Rugby Football League in 1922. By 1907, when the first league was formed, the new Unions rules had diverged from those Rugby Union, most noticeably in the reduction of players from 15 to 13, the "play the ball" (heeling the ball back after a tackle) rather than rucking and mauling, and slightly different scoring. Around this time a similar schism, and for similar reasons, opened up in the Union establishment of Australia, where the term Rugby League was first used for the new game.
Points are scored by:
- touching the ball down over the opponents goal line (a try, worth 4 points)
- kicking the ball above the crossbar and between the uprights of a large 'H' shaped set of posts. This may either be done from a place kick following a rule infringement (a penalty goal) or kicked from the hand, providing the ball strikes the ground before being kicked (a field goal, or drop goal). A penalty goal is worth 2 points and a drop goal is worth 1.
- A conversion, which is attempted after a try has been scored, from in line with where the try was scored along the axis of the goal line. A conversion is worth 2 points.
Rugby League while a hugely popular professional sport in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, has struggled to assert itself as an international sporting code particularly in the aftermath of the disasterous "Super League" war for control of the code in the late 1990s.