Rugby league, often called simply league, is a full-contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular field measuring 68 metres (75 yards) wide and 112–122 metres (122 to 133 yards) long. One of the two codes of rugby football, it originated in Northern England in 1895 as a split from the Rugby Football Union over the issue of payments to the players. Its rules progressively changed with the aim of producing a faster, more entertaining game for spectators.
In rugby league, points are scored by carrying the ball and touching it to the ground beyond the opposing team’s goal line; this is called a try, and is the primary method of scoring. The opposing team attempts to stop the attacking side scoring points by tackling the player carrying the ball. In addition to tries, points can be scored by kicking goals. Field goals can be attempted at any time, and following a successful try, the scoring team gains a free kick to try at goal with a conversion for further points. Kicks at goal may also be awarded for penalties.
The Super League and the National Rugby League (NRL) are the premier club competitions. Rugby league is played internationally, predominantly by European, Australasian and Pacific Island countries, and is governed by the International Rugby League (IRL). Rugby league is the national sport of Papua New Guinea, and is a popular sport in countries such as England, Australia, New Zealand, France, Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, and Lebanon.
The first Rugby League World Cup was held in France in 1954; the current holders are Australia.