|World Rugby affiliation||1890|
|Rugby Europe affiliation||1999|
|Men's coach||Eddie Jones|
|Women's coach||Simon Middleton|
The 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,representing over 2.5 million registered players, 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.
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On 4 December 1870, Edwin Ash of Richmond and Benjamin Burns of Blackheath published a letter in 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),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. Ealing Rugby Club (now Ealing Trailfinders) also received an invitation, but their representative stopped in a public house and also missed the meeting.
As a result of this meeting the 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 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.
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. The main reason for the split was the wish of players to be compensated for lost wages when playing Rugby. Many working class players in the North lost wages to play. The R.F.U. opposed players being paid. They set up the Northern 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 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.
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex served as patron until February 2021.
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.
The 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. 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, 2007 and 2019. They are currently ranked third in the world by World Rugby as of 8 March 2020.
The 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.
The England national rugby sevens team competes in the World Rugby Sevens Series, 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 holds the record for tries scored on the Sevens Series with 338 tries as of October 2019. England's Simon Amor (2004) and Ollie Phillips (2009) have each won a World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year award.
England men's senior team
England women's senior team
England men's under-20
England men's sevens
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 and the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The team finishing at the bottom of the Premiership each season was relegated to the second-division RFU Championship until 2020, and the winner of the Championship is promoted to the Premiership until 2022. The competition has been played since 1987, and has evolved into the current Premiership system. The current champions are Harlequins. The most recently promoted side are Saracens.
The 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 was fully professional. However since 2020 several clubs have since returned to a semi-professional model. The current champions are Saracens who won promotion to the English Premiership after beating the Ealing Trailfinders in a two-legged play-off, having finished second in the league during the league season.
The 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. The current champions are Saracens, with the runners up being Harlequins.
Royal Patrons of the Rugby Football Union
Premiership Rugby is an English professional rugby union competition. The Premiership consists of thirteen 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 and the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The winner of the second division, the RFU Championship is promoted to the Premiership and until 2020, the team finishing at the bottom of the Premiership each season was relegated to the Championship.
Rugby union in England is one of the leading professional and recreational team sports. In 1871 the Rugby Football Union, the governing body for rugby union in England, was formed by 21 rugby clubs, and the first international match, which involved England, was played in Scotland. The English national team compete annually in the Six Nations Championship, and are former world champions after winning the 2003 Rugby World Cup. The top domestic men's club competition is Premiership Rugby, and English clubs also compete in international competitions such as the European Rugby Champions Cup. The top domestic women's competition is the Premier 15s.
Old Albanian Rugby Football Club (OAs) is a rugby union club based in St Albans, Hertfordshire, England. The club currently plays in National League 2 South following their relegation from National League 1 at the end of the 2017-18 season.
Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club is an English rugby union club, located in West London. The club's first team play in the RFU Championship after they won National League 1 in 2014–15.
The Women's Premiership, also called the RFUW Premiership was the top level of women's rugby union in England until 2017. It was formed in 1990 and was run by the Rugby Football Union for Women. It was superseded in the 2017/18 season by Premier 15s.
The Rugby Football Union for Women (RFUW) was the governing body for women's rugby union in England. As of 2014 the RFUW and Rugby Football Union combined to be one National Governing Body. The headquarters are at Twickenham Stadium, London.
Middlesex Rugby is the governing body for rugby union in Middlesex, England; Middlesex is a historic county of England that covers areas in the ceremonial counties of Greater London, Surrey and Hertfordshire. The historic county is still in use when referring to sport, businesses and postal addresses in the area. Middlesex RFU was originally created as the Middlesex County Rugby Club but within six years was being referred to as the Middlesex County Rugby Football Union and is now known simply as Middlesex Rugby.
Rugby union is one of the most popular sports, in terms of both participants and spectators in London. London has several of England's leading rugby union clubs, and the city is home to 13 teams playing in national leagues, and many regional amateur leagues regulated by the London and South East Division Rugby Football Union. However, several of these teams, due to necessity, have found homes at stadia outside the boundaries of the capital. The sport is well established, especially in the middle-class suburbs to the north and west of the city. Four of the twelve clubs currently in the Gallagher Premiership have London origins.
Andrew Durutalo is a Fijian-raised American-born professional rugby player who plays for the Seattle Seawolves of Major League Rugby (MLR). He has been capped by the U.S. national sevens team and the United States national rugby union team.
The 2013–14 RFU Championship, known for sponsorship reasons as the Greene King IPA Championship, was the fifth season of the professionalised format of the RFU Championship, the second tier of the English rugby union league system run by the Rugby Football Union. It was held between 14 September 2013 and 4 June 2014. It was contested by eleven English clubs and one from Jersey in the Channel Islands. It was also the first Championship season with a title sponsor, as the Rugby Football Union and Greene King Brewery reached a deal by which the brewery would become the competition's main sponsor from 2013–14 through to 2016–17.
Samuel Mark Dickinson is an English rugby union player who will leave Premiership side Northampton Saints at the end of the 2016/17 season. He began his career at hometown club Caldy before moving to Rotherham Titans in 2009. He plays in the back row but has also spent time at lock. At international level he has represented the England Saxons.
Jack Clifford is a former rugby union player for the England national rugby union team and Premiership side Harlequins. Clifford played in the back row at flanker or number 8. He first captained Harlequins in November 2015 in a match against Cardiff Blues
Kyle Sinckler is an English professional rugby union player who plays as a tighthead prop for Premiership club Bristol Bears and the English national team. He has previously played for Harlequins, Richmond and Ealing Trailfinders.
Nathan Shane Fowles is a professional rugby union player who plays Scrum-half for Ealing Trailfinders in the English RFU Championship.
The Premier 15s, currently known for sponsorship purposes as the Allianz Premier 15s, is the top tier of the women's English rugby union domestic league system run by the Rugby Football Union (RFU). The league was created mainly from teams in the Women's Premiership. Its first season began on 16 September 2017. The reigning champions are Harlequins Women.
The 2017–18 RFU Championship, known for sponsorship reasons as the Greene King IPA Championship, was the ninth season of the professionalised format of the RFU Championship, the second tier of the English rugby union league system run by the Rugby Football Union. It was contested by eleven English clubs and one from Jersey in the Channel Islands. The competition was sponsored by Greene King for a fifth successive season. The twelve teams in the RFU Championship also competed in the British and Irish Cup, along with clubs from Ireland and Wales.
The Middlesex RFU Senior Cup is an annual rugby union knock-out club competition organised by the Middlesex Rugby Football Union. It was first introduced during the 1971–72 season, with the inaugural winners being Saracens. It is the most important cup competition organised by the Middlesex RFU ahead of the Senior Bowl and Senior Vase. The cup was originally open to all sides in Middlesex, including such illustrious names as Harlequins, Saracens and Wasps, but after the 1986–87 season and the incorporation of the Courage Leagues the cup was for limited to the smaller clubs in the county.
Harry Sloan is a professional rugby player for Saracens. He plays as a centre and has previously played in the RFU Championship with Ealing Trailfinders and in Premiership Rugby with Harlequins.
The 2020–21 RFU Championship, also known as the 2020–21 Greene King IPA Championship for sponsorship reasons, is the twelfth season of the RFU Championship, the professional second tier of rugby union in England. It features ten English teams and one from Jersey. The competition is sponsored by Greene King for the eighth successive season. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom, this season features a truncated timeframe of just 16 weeks with a later start and fewer rounds.
The 2021–22 RFU Championship, will be the thirteenth season of the RFU Championship, the professional second tier of rugby union in England. It will feature ten English teams and one from Jersey.