Monday, August 31, 2009

Which Sport Has Bigger Hits, Rugby or Football?

Most of us who have watched or played both Rugby and Football know that the tackles are often hard and dangerous. We also regularly try to compare the hits. Is it worse to be hit hard in a rugby tackle or in football?

On the football field the force of the hits look more spectacular. Players can be tackled in numerous ways, even with the head. The aim of the tackle is to stop forward progression and bring the player down to stop the play. In a great tackle the player is also trying to make the receiver or ball handler fumble. In getting hit there is the added concern for the wide receivers who have to watch the ball and often jump for the catch. They can get hit while still in the air and without expecting it. Of course the athletes are also wearing padding and helmets and therefore have some form of protection.

In rugby the tackle is meant to stop forward progress of the ball handler and to simultaneously bring him to the ground so that he can not pass the rugby ball out quickly. Tackles in rugby often need to be lower (around the knees or waist) to ensure the player goes down. The tackle also does not stop play and players need to be ready to get up and tackle again almost immediately. Of course in rugby there are no helmets or pads, so there is little protections for a big hit.

OK so which tackle is harder on the player? We could measure the speed of the players as they run into each other and weight that against the benefits of the padding. In the end both sports have big hits and there are too many differences in the rules of the game and the equipment to truly compare them. So take a look at these two videos, the first of big hits in rugby and the second of some big hits in football and make up your own mind.

Hope you enjoyed watching those big hits. The Tri-Nations Rugby Tournament between South Africa, Australia and New Zealand is nearing an end as South Africa continue to dominate World Rugby. Meanwhile the NFL preseason is in full swing and starts proper in mid September. So enjoy the big hits from the upcoming Tri-Nations games and NFL season.

Let us know which sport you think has the bigger hits and why.

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