I’ve just started watching rugby. Fun game.I wonder how an American football running back would fare. They almost track star fast, can turn on a dime, and are hard to bring down
Balancing factors-no helmet or pads.
Also remember they would need to play defense as well, and be able to play 40 minutes straight per half, no time-outs and limited replacement.
He’d puke after about 5 minutes, different kind of fitness required, Probably also get sent off the first time he tries to tackle.
Depends at what level. Take a team of running backs, apprise them of the rules and give them a few weeks’ training and they’d no doubt walk all over anything playing on Clapham Common on a Sunday morning.
Put them in front of the All Blacks though…
The athletes who become receivers, running backs, linebackers, safeties, cornerbacks, and returners could find a position on a rugby team. Most quarterbacks, specialty kickers and lineman, not so much. But even elite athletes just can’t take up another sport and excel at high levels.
You can certainly start with running backs, wide receivers, tight ends (and other positions mentioned by Blank Slate.)
Basketball players and sprinters could find a place.
Yes, it takes time to learn rugby skills, but having natural speed, strength and reflexes is a great way to start.
15-a-side rugby does require stamina, which is not so important in American Football.
But the US 7-a-side rugby team has a couple of converted 100 metre sprinters.
Rubgy league has some similarities - a gifted NFL running back who had their heart set on playing for St Helens [surely there’s one out there?] could probably do it.
Would actually be an easier transition to a European rugby union team, but only because the backs don’t actually do anything in that form of the game. They’re like an elite group of fans, with front row seats to the forward wrestling and scrotum-bothering contest that makes up most of the game.
Nate Ebner, safety and special teamer for the New England Patriots, is on the US national Rugby 7s team.
I don’t see any fundamental reason why any professional NFL player couldn’t make the transition.
Whether that’s at club, provincial or international level would depend on the individual in the same way as anyone born to the game
To get the necessary stamina they’d need to lose bulk, and there’s a whole range of rules and technical skills in ball handling involved to learn.
IMHO that is more significant that the apparel.
Rugby wingers, centres or breakaways would be more likely positions to succeed at.
Physically a NFL centre, guard or tackle could make it as a front rower but there is an advantage for props to be short plus there is a whole lot of technical skills and black arts involved with front row play that make it usually regarded as positions learnt long term in the role.
As noted above, were they to get on the wrong side of a maul vs the All Blacks or any NZ provincial team there might be some regret about the lack of a “roughing the passer” call in rugby.
If I was going to use NFL players for rugby, I think I would start with corners and safeties. Though, you still need some big guys for the scrums.
But they wouldn’t know how to read the play, especially in defence, and would perhaps lack passing and offloading skills. By the time they learned that, they’d just be “rugby” players.
Not to mention they don’t have the rest of their team interfering with potential tacklers.
Is Rugby Union the more prestigious sport?
I’ve been watching Georgia run roughshod over their European competitors. How would they do vs the All Blacks? Would they be competitive at all?
Situational awareness is a much bigger factor in rugby than north American football. Same with lateral passing. Same with having to be able to both run with the ball and pass the ball. These skills take time to develop, so I expect that most good north American football fullbacks would have a hard time of it moving over to a rugby team of similar quality and experience.
(I played full back and defensive end in high school, and played wing, 8th man and flanker for seventeen years .)
International Rugby union has a far higher profile than international rugby league, so is more prestigious from that POV. Things like the RU world cup, or the annual 6 nations tournament we have in Europe, are big events that go way beyond the immediate rugby fanbase and interest casual fans. These match-ups have a long history and are an intrinsic part of the sporting calender here.
Rugby league is far more popular in Australia than union, and also enjoys a healthy domestic following in England, but not enough countries play it seriously to support a competitive international game - even the union WC is stretched thin but the league one just has no depth of competition at all. Only Aus, NZ, and England can field serious teams and it’s a major upset if Aus don’t win it as they are easily the dominant operation.
The international game is just one perspective, of course - fans relate to the game in different ways.
Yes union is more well known (the default rugby in most countries), but it was more prestigious at the beginning. They’re different sports because union was played by rich southern England guys in their spare time, and league was by working class northerners who eventually started getting paid because they couldn’t afford to take time off. Gradually the rules diverged.
Georgia is considered as currently the best of the second tier rugby union nation.
In the RWC they have beaten Namibia in 2007, Romania in 2011 and Tonga and Namibia in 2015.
In 2016 in their Pacific Island tour they beat Tonga and Fiji and drew with Samoa.
They are a mainly France based forward dominated side and tier 1 nations would consider them solid opposition but expect to win.
No other tier 1 nation is competitive vs the All Blacks
…Georgia vs the All Blacks. They didn’t do too badly. But the All Blacks really are at another level.
One of the few times the man of the match has been chosen from the losing side, and certainly the only time I’ve seen the man of the match announcement featured on the highlights.