Could rugby league be rugby union’s saviour?

SalahMyUlah Roar Rookie

By SalahMyUlah, SalahMyUlah is a Roar Rookie

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    For some time there has been a divide between rugby league and rugby union but is it time to put arguments aside?

    Is there a way to really compare the codes?

    To make this a bit more simple, let’s just focus on the backline rather then the complete different skill set a forward would have to develop. Even though of course a backline player’s skill set still has to change, it is fair to say it as not as drastic as a forward’s role.

    The most obvious example is of course Israel Folau whose natural ability would make him a star on almost any pitch he walks on – besides a AFL pitch of course.

    Arguably the best player on the pitch for Australia is his winger counterpart and former Storm prospect Marika Koroibete who has shocked many.

    The moment he left for the Melbourne Rebels I thought what a loss for the Storm, but wow what a star he has become in rugby.

    So what does the Storm do? They get Josh Ado Carr – an almost complete replica of the man himself – extremely quick, agile and strong.

    The NRL has a endless depth of talent and it is not the end of the world if we send a few players to the other code.

    Just look at what Koroibete has done to the Wallabies since he has transferred. Not only do you have an absolute try-scoring machine, he is possibly the best defensive player in the backline which is not what you would expect from a winger.

    Could rugby league adapt a superstar playmaker into rugby? Bernard Foley is a much debated figure among rugby fans.

    I personally think he does has a lot of skill he just does not consistently display it enough.

    Could you imagine if Cooper Cronk or the likes of him crossed the rugby border? It would be very interesting to see, but obviously that would be a long time down the road.

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    The Crowd Says (50)

    • February 18th 2018 @ 4:24am
      Adrian Denyer said | February 18th 2018 @ 4:24am | ! Report

      Thanks for article Salah.

      Without going into the details, there is no doubt in my mind, that within 20 years, in Australia, that Rugby Union will be the game NRL players play when they play Tests, and most of their other games will be Rugby League.

      Most kids will grow up playing League, but with a bit of Union now and then, so they’ll know how to play both.

      Just as Ashes Tests are the pinnacle for cricketers, despite the fact that most games they grow up playing are shorter, so too, Australian kids will grow up playing mostly League, but the pinnacle will be Bledisloe Cup and World Cup.

      Money will drive this more than anything!

      • February 18th 2018 @ 3:05pm
        jeff dustby said | February 18th 2018 @ 3:05pm | ! Report

        correct except for the beginning, middle and end

      • February 18th 2018 @ 9:07pm
        Party Pooper said | February 18th 2018 @ 9:07pm | ! Report

        It does appear we are headed that way. Maybe union could just hand over the keys to league and let them run things. Sort of like the nba running the Dream team.

        By itself with only these private school clowns union is doomed in Oz.

    • February 18th 2018 @ 5:31am
      Terry Tavita said | February 18th 2018 @ 5:31am | ! Report

      koroibete started off playing rugby union in fiji – where he was born and raised – so union is not new to him..

      • February 18th 2018 @ 9:19am
        TC said | February 18th 2018 @ 9:19am | ! Report

        Yep. Apart from Lote and Petero, I think you’ll find most league Fijians started in union. Just like a lot of the islander players in the Warriors.

    • February 18th 2018 @ 5:38am
      Terry Tavita said | February 18th 2018 @ 5:38am | ! Report

      the biggest threat i see in world rugby in the near future is the Major League Rugby venture that is ready to begin in April involving 7 teams around the is planned to expand to 10-12 teams including canada next year..if it works – which I have no doubt it will – it will start looking at young talents particularly from the southern hemisphere..and they will have more money than nz, australia and south africa..

      • February 18th 2018 @ 8:30am
        Sul said | February 18th 2018 @ 8:30am | ! Report

        Its already started with scholarships up for grabs for schoolboy players here to go on and play college rugby in the USA.

      • Roar Guru

        February 18th 2018 @ 2:03pm
        The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 18th 2018 @ 2:03pm | ! Report

        Don’t you reckon they will start looking for talent in the USA first?

        And if – big if – rugby union takes off in the USA, that would not be a threat, it would be seriously good news for the sport.

      • February 18th 2018 @ 3:05pm
        jeff dustby said | February 18th 2018 @ 3:05pm | ! Report

        i will offer you odds on that happening, Terry

      • February 18th 2018 @ 9:09pm
        Party Pooper said | February 18th 2018 @ 9:09pm | ! Report

        Here we go again, America to the rescue blah blah… They are starting a rival to NFL also.

        Forget US rugby, will never happen.

        • Roar Rookie

          February 19th 2018 @ 2:04pm
          piru said | February 19th 2018 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

          Except it already is

          • February 20th 2018 @ 3:45pm
            Hummingbird said | February 20th 2018 @ 3:45pm | ! Report

            No the RL will play a test in Colorado and the sport will then explode coz its nothing like NFL

            • Roar Rookie

              February 20th 2018 @ 3:54pm
              piru said | February 20th 2018 @ 3:54pm | ! Report

              Rugby league is lot like gridiron if you know what you are looking at

              Both have a down / tackle count system

              Both have possession of the ball as the most important factor, followed by yards.

              Both games stop and reset upon the player being taken to ground

              The main difference is the forward pass being allowed in gridiron

              • February 21st 2018 @ 9:02pm
                In Brief said | February 21st 2018 @ 9:02pm | ! Report

                Interesting – there are some similarities. I would add that apart from massive collisions you can’t easily compete for possession. However, from a holistic point of view gridiron has more in common with rugby union in that both sports have more specialised positions and both sports are more strategic in nature. A big criticism of the rugby codes by Americans is the apparent lack of organisation and strategy – probably as we feel when watching AFL. Rugby union, particularly at test level does have that element of strategy and pressure, at least more so than league.

              • February 22nd 2018 @ 11:30am
                Katipo said | February 22nd 2018 @ 11:30am | ! Report

                Both league and American football evolved from rugby, that’s where their roots are, so both games still hold resemblances to rugby.

                I think it’s fair to say that rugby has a contest for the ball and a bit more strategy than league (doesn’t make it better, just different). But I think rugby’s new breakdown laws negate this difference at the contest. The tackle laws are slowly heading towards a play the ball. I’m a bit worried about that.

                And the other comment I have is that Rugby TV coverage hasn’t found its own voice yet. Rugby’s TV coverage is still identical to league TV coverage. The TV cameras keep zooming in on the tackle, like league, and a view of the backline defences is lost, which negates the positional context of player decisions during play. IMO rugby’s TV coverage ought to be more like soccer and American football: panned out wide angle while the ball is live; zooming-in ONLY on replays.

                Oh another comment. Australian rugby has been drawn in to a ‘how long is the ball continuously in play’ argument. This is an primarily an Australian fascination because of comparisons with AFL and league. Honestly, I don’t care how long the ball is in play, what I want is ‘interesting play’. Ball in play time is very short in many successful ball sports eg golf, tennis, cricket American football. But those sports have thought through their TV coverage to manage the breaks in play (see above). Ball in play is not an important not an important measure in my opinion.

    • February 18th 2018 @ 6:39am
      David said | February 18th 2018 @ 6:39am | ! Report

      The author of your article is relatively young as has no memory of the drain on rugby union to league of Summons , Cleary, Thornett and a host of others. The reverse drain has only occurred post professional development of rugby and TV rights. Leagues development was assisted by poker machine income subsidies to football clubs.

      • February 18th 2018 @ 11:37am
        Norad said | February 18th 2018 @ 11:37am | ! Report

        There’s no shame on league for being open about what it was. Rugby union made its own choice to stay amateur and to vilify RU players who left. RU did that to itself.

        The biggest threat to RU in Australia is RU clubs in UK and France.

    • February 18th 2018 @ 7:28am
      tc said | February 18th 2018 @ 7:28am | ! Report

      I’m with you Adrian, except I believe the NRL clubs will be the backbone of a national Rugby Union competition. Without starting a code war, I personally believe the two codes will come together amically, and then Australia will become a Union powerhouse.

    • February 18th 2018 @ 8:35am
      rugby tragic said | February 18th 2018 @ 8:35am | ! Report

      World rugby is stronger than ever.

      The world is not the eastern seaboard of australia

      • February 18th 2018 @ 9:18am
        Milan said | February 18th 2018 @ 9:18am | ! Report

        Get the chip off your shoulder then ‘tragic’

      • February 18th 2018 @ 9:40am
        taylorman said | February 18th 2018 @ 9:40am | ! Report

        get ready to change to rugby magic after the blues get going…Ive a feeling…:-)

      • February 18th 2018 @ 3:07pm
        jeff dustby said | February 18th 2018 @ 3:07pm | ! Report

        thanks tragic, the world doesnt play rugby either

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