Rugby league football
, usually called simply rugby league
, is a full-contact
form of football
, played by two teams of 13 players on a rectangular grass field over 80 minutes. The primary aim is to carry or kick the ball towards the opponent's goal line where points can be scored by grounding the ball; this is called a try
. After scoring a try, the team is allowed the chance to try at goal
with a conversion - a kick for further points. The opposing team will attempt to stop the attacking side gaining points by preventing their progress up the field by tackling
the player carrying the ball.
Rugby league is one of the two codes of rugby football, the other being rugby union. Rugby league originated following a series of disputes within the English Rugby Football Union (RFU) culminating in a breakaway during 1895 and the formation of the Northern Rugby Football Union. When similar breakaways occurred in RFU-affiliated Rugby Unions in Australia and New Zealand, in 1907 and 1908, they formed associations known as Rugby Leagues and used the modified Northern Union rules. The Northern Union later changed its name to the Rugby Football League. Thus, the sport became known as rugby league.
Over the decades following the split, or schism, in 1895, rugby league's rules have been gradually changed, deliberately resulting in a faster and more open spectator sport.
Rugby league is most prominent in Australia, England, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, being the national sport in the latter.