Australia has one of the most talented teams globally, and the country’s stats in the rugby union are quite impressive. It is not surprising that the country does this well, given that it started participating in the game back in 1864. This introduction was barely five decades since the game’s inception. Presently, the game is played across the nation, with some areas excelling more than others. The country’s strongholds are Queensland, the ACT, and New South Wales.
Among the many competitions held in the country, the Super Rugby takes the day. This largely anticipated competition takes place in the southern part of the country. The country’s top teams participate in the competition, which is known to attract fans by the throngs. Under this, the country recently launched the National Rugby Championship in 2014. This tournament comprises nine teams from different parts of the country and is an excellent opportunity for teams to showcase their skills. It also features players from the country’s national team and its associations.
Under these two tournaments, there are city competitions where teams have the chance to battle it out in the quest to sharpen their skills. These attract domestic fans and are the highest form of domestic competition. There are more competitions under these, enabling players to participate in rugby at all levels.
Rugby is not a sport for men only in the country, and women have also been actively participating in it for a while now. Recently, the country launched a 15s competition on the women’s side, enabling the women’s teams to keep thriving. This new league features five representative teams from all over the country. The men are also heavily invested in the sport and have gone ahead to win the world cup twice. The national men’s team, known as the Wallabies, adorns green and gold colors and has made a mark in the rugby world as one of the best teams. It helps that the team maintain its high rankings and is now placed 6th in the world as of 2020.
As rugby spread worldwide following its introduction in England, it was only a matter of time before it found its way to Australia. Sydney University was the first campus to launch a rugby union club back in 1864. It helps to note that the game was invented in 1823 during a football game in Rugby School. One William Webb Ellis decided to play the game by hand, and in doing so, he created one of the best sports in the world. The story behind the game’s formation has not been proved yet, but its fruits can be seen in how popular the game has been. The game attendances and worldwide wagers are enough proof.
Soon after forming this Sydney University club, a competition was established, and the year afterward, six teams took part in this tournament. In 1876, the game’s play went up a notch, with matches taking place under two rules- rugby and Australian. As people took up more interest in the game and more clubs were formed, it became necessary to increase the game’s governance. In 1883, players came together and formed the Northern Rugby Union. Soon after this, more schools took up the sport, and more students became engaged in what would soon be a professional sport. Five years after the union formation, New Zealand came to Australia, and the teams had their first club competition. By 1899, the country already had a national team that was participating in matches. Their first match led to the birth of the Hospital’s Cup, which soon became an annual event.
Rugby union in the country falls under Rugby Australia, a national governing body formed in 1949 that operates within the bounds of World Rugby. All states and territories in the country fall under a union, with some having a higher status than others. Those with a higher status can elect more reps to the board. Before this board was made, the matches and rules fell under the New South Wales Rugby Union.
All professional rugby players, whether past or present, fall under the Rugby Union Players Association. This body looks after their well-being and is integral in ensuring that players abide by the set rules of the game.
As of 2009, there were at least 38,000 registered rugby union players in the country. More than 80% of the senior players came from New South Wales and Queensland, regions that are rugby strongholds.
The national team has won the World Cup twice and has been playing in international matches since 1899. Other than The Wallabies, the team is also home to Sevens, Australian A, Wallaroos, Women’s Sevens, and age-level teams.
Given the popularity of the game and the strength of Australian teams, this sport is only set to go far.