It is a well-established fact, known by all rugby players and supporters, that rugby is a better sport than football.
Despite this common knowledge, however, there are some who dispute this, and are not prepared to accept “it just is” as a suitable reason when they take issue with you.
So, for those occasions when you are arguing with a round-ball afficionado who refuses to see sense, read some of the best reasons why rugby is a far better sport than football.
1. Dramatic comebacks are more likely
If a football team is three or more goals down, it is highly unlikely that they will recover from such a deficit.
In rugby, however, comebacks from such a position are commonplace. In fact, in the last couple of seasons, Harlequins and others have almost made them routine!
A team trailing by 20 points knows that it only takes one moment of inspiration or a slice of luck to completely turn the game.
The bonus point law also adds an extra dimension, meaning that the percentage of games that are fully decided after an hour is low.
2. There is little simulation
Play-acting is rife in football. Even the most ham amateur dramatic performer would blush at some of the antics that go on.
Players seem to be constantly feigning injury and falling over after the most innocuous challenges to win a penalty, free-kick, or to unforgivably get an opponent sent off.
We are not saying it never happens in rugby. But incidences are rare to the extent that they become noteworthy rather than being part-and-parcel of the game.
To paraphrase a well-known saying: football players spend the match pretending they are injured, while rugby players spend the match pretending they are not.
3. The sin bin
A yellow card in football tends to have all the impact of a mild slap on the wrist to the offending player.
In rugby, however, a yellow card and subsequent 10-minute period of playing a man down can change the course of a match. It has become such a key facet of the game that there are statistics measuring the effectiveness of teams playing with, and against, 14 men during the binning.
Yes, defending teams do slow play down in yellow-card time, and often it verges on the cynical, but 10 minutes is long enough to make a difference.
It adds an extra dimension to the game that football would do well to replicate.
4. There is no “Fergie” time
This difference only applies at the top level and televised games.
The presence of a clock both on-screen and in the stadium showing exactly how long has been played creates a far more rewarding spectacle.
The fact that the referee can stop and start the clock at will, also avoids “Fergie time”, named after the former Manchester United manager who seemed to have the ability to extend the length of the match until his side had scored a winning goal.
Then there is the drama of the “final play” after the clock has reached zero. This can create extraordinary levels of tension, as an attacking team goes through countless phases that are not replicated in any other sport.
5. Crowds are not segregated
At all levels of rugby, from park pitches to internationals, supporters of both sides mix happily together.
Not only during the match itself but in the pubs and bars before and after the game, friendships are made and nurtured over many years.
You will not find an “away end” or fan segregation in rugby and, if it ever were to happen, the sport would be all the poorer.
In contrast, football fans are segregated in the ground, all the way down to the semi-professional level of the game. It is segregation enforced by fences, separate entrances and, in top games, a massive police presence.
6. The shorter version is a proper sport
Sevens rugby is a proper sport, played on a full-size pitch.
Domestic tournaments are commonplace at the end of each season and there is an international structure that draws huge crowds around the world, with the Hong Kong sevens one of the biggest events in the Asian sports calendar.
In contrast, while shorter versions of football are popular, there is no genuinely popular organised national, or international, structure of any iteration beyond eleven-a-side.
7. Respect for referees
Rugby referees are commonly called “sir” by players and spectators alike. In contrast, football referees are referred to in language you would not want your kids to hear.
Any rugby player abusing a referee is punished by their team losing possession and being marched back 10 yards. A further word out of place and they go back another 10 yards.
In rugby, there is an ongoing dialogue between captain and referee, both aiming to treat each other with respect. The football equivalent tends to involve players haranguing referees and often surrounding them, with the keeper sometimes running the length of the pitch to join in.
Organised football is struggling to recruit referees at every level of the game because of the abuse they take from players and spectators alike.
8. Respect between players
Respect for opponents is ingrained in the rugby psyche. Even after spending 80 minutes knocking lumps out of each other, players will exchange handshakes and respectful hugs in recognition of an experience of confrontation shared.
After every game, players are traditionally clapped off by the opposing team. Sometimes it can appear perfunctory, but often there is genuine warmth between the players and teams.
At club level, unless they face a long coach journey home, players will drink in the bar afterwards, often with supporters from both sides.
Some of the best rugby stories emanate from activities at post-match dinners, whereas the most notable football story about post-match food involved a player from one team throwing a pizza at the manager of another.
For fans and players alike, a rugby match is a shared experience, and the sport is all the healthier because of it.
Get in touch
Whether you would like to talk through your financial plans, or you just want to add your own reasons to the eight you have read here, please do get in touch with us today at DBL Asset Management.
Email email@example.com or call 01625 529 499 for more information.