Rugby players vs American football players - who's tougher?

Has this ever been done in like mythbusters or something? Brainiacs? If not, if you could match up teams of each in various strength and endurance tests, which team is more likely to come out stronger?

Football players are better at football than rugby players are, and rugby players are better at rugby than football players are. If your test conditions are more similar to football, then the football players will win, and if they’re more similar to rugby, then the rugby players will win.

Let’s move this over to The Game Room.

General Questions Moderator

I think sport science did something of the sort. It’s pretty obvious to me that rugby players would win endurance events and that football players of similar sizes would win strength events.

From stories I’ve seen previously, ballet dancers would beat both of them. And do so in tights & dance slippers.

One of the big differences between NFL level football players and top notch rugby players are the football players are much more specialized. The biggest and strongest of the football players are incredibly quick for their size. Strike that. They are incredibly quick period. But they don’t have to be fast over long distances. They have to be able to react quickly and move fast over a short distance. Completely different skill set than rugby players. Rugby is like having a whole team of running backs and full backs with maybe a few tight ends. As for toughness it’s a tie. A lot more arm tackles in rugby but no pads.

Even if ballet is exactly as physically demanding as either sport, they draw from a population that’s orders of magnitude less. There’s zero chance that that is true.

Don’t know who’s stronger, faster, hits harder, better endurance etc - I know who’s tougher though :slight_smile:

Rugby’s just got so many more nasty, intimate ways of hurting people - Punch ups, scrotum-tugging, anus bothering, stamping, eye gouging, all part and parcel of the contemporary rugby-players armoury. American football just can’t compete when it comes to being a filthy violent bastard.

And that’s at the top level, where players might be expected to show a bit of restraint in front of the TV cameras. At the lower levels, which don’t really have an analog in US football, and where no one is overly concerned about being a role model, then it’s worse.
Tough mindset in the amateur game AFAICT - punch-ups common amongst the forwards and a lot of retarded pride taken in not making a fuss about it, like it’s par for the course.

Which rugby? Unqualified, the term normally means union, but league is considered closer to American football.

These discussions usually devolve to: “our guys get hit harder” vs. “lololol we don’t wear padding.”

For certain field positions, American football selects for larger players (e.g. if you’re smaller, you either play another sport or be a kicker or something), so I’d expect them to be “tougher,” but only because you did not control for a major confound.

Ok, I give up. What the hell is anus bothering?

This specimen would be the best known example:

[rather poor video, but will give you the idea]

John Hopoate - he was banned for unsportsmanlike interference :smiley:

That’s rugby league - this sort of behaviour is actually more prevalent in union where the ball is contested in rucks, mauls and scrums. Guys lying on top of one another, cheek by jowl, looking for something soft to dig their fingers into.

Never eaten Taco Bell, huh?

Having played both, I’ll go with “both”.

I will say that as someone who came from (American) football to (Union) rugby, the first few times I went to tackle someone without wearing pads it was a bit frightening.

Later, as my skills improved, I would be so focused on keeping my eyes on the ball and trying to tackle from the right direction to give the advantage to my side that the actual contact itself wasn’t even considered.

Yeah I want to know too now. That’s two of us already, we all want to know. Tell us.

See Post #11

If you want to pick the “toughest” athletes… I’d nominate jockeys.

Seriously, jockeys are guys who KNOW that they’re going to take scary falls and break bones on a regular basis. Ask Gary Stevens or Laffit Pincay, “How many times have you broken bones,” and he’ll probably shrug, “I dunno, thirty? Thirty five?”

Not to mention all the bulimia.

Well, wrestlers and (some) boxers go through that, too.

I’m just saying, ask JJ Watt how many broken bones he’s had, and he’ll know the exact number (“Uh, I broke my ankle in high school, and I broke my right thumb in college…”). A typical jockey breaks bones so often, he completely loses track of how many breaks he’s had (“Oh, I guess twenty or thirty-something?”).

In the UK particularly the National Hunt jockeys are renowned for being tough little bastards.

It’s like I’ve long said, jockeys are the only people I know of that have an ambulance following them around while they work.