GSN and Rugby Union

The England Rugby Union XV

Which Rugby Union events does GSN track? Which are the top tournaments in the world of Rugby? What’s next on the international rugby Union schedule? Who are the record-breakers in Rugby Union history?

The GSN Global Cup and Global Ranking focus on the three major international events in Rugby Union: the Rugby World Cup, held quadrennially, and two yearly tournaments involving the best teams from Europe (the 6 Nations tournament) and the so-called “Southern Hemisphere” nations (to contrast it with the “Northern” ones, in Europe): the Tri Nations tournament contested by South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Major Rugby Union Competitions
The oldest international competition in 15-a-side Rugby Union is the 6 Nations (5 Nations until 2000) tournament, played by England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France and Italy, each country playing each other once. The modern tournament traces its roots to the first ever international game, when England lost by one goal to Scotland at Inverleith Park, adjacent to Raeburn Place, Edinburgh in 1871. In the 1880s, Wales and Ireland joined to create the Home International Championships. France joined the tournament in the 1900s and in 1910 the term Five Nations first appeared. However, the Home Nations (England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales) excluded France in 1931 amid a run of poor results, allegations of professionalism (rugby union was officially amateur until 1995) and concerns over on-field violence. France then rejoined in 1939-1940, though World War II halted proceedings for a further eight years. France has played in all the tournaments since WWII, the first one of which was played in 1947. In 2000, Italy became the sixth nation in the contest and the Stadio Flaminio, where their games are played, is the smallest venue in the tournament. Ireland are the reigning Six Nations champions, winning their first Grand Slam in 61 years by beating Wales in Cardiff on March 21, 2009.
The Tri Nations is an annual international rugby union series held between the southern hemisphere teams of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The series was initially played on a home and away basis with the three nations playing each other twice. In 2006 a new system was introduced where each nation plays the others three times rather than two. In 2007 the teams played each other only twice, as it was a World Cup year. The IRB had been brokering a deal which could have seen Argentina admitted to the competition in 2008,  but it was later confirmed that the Tri Nations would not be expanded until at least 2010.
The tournament involving the highest number of international teams, many of them having to qualify through a gruelling multi-tier process, and fast becoming the most important event on the Rugby Union horizon is the relatively recent  the Rugby World Cup, under the aegis of the International Rugby Board. Initiated in 1987, when New Zealand took the first title, the World Cup has proved to be a competition of very high standard, attracting major supporters, media and sponsor interest. South Africa is the current world champion, winning the 2007 tournament held in France. They beat England who, having won it in 2003, were attempting to become the first country to retain the title. England were the first team from the Northern Hemisphere to win, the previous champions being New Zealand (1987), Australia (1991 and 1999), South Africa (1995).
Amidst all the rugby union competitions are also the autumn and summer Tests, which take place between September to December and June to August. These are played by the major rugby union nations on a home or away basis.
Rugby union was played at the Olympic Games in 1900, 1908, 1920 and 1924. As per Olympic rules, the nations of Scotland, Wales and England were not allowed to play separately as they are not sovereign states. Rugby Sevens has been played at the Commonwealth Games since 1998.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Rugby Union " at