The Rugby League World Cup is one of the major sporting events in 2022. 16 teams are currently fighting it out in the sport for the trophy in England, with the hosts, Australia, New Zealand, and Tonga all considered strong contenders for success.
Some former rugby league players have in the past made a career switch from rugby league to American football, and we could see some of the current stars of the Rugby League World Cup do the same in the future.
Here is a look at where there are similarities between the two sports.
Rushing with Ball
Just like in American football, in rugby league, the aim is for the team to take the ball from one side of the field to the other to score points. Australia is the 4/9 favorite in the Rugby League World Cup betting as they do this better than any team in the world.
Most 100-yard rushing games over last 3 seasons:
Derrick Henry* 18
Nick Chubb 15
Jonathan Taylor 14
Dalvin Cook 12
*missed 9 games in 2021 pic.twitter.com/URKW7hgZSP
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) October 24, 2022
One of the ways to get to the opposition’s try line is to rush/run with the ball through the opponent’s defense. As it does in American football, rugby league requires explosive speed, while ball control is also vital, as a fumble can lead to a turnover.
The big difference between rugby league and American football is the way the defenses are set up. In the former, they do so in a line together, while in the latter, there is a formation that sees players begin to play in different areas of the gridiron.
The NFL is one of the most popular sports leagues in the world and part of its appeal to fans is due to the big hits you see in the game. Players like three-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, TJ Watt, and Joey Bosa are talented players on defense whose job it is to get to the quarterback. The big hits you see in the NFL have also been seen in the Rugby League World Cup.
Rugby league is a physical sport where tackling is a crucial part of a team’s ability to stop their opponent from scoring. These hits need to be within the rules, so timing is crucial, just as it is in American football.
🇦🇺 Different class.
— Rugby League World Cup 2021 (@RLWC2021) October 21, 2022
There were some great examples of excellent tackles in Australia’s 84-0 victory over Scotland. Like the NFL, shutting out a team completely does not happen very often, but in this game, the defending champions were fantastic when defending their try line.
Kicking is Vital
In American football and rugby league, the team which kicks better can frequently be the team which wins the game, especially in tight matches. The aim for the kickers, in both sports, is to kick the ball between the posts.
Accuracy and distance are the two attributes needed for a kicker to be successful. Given how much success the leading kickers are having at the Rugby League World Cup, it would be no surprise to see NFL franchises scout these players and make them an offer to switch sports in the future.
The Rugby League World Cup final is set to take place on November 19 at Old Trafford, Manchester.