top of page
  • John Coumbe-Lilley

Understanding Rugby League (Part 1)

Updated: May 2, 2022

Learn More About Rugby League With Expert John Coumbe-Lilley


I am often asked what makes rugby league a special team sport. I answer this question starting with an outline of the physical demands of the rugby league. Every rugby league player is like an open side flanker in rugby union but with even more production output, work rate, open field skills, and decision-making requirements. A competitive rugby player needs sufficient strength, speed, power, endurance, range of motion, balance, and coordination matched with an appetite for work output productivity, physical and emotional confrontation that is regulated toward achieving effective defense, and attractive and decisive attacking play.


A rugby league player has to give and receive contact, to wrestle, grapple, and run further than rugby union players and some outfield Premier League soccer players. They have to execute passing, kicking, movement skills, and good decisions in a team context on the back of this. League players are physically robust and have emotional strength, which adds to their conditioning, making them far different from other team sports. Their physical capability produces an intense work rate with high productivity supported by an emotional commitment that helps them execute their skills. These characteristics make rugby league great to play and a spectacle to watch because it is tough, skilled, and exciting. Rugby league players show in every tackle, attack, and defensive play their athleticism.


Raptors Rugby League believes athletes in the USA can play this unique sport because they have the attributes to flourish.


Rugby league players accelerate and decelerate in a dance of confrontation and avoidance, run in perfectly timed support of each other, make contact in harmony, and produce a display of physical literacy that should be highlighted in every physical education course in the USA. Watch a decent level of rugby league, and indeed the athleticism of the women and men playing the game and the wheelchair players wheeling their way toward the goal line shows a bit of humanity you don’t see often. For the physicality of the game and it provides a foundation for the game, it’s hard to beat rugby league.


Raptors Rugby League believes athletes in the USA can play this unique sport because they have the attributes to flourish. Raptors Rugby League is a way athletes can develop and display their talent and ability. Through our camps and competitive opportunities, we aim to ensure players can demonstrate the range of their physical attributes and qualities as they strive for high productivity, work rate, and positive, attractive play.


Want to learn more? Contact me at jcl@ilrl.org

7 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
Raptors Rugby League_Final.png
bottom of page