Rugby union in Czechoslovakia

Last updated
Rugby union in Czechoslovakia


Map of Czechoslovakia
Country Czechoslovakia
National team Czechoslovakia
National competitions
Club competitions

Rugby union in Czechoslovakia was a moderately popular sport. It was most popular in Moravia (especially Brno), Prague and Bratislava

Rugby union team sport, code of rugby football

Rugby union, commonly known in most of the world simply as rugby, is a contact team sport which originated in England in the first half of the 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand. In its most common form, a game is between two teams of 15 players using an oval-shaped ball on a rectangular field with H-shaped goalposts on each try line.

Czechoslovakia 1918–1992 country in Central Europe, predecessor of the Czech Republic and Slovakia

Czechoslovakia, or Czecho-Slovakia, was a sovereign state in Central Europe that existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until its peaceful dissolution into the Czech Republic and Slovakia on 1 January 1993.

Moravia Historical land in Czech Republic

Moravia is a historical region in the Czech Republic and one of the historical Czech lands, together with Bohemia and Czech Silesia. The medieval and early modern Margraviate of Moravia was a crown land of the Lands of the Bohemian Crown, an imperial state of the Holy Roman Empire, later a crown land of the Austrian Empire and briefly also one of 17 former crown lands of the Cisleithanian part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire from 1867 to 1918. During the early 20th century, Moravia was one of the five lands of Czechoslovakia from 1918 to 1928; it was then merged with Czech Silesia, and eventually dissolved by abolition of the land system in 1949.


Governing body

Czechoslovakia was a founder member of FIRA in 1934, and joined the IRB in 1988. [1]

Traditionally, Czech rugby has centred on a "section of the middle class" in and around Prague, which has been fairly small but fairly loyal to the sport. [1]

Prague Capital city in Czech Republic

Prague is the capital and largest city in the Czech Republic, the 14th largest city in the European Union and the historical capital of Bohemia. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of 2.6 million. The city has a temperate climate, with warm summers and chilly winters.


Moravia in relation to the current regions of the Czech Republic. CZ-cleneni-Morava-wl.png
Moravia in relation to the current regions of the Czech Republic.

Rugby union was a moderately popular sport in Czechoslovakia

Josef Rössler-Ořovský, who introduced a number of sports in the then Czechoslovakia, among others skiing and tennis, was originally credited with starting rugby as well back in 1895. [2] He went to England and brought back a rugby ball with him. Efforts were made to play the game at the Czech Yacht Club, but a public struggle ensued, and rugby subsequently never really caught on.

Skiing Recreational activity and sport using skis

Skiing can be a means of transport, a recreational activity or a competitive winter sport in which the participant uses skis to glide on snow. Many types of competitive skiing events are recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the International Ski Federation (FIS).

Tennis ball sport with racket and net

Tennis is a racket sport that can be played individually against a single opponent (singles) or between two teams of two players each (doubles). Each player uses a tennis racket that is strung with cord to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over or around a net and into the opponent's court. The object of the game is to maneuver the ball in such a way that the opponent is not able to play a valid return. The player who is unable to return the ball will not gain a point, while the opposite player will.

Rugby union was only properly introduced to the country by the writer Ondřej Sekora, when he returned from living in France in 1926, with a rugby ball and set of rules; he also coined Czech language rugby terminology. [1] [3] [4] Brno, the Moravian capital is considered the cradle of rugby in Czechoslovakia, and is where the first match took place, between SK Moravská Slávie and AFK Žižka Brno, with the former winning 31–17. [1] Both of these teams were trained by Sekora.

Ondřej Sekora Czech entomologist, rugbist, writer and artist

Ondřej Sekora was a Czech painter, illustrator, writer, journalist and entomologist. He is known mainly as an author of children books. Sekora was also one of the first propagators of rugby in Czechoslovakia.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Czech language West Slavic language spoken in the Czech Republic

Czech, historically also Bohemian, is a West Slavic language of the Czech–Slovak group. Spoken by over 10 million people, it serves as the official language of the Czech Republic. Czech is closely related to Slovak, to the point of mutual intelligibility to a very high degree. Like other Slavic languages, Czech is a fusional language with a rich system of morphology and relatively flexible word order. Its vocabulary has been extensively influenced by Latin and German.

"Much to everyone's surprise, Eastern Bloc countries are among the game's vigorous participants, seemingly oblivious to rugby's capitalist class-ridden origins... Rumania, Poland and Czechoslovakia are members of the Federation Internationale de Rugby Amateur, the governing body for those countries not in the IB." [5]


1970s, 1980s and 1990s

Czechoslovakia was not invited to the first Rugby World Cup in 1987, and did not qualify for the second in 1991.

Rugby union like many other sports, was long to be connected in the public mind with the less savoury aspects of Communism:

"In fact, since the end of the Second World War, the East European (and world communist) sports system was dominated by clubs of the security forces (often in Eastern Europe bearing the Soviet name Dinamo) and the armed forces. Most sports heroes, therefore, have officially been soldiers or police officers, guardians of public order and role models for a disciplined, obedient and patriotic citizenry. So to many people, élite sport was identified with paramilitary coercion." [6]

Break up of Czechoslovakia

The breakup of Czechoslovakia led to the similar breakup of its sporting bodies, with separate Czech and Slovak teams etc.

Domestic competition

National team

The SFR Czechoslovakia side was, strictly speaking, a multinational side, consisting as it did of representatives of all the various nations within the SFR Czechoslovakia.

Its successor teams are the Czech Republic national rugby union team and the Slovakia national rugby union team.

See also

Related Research Articles

The Dissolution of Czechoslovakia, which took effect on 1 January 1993, was an event that saw the self-determined split of the federal state of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, entities that had arisen before as the Czech Socialist Republic and the Slovak Socialist Republic in 1969 within the framework of a federal republic.

Rugby union in Bulgaria is a minor but growing sport. Bulgaria is ranked 90th worldwide by the International Rugby Board (IRB) as of 8 October 2007. There are 3,026 Bulgarian rugby players.

The Czechoslovakia national rugby union team was the national rugby team of Czechoslovakia, before the country was split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. They participated in qualifiers for the 1991 Rugby World Cup, but did not qualify.

Sport in the Czech Republic sports activities in the Czech Republic

Sports play a significant part in the life of many Czechs who are generally loyal supporters of their favourite teams or individuals.

Rugby union in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Rugby union in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a minor sport. They are currently ranked sixty-eight in the International Rugby Board's world rankings, despite the lack of recognition as an official sport by the government.

Rugby union in the Czech Republic

Rugby union in the Czech Republic is a minor sport. As of 1 November 2010, they are currently ranked thirty-first in the International Rugby Board's world rankings,.

Rugby union in Bermuda

Rugby union in Bermuda is a popular sport. Because of Bermuda's small population, less than 70,000, it has not produced a world class rugby union team, but nonetheless is a dominant force within Caribbean rugby.

Rugby union is a minor, but growing, sport in Denmark.

Rugby union in Hungary is a minor but growing sport.

Rugby union in Latvia is a minor but growing sport. During the pre-independence period, Latvia was not a centre for the game but nonetheless  Latvia managed to qualify for the 1993 Rugby World Cup Sevens - which may be seen as the highest point it has yet reached.

Rugby union in Lithuania

Rugby union in Lithuania is a minor but growing sport.

Rugby union in Ukraine

Rugby union in Ukraine is a minor but growing sport, with a history dating back over six decades.

Rugby union in Thailand is a significant sport. They are currently ranked 60th, with 16,121 registered players.

Rugby union in Slovakia

Rugby union in Slovakia is a minor but growing sport.

Rugby union in Slovenia is a minor but growing sport. They are currently ranked 43rd by the IRB.

Rugby Israel

Rugby Israel is the governing body for the sport of rugby union in Israel. It was founded as the Israel Rugby Union in 1971, and joined the International Rugby Board in 1988. For political reasons, it is also part of FIRA-AER, the European rugby body, rather than the Asian Rugby Football Union. The Israel national rugby union team play in the European Nations Cup. Its headquarters are in Ra'anana.

The Nyasaland national rugby union team formerly represented Nyasaland, now Malawi, in the sport of rugby union.

Rugby union in Yugoslavia

Rugby union in Yugoslavia was a moderately popular sport. It was most popular in the Croatian SR, and to a lesser extent in the Serbian and Slovenian SRs, with some presence in the Bosnian SR as well.




  1. 1 2 3 4 Bath, Richard (ed.) The Complete Book of Rugby (Seven Oaks Ltd, 1997 ISBN   1-86200-013-1) p66
  2. (in Czech) Rugby Club Bystrc - Historie
  3. "Významné události českého ragby v bodech" (in Czech). Czech Rugby Union. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
  4. Richards p129
  5. Hopkins, John (ed) Rugby (1979 ISBN   0-304-30299-6), p8
  6. ed. Brown, Archie; Kaser, Michael & Smith, Gerald S. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Russia and the former Soviet Union (2nd Ed., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England, 1994; ISBN   0-521-35593-1), p493