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The sport of rugby is divided into two main codes - league and union - but no matter which you prefer the game is one that's full of impact, excitement and entertainments. Moreover, regardless of your code-allegiances, rugby is widely available in the live streaming arena as an enjoyable alternative to other popular sports such as football, horse racing and tennis.
In fact if you're a rugby fan and haven't yet sampled the range of options in the live streaming world then now is the time because it's a market that's on the up. Thanks to global spectacles such as the Rugby Union World Cup, Rugby Sevens and the Six Nations, the sport is now watched by millions of viewers both on TV and through dedicated online rugby streams.
Rugby League vs. Rugby Union
Before you watch any rugby match it's important to have an idea of the how the game flows and what the rules are. Although the main aim (scoring a try by crossing the opposing teams back line) is the goal in both rugby league and union, the ways in which this happens can differ.
Because of this it's important to run through some of the main tenets of each discipline and outline some of the differences between each.
Rugby League Basics: Although rugby was a single sport, a split in 1895 left league searching for a new identity and that resulted in a number of rule changes in subsequent years. One of the first major changes was the reduction of players down from 15 to 13. One of the main reasons for this reduction was to make the gamer a faster proposition than union.
In line with this, league rules also state that players must drop after a single tackle and instead of using rucks and mauls, a play-the-ball restart is used. By removing rucks and mauls the games are able to flow at a more rapid rate and an attacking style of play is rewarded. In terms of scoring, a single try is worth four points in league and a conversion is worth two points. Additionally, penalty goals are worth two points and drop goals are worth one point in union.
Rugby Union Basics: In contrast to rugby league, union has 15 players per side and is often described as a more complex game. Scrums are used when a player is brought down the players are allowed to pile in and retrieve the ball.
If this fails then a scrum is used to break the deadlock. Additionally, instead of scrums when the ball goes out of bounds (as used in league), rugby union uses line outs to restart a game. When it comes to scoring a try is worth five points, a drop goal three and a conversion is worth two points in the code of union. Finally, three points are awarded for a penalty goal.
Despite the differences between each game, there are also some similarities between the two and they include:
• Time: Both rugby league and union matches last for 80 minutes.
• Goals: Points are either scored in open play (crossing the try line) or through kicks between the two goal posts.
• Movement: Passes must be backwards in both games.
• Tackles: Only the player with the ball in possession may be tackled.
The Leading Rugby Events around the World
Now that you've got an idea of how rugby is played in its various forms, the next thing to do is take a look at some of the major events on the sporting calendar. Part of the fun of live rugby streams is that you don't have to leave you computer to catch the action; however, if you're going to go live you need to plan your activities by focusing on the best annual events.
Rugby Union's Biggest Tournaments:
The Six Nations: Founded in 1883 and originally known as the Home Nations tournament (England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland), this competition has since grown to include France and Italy and is today referred to as the Six Nations.
The Rugby Championship: Active since 1996, this event is an equivalent to the Six Nations and was originally known as the Tri Nations (Australia, New Zealand and South Africa). However, since 2012 the event included Argentina and was known as the Rugby Championship.
European Nations Cup: Contested by 36 European teams, this event is for all those countries that aren't permitted to take part in the Six Nations. Running since 2000, this annual event is played over two years in a league format with teams competing against each other twice.
The Rugby Union World Cup: The largest of all the rugby tournaments in either discipline, the Rugby Union World Cup was first played in 1987 and was designed to find the best country in the world on a quadrennial basis. To qualify for the event teams must either finish in the top 12 of the previous World Cup or be one of eight sides chosen from regional qualifiers.
Major Rugby League Tournaments:
European Cup: Formerly known as the European Championship and founded in 1935, this competition pits England, Wales, France, Scotland and sometimes wild card countries against each other on a biennial basis. Based on a league format, each team plays each other once and the side with most points is declared the winner.
Four Nations: An event run in cooperation between the Rugby League authorities in England, Australia and New Zealand, this competition rotates around the world with participating teams having to compete for the local titles in a variety of countries. Regular teams in this contest include Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Wales and England.
Pacific Cup: Designed as a championship event for teams in the Pacific region, the Pacific Cup was founded in 1975 by Keith Gittoes before being revived by Peter Donnelly. The event has since been postponed and revived a number of times but traditionally welcomes the Cook Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga.
Rugby League World Cup: Originally a showdown between Australia, Britain, New Zealand and France and was the first World Cup in either discipline. Over the years the Rugby League World Cup has expanded to include ten teams and, following a period where a league system was used, the event now uses the host nation/knockout format.
Getting Ahead in the Live Rugby Betting Markets
As you can see, rugby has a long and sometimes complicated past; however, there's no doubting its credentials as an entertaining sport. In fact, because of the different codes, regions and competitions it's possible to watch a wealth of entertainment on a weekly basis regardless of where you live.
Of course, alongside the ability to watch games it's also possible to ante-up and place some bets. However, if you're going to bet on rugby you should work to hone the following skills:
Be a Generalist: If you were betting on a match between Harlequins and London Irish, for example, you need to consider a range of factors, including: previous match-ups, home advantage, how each team has fared in the last few games and any relevant team news. Taking into account all these factors will give you much more insight into the likely result of the game and increase your chances of success.
Size Your Bets: Once you've established who you are going to bet on it's important to consider how much you are going to wager. As with all situations where you are betting money it's important to never risk more than you can afford to lose. As a general rule you should never risk more than 2% of your bankroll on a single bet.
Find Some Value: The final skill you need to master if you want to become a profitable rugby bettor is spotting value. In-play betting gives you the ability to risk money during a match and you can often find a lot of value if you're able to act quickly.
For example, a bookie may put up odds of 3:1 for a losing team to come back and win a match. If you know that this particular team tends to play a more attacking style when they are losing, then this bet would become an extremely inviting proposition.
Watch Live Rugby at PlayLiveStream
Naturally, live streaming is a natural complement to the sports betting world given its ability to offer instant access to the latest action via your desktop or mobile. Indeed, if you're thinking about utilising the above information to ante-up then it's worth checking out the plethora of options available on PlayLiveStream.
Around the site you'll find a slew of HD live streams to all the latest domestic and international rugby action. From the Super League to the Six Nations, everything and anything your heart desires can be found on PlayLiveStream. In fact, it doesn't matter if you're in the UK and want to watch the latest Aussie showdown, or you're a Canadian looking for an all-Irish contest, PlayLiveStream puts the world of rugby (league and union) at your fingertips 24 hours a day, seven days a week.