When someone mentions physical sports, the most physical that come to mind are football and rugby. Each sport would be called physical because there are big hits and both require physical and mental toughness. Though football and rugby are similar, they are different along the lines of equipment use, rules and players.
Equipment use amongst football and rugby players are different. Football players use a helmet, hip pads, thigh pads, a tail pad, shoulder pads, and knee pads to protect players who have a size disadvantage. Also the use of pads and helmet enables a football player to take big hits and not be as damaged if they didn’t have a helmet at all. Rugby, however, uses no pads at all when hit there is nothing to absorb the shock making it harder to recover.
The rules in football and rugby are more different than similar. In football after being tackled the offence has 45 seconds to pick a play, hike the ball, and attempt to score a touchdown. In football’s point system a touchdown is worth six points, a field goal is worth three points, a safety is worth two points, which tackling the offence behind the defense’s goal line, or two point conversion and one point for an extra point otherwise known as P.A.T., point after touchdown. After being tackled a rugby player has several options: running with the ball until downed or until there is another chance to pass the ball, kicking the ball down field, or immediately passing the ball to teammates. If the scrum half chooses to pass the ball, the teammates attempt to advance the ball forward and across the opponents’ goal line. In rugby when some team scores it is called a try, which is worth five points. After scoring a try, a team is entitled to attempt a conversion similar to that in American football. In rugby the conversion kick is taken from anywhere on a line perpendicular to the goal line at the point that the ball was touched down. If the kicked ball passes over the crossbar and between the uprights, the team is awarded two additional points for the conversion.
The players in football and rugby are also different. In football the players a lot more size variation because players are designed to do specific jobs such block throw catch and run. There are no players that do all three. On the other hand, rugby players have no specific design because all the players rugby must adjust to the position they are put in at anytime. All rugby must be able to catch kick and run. So since rugby lack specific design, as far as body type is concerned there is little size variation.
When confronted with the question, “Which sport is more physical football or rugby?”, it would be hard to give a good answer. Though in rugby players use a helmet or pads one must put into account the fact that football players are either bigger stronger and/or faster than most rugby players. So basically what it all boils down to is a matter of opinion or experience. Only a person who has played both sports at high levels of competition can give an accurate answer.