The basics of the game are the same in both rugby league and union. They both use the “egg-shaped” ball and the object of the game is to score a ‘try’ by getting the ball over the other team’s ‘try line’ which is near the end of the pitch. Players pass the ball backwards to their teammates (a forward pass is not allowed), the game is divided into two halves of forty minutes each, and they are both now played at international level.
But there are differences to, the most obvious one is the number of players, there are fifteen players in rugby union and only thirteen players is rugby league.
The size of the pitches are different, although the distance between try lines is the same at 100 metres.
Rugby league has a system of limited tackles which rugby union does not.
A try is worth five points in rugby union and only four points in rugby league.
Conversions and penalty goals are achieved in the same way by kicking the ball over the H shaped post, and although conversions are worth the same amount of two points in each game, a penalty goal is worth three points in rugby union and two points in rugby league.
So they might both be called rugby but they are certainly played in a different way!