18.1 C
Byron Shire
October 27, 2021

Rugby isn’t just rugby

Latest News

Other News

10 point grumble

Hear hear to David Heilpern’s recent 10 point grumble, particularly points 7, 8 and 9. If the primary objective...

COVID’s genetic solution?

A lucky few are unusually resistant to COVID-19. Scientists are trying to find a reason in their genes.

NRCG Volunteer Expressions of Interest

Northern Rivers Community Gallery (NRCG) is calling for expressions of interest for volunteers to support the gallery through assisting with front-of-house operations, customer service and sales.

Rancho Relaxo

Although Jane Boniface says that everything she does is ‘a mistake’, she seems to have the knack of turning...

NSW – bad to worse

While Gladys has left the building and we have a new religious fanatic in the top job, things are...

I’m back!

Over the past few weeks I’ve stayed out of the limelight in order to rest for the election campaign,...

Nathan on the left, in his Byron Union jersey, has been playing both union and league for years, as has Nathan on the right in his Red Devils league kit. Nathan has represented both the Mullum Shiners and the Byron teams in union and the Byron Bay Red Devils in the league.

Eve Jeffery

When I moved up from Victoria almost 20 years ago I went to the pub to watch ‘the rugby’.

I know, I know, I got it wrong.

My 20/20 hindsight tells me that not only was it the league, it was a State of Origin –  but back then, my southern AFL-infused sensibility registered just a ‘rugby’ game with men who had legs more like tree trunks than the lanky fellows I was used to.

Fortunately when I took over as sports editor at The Echo about six years ago, sales rep and mad Manly man Pete Couldwell, aka Video Pete was on hand to set me straight.

Betwixt Pete and our awesome league commentator John Campbell, I have been given a fairly decent education in the rules of how to get it right.

Though the codes of rugby split over 100 years ago, it was still a source of animosity until recent times when humans realised that now they get two sports to enjoy.

I spoke to a league-unionist over the weekend.

Nathan-Union-9W6A7319Nathan-League-9W6A7297Nathan Nicholls has been playing football for many years. ‘I have played league all my life’, says Nathan. ‘But union I have only played for eight years. Personally, I do enjoy league more.’

Nathan says that in union he plays as a fly half, scram half or wing and in league he plays as hooker or centre.

People’s attitudes have changed and Nathan now slips seamlessly between codes and says players at all of his clubs have no qualms with his switching from one to the other. Fortunately, the local comps usually see union on a Saturday and league on a Sunday which in the past meant  he could play both.

Nathan says he sees the main difference as the tackling and the 10-metre rule. ‘With league, once you make a tackle, if there are more than three people, one has to go back the ten metres to be back on side’, he says. ‘You also only get six tackles.’

‘With union you can tackle the ball player and you don’t have to come back the ten meters and you can get as many tackles as you want.’

Nathan has in the past played both codes over the space of one season but this winter will stick to league, his prefered code. ‘I reckon union is harder. But league is more fun.’

Getting rugby terminology right is important if you don’t want to upset the humans.

Newbies (mostly Victorians like moi) still have trouble getting it right and to be honest it did take me a while, so last week I asked Video Pete to put pen to paper to write it in English as if we were all 9-years-olds. And he has.


Pete Couldwell

There appears to be some confusion around football terminology, particularly in relation to the codes of rugby league and rugby union.

Granted, these two codes as well as Australian Rules and soccer are all ‘football’, but some sports fans and new arrivals from the southern states are confused as to the differences inherent in the naming of the two rugby codes.

If the word rugby is used on its own, this ALWAYS refers to rugby union. If the word union is used on its own it means the same – rugby union.

Rugby league is rugby league or sometimes just plain league: end of story. Rugby league is NEVER called rugby without the totally definitive addition of ‘league’. Simple as that.

Okay, rugby league is also the ‘footie as is rugby union’. So too is Aussie Rules.

QUESTION: Do Soccer fans ever refer to their game as footieFootball yes, footie perhaps not.

Anyway the beat goes on and bring on March 7!


I hope we are all clear now. Any questions?


~  Photos and digital shenanigans Eve Jeffery.

Recent stories tagged Rugby Union:

Lennox Head Trojans maintain their winning ways

The Lennox Head Trojans have confirmed themselves as this year’s favourite for the Far North Coast Rugby Union premiership with solid wins over their major rivals over the last two weeks.


Junior rep rugby Country Championships

Far north coast rugby union teams had a tough first day before winning their final games at the NSW Country Junior Boys Championships played at Nelson Bay earlier this month.


Stage set for local league finals – Ballina Sea Eagles...

The Ballina Sea Eagles have emerged from the COVID-ravaged 2020 Northern Rivers Rural Rugby League local competition as the team to beat, with the grandfinal looming on October 18.


Lennox Head Trojans win rugby final

Ross Kendall  Far North Coast Rugby came to an end for 2020 on the weekend, with Lennox Head claiming the first-grade premiership with a dominating finals run that included a commanding 32-0 grand final victory over last year’s champions, Alstonville...


Byron Rams reach grand final

Ross Kendall The Byron Bay Services Club Rams are into their fourth FFNC Premier League grand final, after defeating Alstonville FC 3-2 in the semi-final. It was a knockout final, where the second-placed Rams took on third-placed Alstonville. With Alstonville winning the...


Rugby’s final four decided

Lennox Head has finished the regular season of the Far North Coast rugby union competition with a hard fought 35–18 win playing away against Bangalow last Saturday.


Byron Bay rugby 7s sizzle in the rain

Despite inclement weather the 28th Byron Bay rugby 7s tournament was a spirited display of quality and fast-paced action for spectators. More than 50 teams competed in men’s and women’s, as well as the social and serious competitions over the...


Lennox Trojan’s celebrate diversity

The Lennox Head Trojans rugby club are using their last home game to highlight the changing face of rugby in the Lennox area as they have their first welcome to country and smoke ceremony before the game.




Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Blue skies for Blueberry Fields

Blueberry Fields is very much a family business with father-and-son team Otto and Jasch Saeck working alongside each other on their 160-acre farm at...

Cacao wow

After ten years of wholesale trading from their small factory, Byron Bay Cacao’s stunning new retail space is now open to the public. The...

Rancho Relaxo

Although Jane Boniface says that everything she does is ‘a mistake’, she seems to have the knack of turning things to her advantage. When...

New plan to minimise flood hazard in Lismore

Lismore City Council has commenced the preparation of a new Flood Risk Management Plan that will identify the measures designed to minimise the community’s exposure to flood hazard.