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Rugby league football, usually called rugby league, is a full contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular field. One of the two codes of rugby football, it originated in England in 1895 as a split from the Rugby Football Union over the issue of payments to players. Its rules gradually 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. After each 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, and field goals can be attempted at any time.
Rugby league is a popular sport in Northern England, the states of Queensland and New South Wales in Australia, New Zealand, southwest France, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, the Cook Islands and Papua New Guinea, where it is the national sport. The European Super League and Australasian 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 Rugby League International Federation. The first Rugby League World Cup was held in France in 1954; the current holders are Australia.
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