Stunning England become World Cup favourites

Passion play: Football captain Harry Kane (left) and rugby captain Owen Farrell (right). © Getty

Do you agree that these six points make rugby better than football? England may win glory on Saturday, but many are saying the real winners are the ethos and excitement of the game itself.

1. The players respect the referee. Abuse aimed at the referee in football matches is unacceptable. At its worst, players get close to the referee in a threatening manner, and fans shout with open rage. Put simply, rugby players understand the importance of the referee. They can disagree respectfully.

2. There is less hooliganism. Rugby fans are not fenced off from one other in the stadium. They can sit together without fighting. Football hooliganism ruins tournaments, with the fear of violence and racism.

3. Players don’t dive. We’ve all seen certain football players tumble to the turf after a feather-light (or non-existent) touch. On the other hand, a bruised rugby player will throw themselves into the scrum, doing everything for their team.

4. It’s an Olympic sport. In 2016, rugby made its Olympic come-back after 92 years, thanks to the sport’s soaring popularity.

5. There’s more than one way to score. In football, a goal’s a goal. One point. Done. Rugby has tries, penalties, drop goals, conversions and penalty tries. This variety makes rugby more interesting, and also means there are fewer draws.

6. There are openly gay players. There hasn’t been an openly gay football player in Scottish or English senior leagues since Justin Fashanu in the ’90s. Homophobia in rugby may exist, but Halifax’s Keegan Hirst said he was “overwhelmed” with support after coming out. And former Wales star Gareth Thomas has discussed living with HIV.

So, is rugby better than football?

Own goal?

It certainly is, say some. Rugby is a game of sportsmanship, honesty and respect. While football players are known for debauchery and materialism, rugby is played in a positive spirit with strength and honour. Bring on the final.

Not so, respond others. Rugby is elitist: higher levels of the game are still restricted to public school boys. It is also over-complicated. Who really understands the point of a scrum? Football is more accessible, and unites us across divides.

You Decide

  1. Is rugby better than football?

Activities

  1. Draw the most exciting moment from England’s win over New Zealand to commemorate the match.

Some People Say...

“The moral values I’ve learnt in my life, I’ve learnt through football.”

Arsene Wenger, former and longest-serving Arsenal manager from 1996-2018

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
England beat New Zealand 19-7 in the semi-final of the rugby World Cup in Tokyo, to progress to the final against South Africa on Saturday. New Zealand was favourite to win the tie, having won the last two World Cup tournaments.
What do we not know?
Who will win on Saturday, although England goes in as favourite after its convincing win over current world champion, New Zealand.

Word Watch

Racism
England’s recent Euro tournament qualifying match against Bulgaria was halted twice after fans were racist towards black England players. In the UK, Haringey Borough was forced to re-stage an FA cup match after racist fans saw the first match cancelled.
Scrum
A method of restarting play in rugby that involves players packing closely together with their heads down, and trying to win possession of the ball.
Draws
When both teams have the same number of points. In rugby, tries are worth five points plus a two-point conversion kick.
Debauchery
Indulgence in bad habits.
Materialism
Putting a high value on money and the things you can buy with it.

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