The South Africa team that played the second test against the British Isles in 1891
The 1895 Wales team before playing England in the Home Nations Championship
The New Zealand team that toured New South Wales in 1884
The 1899 Australia team
The England team before playing in their first international match, versus Scotland in Edinburgh, 1871
The 1906 Springboks team
Wales' 1905 team that defeated New Zealand
The Original All Blacks that toured the British Isles, France and the United States during 1905–06. The team won 34 of their 35 tour matches.
The squad that went on tour in 1908–09
Illustration by Frank Gillett showing the England versus The Original All Blacks Test attended by a then-record crowd of at least 50,000. The New Zealanders won 15–0.
The Springboks team that faced New Zealand in 1921
A scrum in the Wales victory over New Zealand's Original All Blacks in 1905
"The Invincibles" All Blacks that toured to the British Isles and France in 1924–25
Wallaby captain Solomon chaired by the Springboks 1953
Celebrations at Trafalgar Square after England's 2003 World Cup victory
The complete squad that toured New Zealand and Australia in 1937
Wales playing France during the 1922 Five Nations Championship
The All Blacks at the climax of their haka before a 1932 test against Australia
Australia playing at Vélez Sarsfield stadium, 7 November 1987
The England national squad training for the 2007 Rugby World Cup at the University of Bath
Bobby Skinstad in June 2007
Wales playing Argentina at Estadio GEBA in September 1968
Police outside Eden Park prior to a New Zealand match during the 1981 Springbok tour
A line-out during against Australia in 2006.
Aerial view of Twickenham Stadium
Percy Montgomery running the ball for the Springboks against Samoa in 2007
New Zealander Graham Henry coached Wales to their first test win over South Africa in 1999.
The All Blacks playing the Pumas during their 1985 tour of Argentina
An Australian national rugby union team jersey used in the 2000s
Twickenham before a match in November 2012
The Springboks before their 2007 World Cup match against Samoa
Michael Owen takes a line-out.
New Zealand playing England at Twickenham in 2006
Wallabies in the wild
Tom Palmer wearing the traditional white England shirt at the 2011 World Cup
The first springbok logo was introduced in 1906; this emblem has been regarded as representing apartheid's exclusion politics
2008-2019 Wales coach Warren Gatland
New Zealand playing Tonga in the 2011 Rugby World Cup
The opening match of the 2003 World Cup at Telstra Stadium.
The red rose has been the emblem of England since the first international v Scotland in 1871
Since 1992, the protea has been displayed on team jerseys (alongside the springbok) and used as the official emblem on blazers and caps
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, where Wales play their home games
The New Zealand team performing Ka Mate, led by Richie McCaw, before a match against France in November 2006
England versus New Zealand in 2006.
2002 South Africa jersey, made by Nike, with springbok emblem on the left side
The National Stadium, Cardiff Arms Park
Captain of the "Original All Blacks" that toured the United Kingdom in 1905, Dave Gallaher is an inductee into the World Rugby Hall of Fame
Percy Montgomery holds the South African record for most test points
A scrum between Wales and Australia at the 2011 Rugby World Cup
Colin Meads (here pictured in 1956), New Zealand's player of the century
Former Wales forward Colin Charvis scored 22 tries for his country, the most ever by a forward.
Jonah Lomu debuted with New Zealand at 19 years old. He is generally regarded as the first true global superstar of rugby union
Wales coach Warren Gatland was appointed in 2007, and coached Wales to Six Nations Grand Slams in 2008, 2012 and 2019, more than any other coach.
Richie McCaw is the second most capped rugby player of all time after Alun Wyn Jones, and was the first New Zealander to play 100 test matches

Its governing body, the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU), was established in 1881, the same year that Wales played their first international against England.

- Wales national rugby union team

They compete in the annual Six Nations Championship with France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.

- England national rugby union team

Australia beat England at Twickenham in the final of the 1991 Rugby World Cup and won again in 1999 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff when their opponents in the final were France.

- Australia national rugby union team

The Wallabies also compete annually in The Rugby Championship (formerly the Tri-Nations), along with their Southern Hemisphere counterparts Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa.

- Australia national rugby union team

The Springboks defeated the All Blacks 15–12 in the 1995 final, which is now remembered as one of the greatest moments in South Africa's sporting history, and a watershed moment in the post-Apartheid nation-building process.

- South Africa national rugby union team

They jointly hold the record for the most consecutive test match wins for a tier-one ranked nation, along with England.

- New Zealand national rugby union team

They first played against New Zealand in 1905, South Africa in 1906, and Australia in 1909.

- England national rugby union team

South Africa regained the title as champions 12 years later, when they defeated England 15–6 in the 2007 final.

- South Africa national rugby union team

The All Blacks compete with Argentina, Australia and South Africa in the Rugby Championship, and have won the trophy eighteen times in the competition's 25-year history.

- New Zealand national rugby union team

The Wales team experienced their first 'golden age' between 1900 and 1911; they first played New Zealand in 1905, winning 3–0 in a famous match at Cardiff Arms Park, and between March 1907 and January 1910, they won 11 consecutive matches, a record that stood for over a century.

- Wales national rugby union team

The Springboks also compete in the annual Rugby Championship (formerly the Tri-Nations), along with their Southern Hemisphere counterparts Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.

- South Africa national rugby union team

Many teams have had their biggest defeats to the Springboks: Australia, Italy, Scotland, Uruguay and Wales.

- South Africa national rugby union team

There followed a 34-game tour of Europe and North America in 1905 (which included five test matches), where New Zealand suffered only one defeat: their first test loss, against Wales.

- New Zealand national rugby union team

In 1906, Wales again won the Home Nations Championship, and later that year played South Africa for the first time.

- Wales national rugby union team

Two years later, on 12 December 1908, Wales played the touring Australians, who they defeated 9–6.

- Wales national rugby union team

David Campese scored 64 Test tries in his career, which was a world record until Daisuke Ohata of Japan overtook him with 69 tries, and Michael Lynagh was the highest Test points scorer in world rugby with 911 until Neil Jenkins of Wales overtook him with 1037 points.

- Australia national rugby union team
The South Africa team that played the second test against the British Isles in 1891

9 related topics with Alpha

Overall

The Webb Ellis Cup is awarded to the winner of the men's Rugby World Cup

Rugby World Cup

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Men's rugby union tournament contested every four years between the top international teams.

Men's rugby union tournament contested every four years between the top international teams.

The Webb Ellis Cup is awarded to the winner of the men's Rugby World Cup
A scrum between Samoa (in blue) and Wales (in red) during the 2011 World Cup
Map of nations' best results (excluding qualifying tournaments)
Gavin Hastings of Scotland is one of four players to have kicked a record eight penalties in a single World Cup match.

Four countries have won the trophy; New Zealand and South Africa three times, Australia twice, and England once.

One of the oldest is the annual Six Nations Championship, which started in 1883 as the Home Nations Championship, a tournament between England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

France playing Wales during the Six Nations Championship.

France national rugby union team

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Administered by the French Rugby Federation.

Administered by the French Rugby Federation.

France playing Wales during the Six Nations Championship.
France in their first shirt (white) before playing Great Britain in October 1900
Jersey of the French rugby team of 2007, with the traditional Gallic rooster symbol
France hosting the All Blacks at the Stade de France which is in Saint-Denis, near Paris

Rugby was introduced to France in 1872 by the British, and on New Years Day 1906, the national side played its first test match – against New Zealand in Paris.

They have reached the final three times, losing to the All Blacks in 1987 and 2011, and to Australia in 1999.

France hosted the 2007 Rugby World Cup, where, as in 2003, they were beaten in the semi-finals by England, and will once again host the tournament in 2023.

In 1913 France faced South Africa's Springboks for the first time; losing 38–5.

During the 2011 Rugby World Cup, France defeated Wales 9–8 in the semi-final at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand, on 15 October 2011 and in the following week they lost 8–7 to the All Blacks in the final to make it three final defeats.

World Rugby Rankings

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Ranking system for national teams in rugby union, managed by World Rugby, the sport's governing body.

Ranking system for national teams in rugby union, managed by World Rugby, the sport's governing body.

When the system was introduced England were the top team and maintained that position following victory in the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

New Zealand took the lead from 14 June 2004.

After winning the 2007 Rugby World Cup final, South Africa became the third team to achieve first place.

The first two fixtures of the 2008 Tri Nations resulted in the top two teams switching places: the All Blacks regained the top spot after defeating South Africa in the Tri-Nations opener on 5 July 2008 in Wellington; a week later the Springboks returned the favour in Dunedin, scoring their first win over the All Blacks in New Zealand since 1998, reclaiming the top spot, only for the All Blacks to defeat both Australia and South Africa in August 2008 to regain the top spot by a considerable margin.

A change at the top would not occur for a record period of 508 weeks (from 16 November 2009 to 19 August 2019), when Wales became the top ranked team for the first time after defeating England at Cardiff in a World Cup 2019 warm-up test in August, following on a streak in which they won 15 of 16 tests, including a Six Nations Grand Slam.

2003 Rugby World Cup

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England 2003 World Cup winners
The Opening Ceremony at Stadium Australia
The opening game at Stadium Australia between Australia and Argentina
Celebrations in Trafalgar Square
South Africa vs Georgia, 24 October 2003

The 2003 Rugby World Cup was the fifth Rugby World Cup and was won by England.

New Zealand, France, South Africa and defending champions Australia were also expected to make strong showings, with New Zealand being second favourites after victory in the southern-hemisphere Tri-Nations championship.

Australia, however, only beat Ireland by one point to top their pool, while Wales pushed the All Blacks to the wire in arguably the most entertaining game of the entire tournament; adopting a hyper-attacking style of play, they led 37–33 with just 20 minutes left, but New Zealand eventually proved too much in the 12-try thriller.

Rugby football game in Yokohama, 1874

Japan national rugby union team

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Traditionally the strongest rugby union power in Asia and has enjoyed and endured mixed results against non-Asian teams over the years.

Traditionally the strongest rugby union power in Asia and has enjoyed and endured mixed results against non-Asian teams over the years.

Rugby football game in Yokohama, 1874
Japan play Tonga at Honjo stadium on 4 June 2006
Japan plays Australia A on 8 June 2008
Jamie Joseph giving a speech at a Sunwolves match on 12 May 2018
Pacific Nations Cup Match at Chichibunomiya Stadium on 17 June 2012, in which Samoa defeated Japan 27–26

Notable games for Japan include a victory over the Junior All Blacks in 1968, and a narrow 6–3 loss to England in 1971.

This continued into 2015 where they produced the first of their three biggest upsets when, in a Rugby World Cup pool match against South Africa, they won 34–32.

In the years between, Japan faced quality opposition, playing relatively well with solid results including a tie against France, and a narrow loss to Wales at Cardiff.

After his release from hospital, it was announced that Jones would miss Japan's 2013 end-of-year rugby union tests against New Zealand, Scotland, Gloucester, Russia and Spain, and former Australia skills coach and current technical adviser for Japan Scott Wisemantel would interim coach Japan for their 2013 end-of-year rugby union tests.

1999 Rugby World Cup

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The fourth Rugby World Cup, the quadrennial international rugby union championship.

The fourth Rugby World Cup, the quadrennial international rugby union championship.

It was principally hosted by Wales, and was won by Australia.

Four automatic qualification places were available for the 1999 tournament; Wales qualified automatically as hosts, and the other three places went to the top three teams from the previous World Cup in 1995: champions South Africa, runners-up New Zealand and third-placed France.

Uruguay and Tonga were the first nations to profit from the repechage, and took their places alongside fellow qualifiers Australia, England, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Argentina, Fiji, Samoa, Romania, Canada, Namibia, Japan, Spain and the United States.

South African Victor Matfield takes a line-out against New Zealand in 2006

Rugby union

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Close-contact team sport that originated in Rugby, Warwickshire school, England in the first half of the 19th century.

Close-contact team sport that originated in Rugby, Warwickshire school, England in the first half of the 19th century.

South African Victor Matfield takes a line-out against New Zealand in 2006
Rugby School in Rugby, Warwickshire, with a rugby football pitch in the foreground
James Ryan, captain of the New Zealand Army team, receiving the Kings Cup from George V
A standard rugby union team formation illustrating each of the positions and their respective numbers
Sébastien Chabal (far left) in number eight position before
entering the scrum
Diagram of a rugby union playing field showing the various marked lines and distances
A rugby tackle must be below the neck with the aim of impeding or grounding the player with the ball.
Ireland and Georgia contesting a line-out in the 2007 Rugby World Cup
A scrum between New Zealand's Crusaders and Australia's Brumbies
Touch judge with flag
A synthetic rugby ball by Gilbert
Japanese and Welsh rugby fans in Cardiff, Wales, September 2007
Germany playing Belgium in a World Cup qualifier, April 2006
Argentine teams Alumni and Hindú playing the Torneo de la URBA final match, 2007
Ivory Coast before their 2011 World Cup qualifier vs. Zambia, 21 July 2008
US women's rugby:
NC Hustlers vs. Midwest II
A giant rugby ball suspended from the Eiffel Tower to commemorate France's hosting of the 2007 World Cup
Griffins RFC Kotka, the rugby union team from Kotka, Finland, playing in the Rugby-7 Tournament in 2013
Beach rugby match
When codifying Australian rules football in 1859, Tom Wills drew inspiration from an early version of rugby he learnt at Rugby School.
Henri Rousseau – The Football Players (1908)
Member and Associated Unions
Member Union
Associated Union

The first rugby football international was played on 27 March 1871 between Scotland and England in Edinburgh.

South Africa are the reigning champions, having defeated England in the final of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Yokohama.

New Zealand and South Africa have each won the title three times (New Zealand: 1987, 2011, 2015; South Africa: 1995, 2007, 2019), Australia have won twice (1991 and 1999), and England once (2003).

The record attendance for a rugby union game was set on 15 July 2000 in which New Zealand defeated Australia 39–35 in a Bledisloe Cup game at Stadium Australia in Sydney before 109,874 fans.

The record attendance for a match in Europe of 104,000 (at the time a world record) was set on 1 March 1975 when Scotland defeated Wales 12–10 at Murrayfield in Edinburgh during the 1975 Five Nations Championship.

Grand Slam (rugby union)

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In rugby union, a Grand Slam (Irish: Caithréim Mhór.

In rugby union, a Grand Slam (Irish: Caithréim Mhór.

This has been achieved 40 times in total, for the first time by Wales in 1908, and most recently by the French team in 2022.

The team with the most Grand Slams is England with 13.

In another context, a Grand Slam tour refers to a touring side – South Africa, Australia or New Zealand – which plays fixtures against all four home nations (England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales) during their tour.

1987 Rugby World Cup

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The first Rugby World Cup.

The first Rugby World Cup.

The tournament was won by New Zealand, who were the strong favourites and won all their matches comfortably.

Wales finished third, and Australia fourth, after conceding crucial tries in the dying seconds of both their semi-final against France and the third-place play-off against Wales.

Seven of the sixteen participating teams were the International Rugby Football Board (IRFB) members – New Zealand, Australia, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and France.

South Africa was unable to compete because of the international sporting boycott due to apartheid.