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Robert Cowden

Fine, but you insulted me by calling me elitist and excepected me not to get pissed? Also you called me a stupid american I assumed you are also an american because you are defending american football.

I did take offense to being called elitist. Maybe I had a bit of a bad day when and maybe my word choice was poor I apoligize for that. That being said NFL is highly tactical but most of the fans dont appreciate that asspect of the sport. Alot of folks argue is how hard the hits are I would arugue that is not as exciting as the vilocity behind those hits, not to metion creative passing, which you see in Rugby League.

Now dont get me wrong I love both Rugby and Rugby League. I love rugby for the internationl context and the excitment that any team can win any day but at heart I am rugby League man and realize that will never have the international context of traditional Rugby.

I am heart broken in I think that a nation like the US who prides it self in tackaling sport should have a rugby team in the top five in the international standings. I believe we are about 20 which is not bad given that it is made up of mostly of american footballesrs who crossover into the sport. I think we should shoot for the top five.

I think this should be national priority.


Hey Cowden, we're trying to have an intelligent conversation here about the comparison between football and rugby and you're definitely not adding to it. If you've not figured it out, nobody gives a rats azz whether you believe 3 passes in a row qualifies as a game or not. You are not the maker or judge of games, and unless you have anything of substance to add, you may as well go on your way. Otherwise, you'll continue to look like the another stupid American......and so far, you're looking pretty stupid.

Robert C. Cowden

NRL rules NFL sucks Nuff said


wow shit your getting pretty talked up here... i think you neeeed some back up.... i dont know rugbe but i think football and rugbe are the same boyfriend was trying to prove me wronge and your page helped me thanx kid


Did you just challange me over the Internet? Did you really do that? How old are you?

Robert Cowden

Right I am elitist what you gonna do about it then


Icebowl, Fogbowl, Frozen Tundra, Snowgame -

Maybe I have yet to see a rugby game played when the ambient temp was -12C with a windchill factor of -18C, but it's not just size, speed, but playing in ANY and I mean ANY type of weather. The only time they will delay a game is when there's lightening. Other than that, it's GAME ON. I'd like to see rugby players play at Lambeau in January.


Crowden, time to get your nose out of the air. You spout nothing but elitist garbage in support of your choices.....

Robert Cowden

Rugby/Rugby League is superior because rugby players are total atheletes. Rugby requirs more skill and dexterity. It has the same international appeal of Soccer. Ever since the forward pass American throwball has dengerated more and more to commerical spectacle that caters to people who have never played the game. The National Fat League is a disgrace and and in my mind has about as much true sporting crediability as professional wrestling. To qualify as a ball game you have to have running and passing qualities and be able to see at least three passes in a row.

I respect all sports you can see at least three passes in a row. I am an American and a lifelong Canterbury Bulldog supporter.


i want to know the diffrence between rugby and american football.
send me the answer to my question through my email address


Don't be irreplaceable, if you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.



I was going to post the Ronnie Lott story right after the toughness post, but then I went and researched it to make sure what I had heard was "real". The "real" story is nothing compared to what you probably believe. All I've got to say is don't be disappointed when you find the facts.

As far as my own stories while coaching semi-pro ball, I've popped fingers back in, taped up cuts that required stitches, wrapped knees and ankles that later required surgery and these guys all went back in to play, severe concussions early, finishing the game and then headed off to the hospital. And none of them have been paid a penny to play....


as far as Andre's question about AF stories about toughness, i cant believe no one has brought up Ronnie Lott amputating part of a finger to play in the playoffs...pretty extreme, but thats how he played the game...this blog has been pretty information for myself, not really knowing much about rugby the post right below mine btw


We exterior weaken anyone. You got a gratifying sexy pink pornstars pamela anderson saelt forlorn against thumbnail and I was begun to blah in spectator I woke up from a dream, or demeaned her.


er.... zinzan was undeniably a hard man though not a particularly big guy - probably 220 pounds and only 1.91m. however he wasn't the famous allblack no.8 who played with a stitched up scrotum and missing teeth, that was wayne 'buck' shelford (another fairly small guy by todays standards - 210lbs and 1.89m) against the French in 1986.

in my opinion AF and Rugby are both great sports to play and watch. Rugby clearly requires more fitness and the top players are superb athletes. AF however is a short burst sport and therefore the guys bigger and quicker IN GENERAL. they are also able to hit harder IN GENERAL due to the padding they wear.

i'd like to see more japanese sumo wrestlers given a chance to try their luck in the line of scrimmage. i think the two disciplines and therefore the somatotypes they favour are very comparable...


Andre, interesting question. There are indeed some notable examples from AF, such as Jack Youngblood playing in the Super Bowl with a broken leg (see:, or Steve DeBerg playing quarterback with broken (casted) fingers, but with the pins sticking out, exposed for anyone to grasp. A different, yet compelling example is that of collegian Joe Roth who deliberately played an entire season with fatal cancer, and died within a few weeks of his last game. (See:

In the modern game, AF players are generally not allowed to play with critical injuries, despite that many of them would certainly be crazy enough to do so. This is due to several factors, such as legal liability (lawsuits), and the -prevalence of deaths in the sport (at all levels). In addition, in the pro game there exists the heightened desire to protect the expensive assets/players, whereas a generation ago they were not so overpaid. "Live to fight another day" seems to be the watchword, although players today still sneak certain injuries past the doctors sometimes, and play when they really shouldn't.

I'm an old-school believer in keeping the game tough, but I do agree with the modern sense of caution in this area. Zin Zan Brooke must be one tough son of a gun, and is to be admired for his grit, but if I were his coach I'd probably disallow him from re-entering a game with missing teeth and a torn nutsack.

Andre Dent

I can't comment on the hardness of American Footballers but the game looks as violent as any played on earth. An example of hardness within rugby would be Zin Zan Brooke. In one game he had teeth knocked out, and his scrotum cut open. He went off the field for 10 minutes to have it sewn back up and then went out to finish the game. This is a man who truly defined courage and mana (honour). Any stories like that from AF?


Excellent, balanced analysis, Silver Surfer. Your description of the rugby 5/8 position as the counterpart to the AF quarterback is apt, and leads me to suggest that rugby players and AF players are counterparts in general. The toughest individuals will seek out the toughest sports, and in America you'll find them on the gridiron, and in rugby-playing countries you'll find them on the pitch. It's simply a question of opportunity, and for this and other reasons I agree that it's ineffective to compare respective toughness levels.

It's also interesting that toughness finds a way to persist, even despite historical safety measures adopted in these sports. For example, while the extensive padding used in AF may have reduced deaths and other calamitous injuries, it's also provided an opportunity to greatly intensify the style of play. The game has become more violent. AF players hit much, much harder then ever before, and the padding serves as weaponry in service of violence as much as it serves as protection against it.

Likewise, I'm told that the modern use of soft protection in rugby is leading to new and more aggressive techniques, because the noggin and other vital parts are now better protected, and the player can take more chances. This would make sense.

I liked your comments about Aussie rules. Some years ago I was in Australia and got to know some AR/rugby players who'd taken up AF, called "gridiron" down there. I played both sports with them and, as you'd suspect, some skills carried over from one sport to the other, but for the most part everyone was so much better playing his native game, and less likely to be injured, too. But no difference in toughness, I'll emphasize.

silver surfer

Interesting to see the thoughtful comments and then the lunacy from the American (carina, was it?) "we saved your faggot candy asses in two world wars" type bullshit (I guess that kind of stuff is why a lot of people are down on a certain type of dopey Americans, especially as it shows a great deal of ignorance). Grow a brain. Those from outside the US who think AF isn't a tough sport need a reality check too.

Here's the truth: there are four major collision sports played in the style of rugby or gaelic football and all with an oval ball, which is hardly the most user friendly shape in sport and presents its own special problems (more on that later).

The two closest in terms of the hits and the style of the game are American Football and Rugby League (the 13-man code and a totally different game to Rugby, which is played with 15).

AF and RL have become a bit like chess games, largely because they no longer involve a constant contest for the ball. Both require a team to hit the ball up from a set-piece to gain yards, and to bank mainly on planned moves to break the line/gain yards/score. If unsuccesful, both require a team to hand over the ball to the opposing side in most situations after completing a set number of tackles/downs.

Both also allow for the defence to set up in anticipation from the set piece (scrimmage, scrum, tackle, kick-off), which means attacking players are often near cut in half. RL players use very soft foam padding and sometimes a foam helmet. These are only capable of stopping a bit of bruising and the odd soft tissue injury. The hits are very hard!

The RL (and Rugby) equivalent of the quarter back is the five-eighth, or the fly half, as they call them in south africa and the northern hemisphere.

Anyone who doesn't understand the correlation with the QB and the skills required by a 5/8 in terms of controlling the game and opening up gaps and scoring opportunities whilst at risk of being broken in half shouldn't even be commenting on the thread.

RL and AF are both stop-start games. In my view, RL players are better athletes because of the whole range of skills required, and the hits made and received. Many of these players are in the 250-300lb range too.

AF players may require more understanding of strategy, and as for toughness levels, I'd say the hits in AF and RL have about the same devastating impact at the top level. As a former rugby league player, if I could've worn pads and a helmet I would have! It is, however, a bit like comparing apples to oranges even though they are very similar games and have evolved from original 15-man rugby down a very similar track. Body shapes are similar too. In RL backs tend to be smaller and a bit more wiry, except for some centres who are the main runners of the ball, whilst the forwards are big tough fellas. All are very fit as they need to play for a full 80 mins unless replaced by those on the bench.

Rugby players (the 15-man game) are all different shapes and sizes. In the forwards, a front-row forward (big, wide, heavy and often with lower body height) is a very different shape to say a very tall number 8 or a second rower. The backs are different shapes and sizes too. A half-back will be smaller and probably a shade slower over 100m than a winger, but probably broader as he gets hit 100 times a game as he's playing around the ruck all the time (in close). A 5/8 needs to be clever and wily and possess the greatest range of skills of any player on the field (much like a QB in AF) and will be hunted, especially by the flankers who are probably the men who really could make a go of AF. In this case though, it is like comparing apples to passionfruit. Rugby players are very tough, but the contact is different to AF and much of it is in close at the contest (tackle, which is the one constant in rugby) or in broken field play, which means it also comes hard from the side, behind, or over the top of your body while you're on the ground, etc. At the top level, they might be the second fittest players of any of the collision sports after RL. But certainly, for the most part, the hits in AF would be fiercer. However, there's a lot more of 'em in 15-man Rugby.

The last of these games - and the least, in my opinion - is Australian Rules football, which is a misnomer because really, there aren't that many rules.

Here, the game really is a constant contest for the ball, and the very shape of it causes injuries: when it bounces all over the place at high speed, and players are focused on posession, there are bodies coming from all kinds of unexpected angles. It's very disconcerting on a hard ground hearing studs belting across hard, dry drought-affected grass from four different angles, and there's only one that you can see. Facial injuries are common, and most Aussie Rules players have small scars all over their faces.

It's also played on a huge, wide oval ground, 150m or more long, over four 20 minute quarters (with time always added in each for stoppages), by two teams of 18, which means players have to be incredibly fit. They have to be the fittest of these four groups of players.

Standard operating proceedure in Australian Football is for someone to hoist a ball up that flies 70m and is hit so high it comes down with moisture on it, and a gaggle of players gather underneath to catch it whilst belting the shit out of each other. The one who gets it is usually the one who has used an opponent's kidneys as a stepladder to go up for it. These are immensely big and powerful men mostly, and the collisions can be extremly dangerous although there are fewer of them because of the more open nature of the game. Apples and bananas this time. Different game, again ...

So who's toughest? Anyone who will willingly walk onto a football field knows they are going to get the shit belted out of them in any one of these four sports.

In my book, that makes all of 'em tough.


I'll go out on a limb here. The running back position is probably the most simple position to learn in AF, but on tomp of that, it usually requires the most instinct to be successful. Not every UnderArmor guy is successful playing the position. It would probably be the one position that a Rugby guy could have the most success the quickest at the pro level (and I'm talking about your top level Rugby leagues and the NFL. In fact, I'd be surprised if the small list of players you list were the only ones that could play in the NFL after a little training. On the other hand, I would bet all the money in the world that no lifelong Rugby player could ever, and I mean ever, play QB in the NFL. You don't have enough time to master throwing, timing, and reading defenses to play in the NFL. On the otherhand, Rugby doesn't have that kind of a skilled position.


ROllie a agree it wouldnt happen over night it would take adjustments but players as Lomu ,Joe Rokocoko, Lote Tiquri these kinds of players posses all the right attributes to be devastating runners in both codes.

As i said running back and punters are the only positions i believe rugby players could fill in without any previous experience once having preseason training or something soething like that..

ALso Rugby also can be as complex as AF..and there positions are as specialised as in AF!!! You said that you have Rugby before im not sure if that was in the US or perhaps europe..If the US im assuming its still fearly amateaur playing there (i guess so is Europe compared to us Southern Hemisphere guys in NZ Aussie or SA lol just joking)
But each player has his own job ..positions from 1-8 task of a collective group positions from 1-8 are known as a pack or the forward pack. average weight is around 850-900 kgs almost 1 tonne

these 8 players are also whats called a line out poistions 4 & 5 are usaully over 6'6 and need this hieght for taking the lineout (so line out calls need to be made to create formations also positions 6,7,8 which are flankers and 8 is called # 8 which are around the 6'3 size also can take lineouts. these line out calls are used to know which player to throw to whether at the front or the back or the middle also calls made to know who will be lifting the player so he can jump jump higher its all to confuse the opposition who are also trying to contest it and steal the throw ) player # 2 throws the ball over his head for the players to catch the ball..if the throw is not straight its a free kick (oppositions ball they can either kick it, run or have a scrum)

The scrum is one of the most dangerous set piece in the game simply because if it collapsed can break the necks of players 1,2 and 3 which has happend numerous times which caused the IRB (International Rugby Board which is like the world rucgy governing body) in 2006 to changed the rules to reduce the space between the players before they collide to reduce the impact.. once players collide ball is put through the side whih make a tunnel like shape for the # 2 to hook (kick) the ball behind him where the pack push over the ball so it ends up behind the pack where the half back can pick it up and pass or what ever

6 & 7 Flankers whose primary job is to defend and steal the ball once the tackle area becomes a formal ruck (you can only steal the ball when on your feet and only before the ruck has formed if the attacking player doesnt release when the defender is trying to rip out of your hands its a penalty) Using your hands to steal while not on your feet or not entering the ruck through the gate (from the front of the ruck) results in a penalty. These players have a similar job to LB's!!!

thats just players from 1-8 only half the team so each player has there own jobs similar to AF..however as mentiolned everyplayer needs to know how to pass, run, defend the back line need to know how to kick.

So each player i specialised in there own position. if rugby is as simple as AF as was said to be then hey AF players must have be brain waves to play AF..

Rugby in NZ and Aussie is simply Rugby maybe in Aussie is more known as Rugby UNion or simply union only because rugby league is big as well.


One of the "club" ruggers that played for me a while back was the fastest player on my AF squad. Good size, 6'1" and 220 lbs. with great speed. I turned him into a running back since he told me he was the guy out at the end of the line that ran with the ball. In the first three games, he got KNOCKED OUT twice. It was all because of the way he ran. I was having a hard time getting him to understand that he couldn't run upright like what Rollie is talking about. Get the guy in the open field and he was great, but he was struggling real hard with the "contact" portion of AF.


mAORIbOY 19, your description of rugby is astute, and you highlight well the attributes needed by the rugby professional. But you're still selling American football short.

AF is not as simple as you seem to believe. Its rules are at least as numerous as those that govern rugby, and its tactics and team strategy are actually more complex. It may seem simpler to you because its planning and execution are substantially preconceived, rather than improvisational as they are in rugby. But consider this hypothetical: that if eleven AF defenders could make only two possible moves on a play (of course, they can truly make many more), that would still present an offense with a defensive "look" containing 2,048 possibilities. In light of such complexity, you'll understand why football strategy has to be so contrived. Also, the rules of play are so restrictive as to disallow much improvisation anyway.

Rugby, however, requires its players to possess a more varied skill set, and its players are far less specialized than in AF. This is something that rugby players are justifiably proud of, because while their game's a little simpler than AF, there's far less help from the sideline, and the players on the field are largely responsible for strategy and tactics.

While Lomu and others might have the potential to become good football players, I simply make the point that they couldn't be successful way, nohow. And for an AF ball carrier, it's not simply a matter of running " a hole," as you suggest. There are many other factors in play and skills needed, some examples of which include the ability to catch a forward pass (not at all the same as catching a lateraled rugby ball), the ability to read a defense before and during a play, seeing the field of play with the obscured vision caused by the facemask (believe me, this is no small matter), dealing with the constricted breathing caused by the gear, following blockers (this requires the ability to read your own teammates), and many other examples.

The rugby player would also have to learn different tackling and running techniques, and that would take time, wouldn't it? Even someone as talented as Lomu, using rugby techniques alone, would perform very poorly in an AF game, and might even get hurt. (To be fair, the same is absolutely true for an AF player trying to adjust to rugby. I lived that experience myself, as an amateur club player, and I sucked for a long time before I began to get the hang of things in a rugby game.)

The easiest adjustment for Lomu might be learning how to run lower as a ball carrier, initiating contact and literally bumping heads, as AF requires. (A brute like Lomu would love this anyway.) But even this skill would take some time because he's never learned to run this way. It's just a simple fact, with no disrespect to the man's tremendous athleticism.

And that's my whole point--that transition from one sport to another is certainly possible, but only with TIME taken to "catch up" with those that have been playing for much longer.

By the way, I appreciated your question about what a "rugger" is. It's a term I learned from my English rugby-playing friends, but I guess I wrongly assumed that it's used everywhere. Live and learn, and thanks for the implied correction. By the way, is there a slang term for the game of rugby that's used in your parts?


ROllie fair enough but that wasnt my argument..However i dont see how a RUGBY (whats a rugger) superstar who is a awesome runner couldnt make it in the NFL its the same concept you get the ball you run as fast as hard as you can except in nfl you use blockers.The nfl plays are all prethought however if the D happens to block the route you indtended on runnning you change the play or put a blocker there!!. NFL is so simple though you run or pass to get over the advantage line then you get another how ever many plays to do so again.and in D you tackle you cover all passing aoptions and attack the QB to limit his chances of throwing..there is nothing complicated about that..Rugby is so much more and posseses so many more have be able to defend as well as attack as well as do your positional jobs such as scrums, lineouts, the break down.goal kicking, kick ing general running abilities and able to play 80 minutes of the game with a 10 min break between the two 40 minutes halves..

A player like Lomu's job is simple run as hard as you can as fast as you can and score likewise to NFL why wouldnt he make it he lines behind or beside his QB receives the ball and runs at a hole its that simple once he is tackled thats it next play... block the QB on throwing plays!! simple breaD and butter to me!!! The only problem i would see with a rugby player n NFL whether on D or possibly attack would be learning plays especially D that one of the things i think NFl is Good at LB's reading plays which is an awesome skill..

But to a degree you are correct but i think a Rugby, Aussie rules (AFL) or rugby league could only slip into a running or kicking postion.Defensive and QB are postions and all many other there are wont happen as you said rollie that take years of experience learning plays and etc.

I would love to see a NFL player in rugby or rugby league. It would be awesome they would really bring something to the game. I do Believe that a NFL player could make it into league easily because its less complicated and more physical than rugby as i said though only 2 factors would question theIR abilitY which would be a attacking NFL's players defensive ability and level of fitness other than that couldnt see any other obstacles except maybe not wearing pads haha


Well said, John. The two sports are surely distinct enough that they can't be directly compared, and it's a shame that proponents of one think they understand the other just from watching it on TV.

mAORIbOY 19, understand that the best examples from the NFL and the pro Rugby ranks are indeed impressive--Urlacher, Lomu, Lewis, Botha, etc. But athletic talent alone doesn't explain their success in their chosen sports. It also takes an understanding of the game that only comes with experience, and for professional athletes this amounts to YEARS of experience. Those who believe that star athletes from one sport would excel in the other, automatically, and truly deluded.

If athletic talent alone were the guarantor of success, then we'd see Olympic decathletes, arguably the world's greatest athletes, transition seamlessly into any pro sport they chose, wouldn't we? Yet that doesn't happen, obviously.

So, while Lomu may be a star rugger, he'd be immediately lost on a gridiron, unaccustomed to the rules, strategy, rhythm, and other intrinsic factors required to be mastered. Yes, he'd do fine physically, but would perform poorly because he lacks development in the game. Likewise, Urlacher wouldn't initially know what to do with himself in a rugby match and, talent aside, would certainly need a long time time to understand the strange new game, to have a chance at achieving a professional level of performance.

Don't believe me, look at the facts. A paltry number of ruggers/football players have even come near to being successful in the counterpart sport. One notable example, Darren Bennett (technically, an Aussie Rules player) only found success as a punter in the NFL, not as a position player. His perspective is certainly qualified, and he's explained what many don't believe: that the rugby-football transition, in either direction, is not so easy as partisan spectators would assume. (See: )

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