The Info List - Rugby Football Union

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The Rugby Football Union
Rugby Football Union
(RFU) is the governing body for rugby union in England. It was founded in 1871, and was the sport's international governing body prior to the formation of what is now known as World Rugby (WR) in 1886. It promotes and runs the sport, organises international matches for the England national team, and educates and trains players and officials. The RFU is an industrial and provident society owned by over 2,000 member clubs,[2] representing over 2.5 million registered players,[3] and forms the largest rugby union society in the world, and one of the largest sports organisations in England. It is based at Twickenham Stadium, London. In September 2010 the equivalent women's rugby body, the Rugby Football Union for Women (RFUW), was able to nominate a member to the RFU Council to represent women and girls rugby. The RFUW was integrated into the RFU in July 2012.


1 Early history (19th century)

1.1 Formation 1.2 Northern clubs secede – Rugby League

2 The modern era (1970 – present) 3 Structure 4 National teams

4.1 Men's team 4.2 Women's national team 4.3 Men's national sevens team

5 World Championship winning teams (7) 6 Domestic high-level competitions

6.1 Premiership 6.2 Championship 6.3 Premier 15s

7 See also 8 References 9 External links

Early history (19th century)[edit]

The First England Team, 1871, in the 1st international, vs Scotland in Edinburgh, Scotland won by 1 goal & 1 try to 1 try

Formation[edit] On 4 December 1870, Edwin Ash of Richmond and Benjamin Burns of Blackheath published a letter in The Times
The Times
suggesting that "those who play the rugby-type game should meet to form a code of practice as various clubs play to rules which differ from others, which makes the game difficult to play." On 26 January 1871 a meeting attended by representatives from 21 clubs was held in London at the Pall Mall Restaurant on Regent Street. The 21 clubs present at the meeting were: Blackheath (represented by Burns and Frederick Stokes, the latter becoming the first captain of England),[4] Richmond, Ravenscourt Park, West Kent, Marlborough Nomads, Wimbledon Hornets, Gipsies, Civil Service, The Law Club, Wellington College, Guy’s Hospital, Flamingoes, Clapham Rovers, Harlequin F.C., King's College Hospital, St Paul's, Queen’s House, Lausanne, Addison, Mohicans, and Belsize Park. The one notable omission was the Wasps. According to one version, a Wasps' representative was sent to attend the meeting, but owing to a misunderstanding was sent to the wrong venue at the wrong time on the wrong day; another version is that he went to a venue of the same name where, after consuming a number of drinks, he realised his mistake but was too drunk to make his way to the correct venue.

Plaque marking the foundation location of the RFU

As a result of this meeting the Rugby Football Union
Rugby Football Union
(RFU) was founded. Algernon Rutter was elected as the first president of the RFU, and Edwin Ash was elected as treasurer. Three lawyers who were Rugby School
Rugby School
alumni (Rutter, Holmes and L.J. Maton) drew up the first laws of the game, which were approved in June 1871. Although similar unions were organised during the next few years in Ireland, Wales, Scotland, New Zealand, Australia, France, Canada, South Africa, and the United States, the RFU was the first and therefore had no need to distinguish itself from others by calling itself the English RFU. Northern clubs secede – Rugby League[edit]

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Twenty-two rugby clubs from across the north of England met on 29 August 1895 in the George Hotel in Huddersfield, where they voted to secede from the Rugby Football Union[why?] and set up the Northern Rugby Football Union
Rugby Football Union
(later renamed the Rugby Football League). The RFU took strong action against the clubs involved in the formation of the NRFU, all of whom were deemed to have forfeited their amateur status and therefore to have left the RFU. A similar interpretation was applied to all players who played either for or against such clubs, whether or not they received any compensation. These players were barred indefinitely from any involvement in organised rugby union. These comprehensive and enduring sanctions, combined with the very localised nature of most rugby competition, meant that most northern clubs had little practical option but to affiliate with the NRFU in the first few years of its existence.[citation needed] The modern era (1970 – present)[edit] The RFU long resisted competitions and leagues fearing that they would encourage foul play and professionalism. The first club competition, then known as the R.F.U. Club Competition, took place in 1972. Following a sponsorship agreement it became known as the John Player Cup in 1976. The RFU agreed to the formation of a league pyramid in 1987. In 2005 the RFU began talks about a merger with the governing body for women's rugby union the RFUW. In September 2010 the RFUW was able to nominate a member to the RFU Council to represent women and girls rugby. The RFUW was integrated into the RFU in July 2012. Structure[edit] In response to the faltering results of the England national team, Rob Andrew was appointed on 18 August 2006 by the RFU to the post of Director of Elite Rugby, to oversee all aspects of representative rugby in England from the regional academies to the full senior side, including senior team selection powers and the power to hire and fire coaches at all levels of English rugby. Andrew also had the task of building bridges with the premiership clubs and the RFU in terms of players withdrawal from their club duties for international duties. On 6 January 2011 his role of Director of Elite Rugby was scrapped in an overhaul of the organisation's structure. Chief executive John Steele opted to create a single rugby department divided into the areas of performance, operations and development with the emphasis on "delivering rugby at all levels", with each area having its own director.[5] National teams[edit] Men's team[edit] Main article: England national rugby union team The England national rugby union team
England national rugby union team
competes in the annual Six Nations Championship with France, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, and Wales. They have won this championship outright on a total of 28 occasions (with the addition of 10 shared victories), 13 times winning the Grand Slam and 25 times winning the Triple Crown, making them the most successful team in the tournament's history. They are ranked second in the world by the International Rugby Board
International Rugby Board
as of 26 June 2017. England are to date the only team from the northern hemisphere to win the Rugby World Cup, when they won the tournament back in 2003. They were also runners-up in 1991 and 2007. Women's national team[edit] Main article: England women's national rugby union team The England women's national rugby union team
England women's national rugby union team
first played in 1982.[citation needed] England have taken part in every Women's Rugby World Cup competition. They won the competition in 1994 by defeating the United States 38–23 in the final, and again in 2014 by beating Canada 21–9 in the final. They finished as runner-up on four other occasions. Their coach is Simon Middleton after their coach Gary Street, who had been head coach since 2006, retired in 2015. Men's national sevens team[edit] Main article: England national rugby sevens team The England national rugby sevens team
England national rugby sevens team
competes in the World Rugby Sevens Series, Rugby World Cup
Rugby World Cup
Sevens and the Commonwealth Games. England's best finish in the Sevens Series is second place, which they have achieved four times, most recently in the 2016-17 season. The England Sevens team has generated several notable sevens players. Ben Gollings holds the record for points scored on the Sevens Series with 2,652 points. Dan Norton
Dan Norton
holds the record for tries scored on the Sevens Series with 261 tries as of June 2017. England's Simon Amor (2004) and Ollie Phillips (2009) have each won a World Rugby
World Rugby
Sevens Player of the Year award. World Championship winning teams (7)[edit]

Re-excommunication: cartoon by J. M. Staniforth. The RFU is represented as a religious cabal, expelling Arthur "Monkey" Gould from their "church" over the "Gould Affair". Gould, in his Newport jersey, appears unconcerned.

England men's senior team


England women's senior team

1994, 2014

England men's under-20

2013, 2014, 2016

England men's sevens


Domestic high-level competitions[edit] Premiership[edit] Premiership Rugby
Premiership Rugby
is an English professional rugby union competition. The Premiership consists of twelve clubs, and is the top division of the English rugby union system. Premiership clubs qualify for Europe's two main club competitions, the European Rugby Champions Cup
European Rugby Champions Cup
and the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The team finishing at the bottom of the Premiership each season is relegated to the second-division RFU Championship, and the winner of the Championship is promoted to the Premiership. The competition has been played since 1987, and has evolved into the current Premiership system. The current champions are Exeter Chiefs. The most recently promoted side is London Irish, who have returned to the top flight after defeating Yorkshire Carnegie
Yorkshire Carnegie
in the 2016–17 RFU Championship
RFU Championship
Play–Off Final. Championship[edit] The RFU Championship
RFU Championship
is the second tier of the English rugby union league system and was founded in September 1987. The league was previously known as National Division One and in 2009 changed from a league consisting of semi-professional clubs to one that is now fully professional. The current champions are London Irish
London Irish
who won promotion to the English Premiership after beating the Yorkshire Carnegie
Yorkshire Carnegie
in a two-legged play-off, having finished first in the league during the regular season. Premier 15s[edit] The Premier 15s
Premier 15s
is the top tier of the women’s English rugby union domestic league system run by the Rugby Football Union. The league was created mainly from teams in the Women's Premiership. Its first season began on 16 September 2017. See also[edit]

Army Rugby Union County Championship Rugby union
Rugby union
in England


^ Official Site of FIRA Archived January 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. ^ "Careers and Vacancies at the RFU". Rugby Football Union. Archived from the original on January 9, 2011.  ^ " International Rugby Board
International Rugby Board
- England". International Rugby Board. Archived from the original on 2010-03-31.  ^ Steve Lewis, One Among Equals, page 9, 2008, (Vertical Editions:London) ^ "Rob Andrew's role at RFU scrapped in overhaul". BBC News. 6 January 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2014. 

Collins, Tony (2009); A Social History of English Rugby Union, Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-47660-7.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rugby union
Rugby union
in England.

Official website Official RFU Clubs Website Army Rugby Union

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Rugby union
Rugby union
in England

Governing body

Rugby Football Union Rugby Football Union for Women
Rugby Football Union for Women
(merged into the RFU)

National teams


England England Saxons 7's U-20 U-21 U-19 U-18 Schoolboys British and Irish Lions England Counties XV


Women's 7's

International competitions


World Cup Six Nations Rugby World Cup
Rugby World Cup
Sevens Sevens World Series Sevens Grand Prix Series Commonwealth Games


World Cup Six Nations World Series Sevens

Competition divisions


Premiership Championship National Leagues London and SE Division Northern Division Midland Division South West Division


Premier 15s

European competitions

European Rugby Champions Cup European Rugby Challenge Cup

National competitions

Aviva Premiership Anglo-Welsh Cup Greene King IPA Championship British and Irish Cup National League 1 National League 2 North National League 2 South Midlands Premier North Premier London & South East Premier South West Premier EDF Energy Trophy Premiership Rugby
Premiership Rugby
Sevens Series Women's Premiership

London and South East competitions

London 1 North London 1 South London 2 North East London 2 North West London 2 South East London 2 South West London 3 Eastern Counties London 3 Essex London 3 North West London 3 South East London 3 South West Eastern Counties 1 Eastern Counties 2 Eastern Counties 3 Eastern Counties 4 Essex Canterbury Jack 1 Hampshire 1 Hampshire 2 Herts/Middlesex 1 Herts/Middlesex 2 Hertfordshire Cups Middlesex Cups Shepherd Neame Kent 1 Shepherd Neame Kent 2 Kent Cups Surrey 1 Surrey 2 Surrey 3 Surrey 4 Surrey Cups Sussex 1 Sussex Canterbury Jack 2 Oranjeboom 3 Sussex Asahi 4 East Sussex Late Red 4 West Sussex Cups

Midland competitions

Midlands 1 West Midlands 1 East Midlands 2 West (North) Midlands 2 West (South) Midlands 2 East (North) Midlands 2 East (South) Midlands 3 West (North) Midlands 3 West (South) Midlands 3 East (North) Midlands 3 East (South) Midlands 4 West (North) Midlands 4 West (South) Midlands 4 East (North) Midlands 4 East (South) Midlands 5 West (North) Midlands 5 West (South) Midlands 5 East (North) Leicestershire Cups North Midlands Cups Staffordshire Cups Warwickshire Cups

Northern competitions

North 1 East North 1 West North Lancashire/Cumbria Cumbria League Cumbria Cups South Lancs/Cheshire 1 South Lancs/Cheshire 2 Lancs/Cheshire 3 (North) Lancs/Cheshire 3 (South) Cheshire Cups Lancashire (North) Lancashire Cups Durham/Northumberland 1 Durham/Northumberland 2 Durham/Northumberland 3 Northumberland Cups Yorkshire 1 Yorkshire 2 Yorkshire 3 Yorkshire 4 (NW) Yorkshire 4 (SE) Yorkshire Cups

South West competitions

South West 1 East Tribute South West 1 West Southern Counties North Southern Counties South Tribute Western Counties North Tribute Western Counties West Tribute Cornwall/Devon Tribute Cornwall 1 Tribute Cornwall 2 Cornwall Cups Tribute Devon 1 Tribute Devon 2 Devon Cups Gloucester Premier Gloucester 1 Gloucester 2 Gloucester 3 Gloucestershire Cups Tribute Somerset Premier Somerset 1 Somerset 2 North Somerset 2 South Somerset 3 North Somerset 3 South Somerset Cups Berks/Bucks & Oxon Premier Berks/Bucks & Oxon Championship Oxfordshire Cups Dorset & Wilts 1 North Dorset & Wilts 1 South Dorset & Wilts 2 North Dorset & Wilts 2 South Dorset & Wilts 3 North Dorset & Wilts 3 South

County competitions

County Championship Cup County Championship Plate County Championship Shield

Related articles

International players Clubs Churchill Cup Calcutta Cup Millennium Trophy Cook Cup Hillary Shield

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England national rugby union team

Rugby Football Union


History Tries


All Players Top Scorers Killed in the World Wars

Home stadiums

Twickenham Stadium

Competitions and trophies

Rugby World Cup Six Nations Championship Triple Crown Grand Slam Calcutta Cup Cook Cup Hillary Shield Old Mutual Wealth Cup Millennium Trophy

Related teams

Sevens England Saxons RFU Championship
RFU Championship
XV England Counties XV U20s U18s


World Cup finals

1991 2003 2007

By opponent

Argentina Australia Barbarians France Ireland Italy New Zealand Samoa Scotland South Africa Wales


1871–79 1880–89 1890–99 1900–09 1910–14 1920–29 1930–39 1947–49 1950–59 1960–69 1970–79 1980–89 1990–99 2000–09 2010–19

See also

All Matches Test Series Scotland (1871) England v President's Overseas XV



1963 1975 1988 1991 1997 1998 1999 2003 2004 2006 2010 2016

New Zealand

1963 1973 1985 1998 2003 2004 2008 2010 2014

South Africa

1972 1984 1994 1998 2000 2007 2012 2018


1981 1990 1997 2002 2013 2017



South Pacific

1973 1979 1988 1991

North America

1982 1993 2001


1971 1979

See also

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

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Rugby unions by best performance at the Men's World Cups


Australia (2 Times) England (Once) New Zealand (3 Times) South Africa (2 Times)

Runners up

France (3 Times)


Argentina (Once) Wales (Once)


Scotland (Once)

Quarter Final

Canada (Once) Fiji (2 Times) Ireland (6 Times) Samoa (2 Times)

Pool stages

Côte d'Ivoire (Once) Georgia (4 Times) Italy (8 Times) Japan (8 Times) Namibia (5 Times) Portugal (Once) Romania (8 Times) Russia (Once) Spain (Once) Tonga (7 Times) United States (7 Times) Uruguay (3 Times) Zimbabwe (2 Times)

Without World Cup experience

Algeria American Samoa Andorra Arab states of the Persian Gulf (defunct) Armenia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Barbados Belgium Bermuda Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Brazil British Virgin Islands Bulgaria Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Cayman Islands Chile China Colombia Cook Islands Croatia Czech Republic Denmark Finland Germany Ghana Guam Guyana Hong Kong Hungary India Indonesia Iran Israel Jamaica Kazakhstan Kenya Kyrgyzstan Lao Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Madagascar Malaysia Mali Malta Mauritania Mauritius Mexico Moldova Monaco Mongolia Morocco Netherlands Nigeria Niue Norway Pakistan Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Poland Rwanda St. Lucia St. Vincent & the Grenadines Serbia Senegal Singapore Slovenia Solomon Islands South Korea Sri Lanka Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Tahiti Taiwan (Chinese Taipei) Tanzania Thailand Togo Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela Zambia

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Sports governing bodies in England

Athletics Amateur boxing Badminton Baseball Basketball Cricket Diving Field hockey Football

English Football League The Football Association

Orienteering Golf

England Golf English Women's Golf Association

Handball Ice hockey Korfball Lacrosse Rugby union Rugby league Snooker and billiards Swimming Sub-aqua Table tennis Volleyball

Some sports are run jointly with Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales; see Category:Sports governing bodies in the United Kingdom

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Founding Clubs of the RFU

Founding Clubs

Blackheath F.C. Richmond F.C. Civil Service F.C. Marlborough Nomads West Kent Wimbledon Hornets Gipsies Clapham Rovers Law FC Wellington College Guy's Hospital Flamingoes Harlequins King's College London RFC Queen's House King's College Hospital St Paul's School Lausanne Addison Mohicans Belsize Par