List of international rugby union teams
The following is a list of international rugby union teams:
- The British and Irish Lions.
- Established in 1950, East Africa conducted seven tours between 1954 and 1982 and played against incoming international, representative and club touring sides including twice against the British Lions; perhaps the only example of representative (as opposed to invitational) multinational teams playing against each other. They also played against the Barbarians.
- A similar development in 2004 has been of a Pacific Islanders XV.
- The South American Jaguars were a combination team who played South Africa during the early 1980s.
- The African Leopards are a development side drawn from across Africa, they have played representational rugby union against South African students.
- The Arabian Gulf rugby union team combined various teams from Arab countries in the Persian Gulf and competed in World Cup qualification. The Arabian Gulf Rugby Union has now been dismantled and responsibility for the game devolved to each of the member nations, although the team may be revived in the future.
- There is also a West Indies side, which first toured when the Caribbean Rugby Union sent a team (managed by Gavin Clark) to tour England in 1976. Their last tour was also to England in October and November 2000.
- The Commonwealth of Independent States also played during the early 1990s.
- World XV sides have also been fielded multiple times times since 1977.
- The Barbarian Football Club is probably the most famous invitation side. It has spawned New Zealand Barbarians, South African Barbarians, and French Barbarians.
- Scorpions RFC are an East African equivalent (founded in 1959) existing and playing under a similar ethos to the Barbarians.
Other invitational sides past and present include:
- President's Overseas XV, selected for the hundredth anniversary of the RFU
- Overseas Unions rugby union team
- Rest of the World XV
- Four Home Unions XV
- Rest of Europe XV
- In the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami a Northern hemisphere side took on a Southern hemisphere side in the IRB Rugby Aid Match:
National teams – tier classification
The sport's international governing body, World Rugby (formerly the International Rugby Board), organises its member unions into three tiers. The only tier 3 nations to compete at the Rugby World Cup are Zimbabwe and Ivory Coast.
|Nation||Rank range |
|New Zealand||1–3||Rugby Championship|
|South Africa||1–7||Rugby Championship|
- Pacific countries participate in the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup. European countries participate in the Rugby Europe International Championships.
| Ivory Coast (played in 1995 World Cup)|
Zimbabwe (played in 1987 & 1991 World Cup)
| Hong Kong|
National teams – band classification
Starting in 2008, in addition to the existing tier system, the IRB introduced a four-band system of classification in which unions and, by extension, teams are classified based on "their development status and record on the international stage". The new structure is:
All countries previously in Tiers 1 and 2.
These are countries earmarked for increased developmental funding and include
Again, the IRB did not release a list of unions in this category, but named several as being in this band:
- Central African Republic
- DR Congo
- Sierra Leone
Asia Rugby teams not affiliated to World Rugby
Rugby Europe teams not affiliated to World Rugby
Rugby Americas North teams not affiliated to World Rugby
Oceania Rugby teams not affiliated to World Rugby
Sudamerica Rugby teams not affiliated to World Rugby
Teams with affiliation suspended or without affiliation
Defunct national sides
Various national sides have ceased to exist for political reasons. In the case of the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, there is more than one successor team. In the case of Catalonia, the Spanish Civil War and Franco's crackdown put an end to it, and in the case of East and West Germany, reunification led to their amalgamation into a single German side.
- Arabian Gulf* – dissolved by the end of 2010 and replaced by separate unions and national teams
- East Africa* – a combination of Kenya, Tanzania/Tanganyika and Uganda. It has not played since 1982 but the Rugby Football Union of East Africa (RFUEA) still exists and there have been recent talks to resurrect the team
- East Germany
- Rhodesia - superseded by the Zimbabwe rugby team since 1980, the year of the country's sovereignty.
- Soviet Union
* For more information on these teams see above.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Cayman Islands
- Czech Republic
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- South Africa
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United States
Defunct women's national sides
Notes and references
- "IRB Strategic Plan" (PDF). International Rugby Board. 2014. Archived from the original (PDF 0.3 MB) on 13 November 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
- Rugby Americas North Member
- Sudamérica Rugby Member
- "IRB announces increased funding for the game" (Press release). International Rugby Board. 25 January 2008. Archived from the original on 13 November 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2008.