Rugby union in Portugal

Last updated

Rugby union in Portugal
Mathieulopez.jpg
Rugby match between Portugal and Spain
CountryPortugal
Governing body Portuguese Rugby Federation
National team(s) Portugal
First played1903
Registered players48551
National competitions
Club competitions
Players from Mareantes Rugby Clube before kick off Mareantesx.jpg
Players from Mareantes Rugby Clube before kick off

Rugby union in Portugal is a growing sport, though still a long distance from association football. The sport is essentially amateur in Portugal, with some degree of semi-professionalisation in its top flight league and the national rugby union team. The rugby union teams in Portugal are mostly university sides, from Lisbon, Porto and Coimbra, with multi-sport clubs like Benfica and Belenenses having rugby union collectivities.

Contents

Governing body

Rugby union in Portugal is administered by the Federação Portuguesa de Rugby. It was founded in 1926 and became affiliated to the International Rugby Board in 1988. [1]

History

The origins of Portuguese rugby go back over a century, but it was only in the 1920s, and the 1950s that periods of consolidation occurred.

The first recorded Portuguese game occurred at Cruz Quebrada on the outskirts of Lisbon in 1903. [1]

1920s

It was only in 1922 that the game began to be organised on a formal basis. [1] The Anglo-Portuguese playing pool at this point had been severely depleted by the First World War, and so the onus fell back on the local population. In 1927, the clubs of Benfica, the Royal Football Club, Carcavelinhos, Ginasio and Sporting came together to form the Portuguese Rugby Federation. [1]

In many cases, the players were students, or ex-students, some of whom had encountered the game abroad. [1]

1950s

Portuguese rugby had once again been set back by the effects of another world war, but it was still dominated by students and ex-students. [1]

Portuguese rugby was heavily influenced by French rugby in this period. [1]

1990s

Portuguese rugby had a much needed "facelift" in this period, with some of its various problems being addressed. The shortage of facilities was partly remedied, [1] and a proper youth recruitment programme put in place. In three years during the mid-1990s, Portugal managed to double its number of registered players from around 3,000 to around 6,000 [1]

In 1995, however, Portugal had a major setback when they were beaten at home 102-11 by Wales in the 1995 Rugby World Cup qualifiers. [1] This set their morale back, and led to criticism of weaknesses in scrummaging, rucking and mauling.

Present day

Schools development rugby Sub14crup.jpg
Schools development rugby

Portuguese rugby continues to hover around the 6,000 mark, but the main aim at the moment is to improve the national infrastructure, which has partly paid off, since the Portuguese rugby team managed to get into the 2007 Rugby World Cup - the first all amateur team to do so since professionalisation. They were the only new team in the tournament, since all the rest had appeared in the 2003 Rugby World Cup, [2] and they got there by knocking out Uruguay. [2]

In 2008 the Portuguese Rugby Federation, the Spanish Rugby Federation, the Gibraltar rugby authority and various clubs agreed to the formation of a Liga Superibérica (Super Iberian League), which will operate on a franchise system (similar to rugby league's Super League or Japan's bj league of basketball). The new league shall operate with 5 Spanish clubs, 4 Portuguese, and one from Gibraltar. It will operate on a different season from the main leagues.

Because Portugal is a popular holiday destination for people from the United Kingdom and Ireland, with reasonably priced flights etc., it has emerged as a popular tour destination. [3]

Competitions

Current hierarchical divisional breakdowns

National team

The national rugby union team made a dramatic qualification into the 2007 Rugby World Cup and become the first all amateur team to qualify for the World Cup since the sport opened itself up to professionals in August 1995 (after that year's World Cup). The Portuguese national rugby sevens team has performed well, becoming one of the strongest teams in Europe, and proved their status as European champions in several occasions.

The Portugal national rugby union team, nicknamed "Os Lobos," Portuguese for "The Wolves", is a third tier rugby union side representing Portugal. They first played in 1935 and now compete in the European Nations Cup. Portugal qualified for their first Rugby World Cup in 2007. Portugal were in Pool C along with the New Zealand, Italy, Romania and Scotland. In the tournament, open side João Uva and outside half Duarte Cardoso Pinto were noted as particularly outstanding players. [4] They were heavily beaten by New Zealand but gave both Italy and Romania serious matches with Romania being held to a 14-10 victory, only through their muscle and the second half appearance of skilled Romanian hooker Marius Tincu. [4]

Portugal have experienced unprecedented success in recent years. They were surprise winners of the 2003-4 European Nations Cup and have continued to record impressive results, although they could only finish third in the 2005-6 event.

Sevens

Portugal playing Romania, 2008 European Sevens 2008, Portugal vs Romania, David Mateus tackle.jpg
Portugal playing Romania, 2008

The Portugal national rugby sevens team represent Portugal in international rugby sevens. The team compete in competitions such as the World Sevens Series and the Rugby World Cup Sevens. Pedro Leal and Pedro Cabral are two notable sevens players.

The IRB Sevens World Series circuit has allowed the Portuguese players to demonstrate their competence to the wider rugby world. In 2006-07 Portugal was an IRB Sevens "core team", participating in each of the season's events, for the first time. They have become an established power in the abbreviated form of the game. They lost core team status a year later, but regained it for the 2012–13 series in a qualifying tournament held as part of the 2012 Hong Kong Sevens.

See also

Related Research Articles

Rugby union Team sport, code of rugby football

Rugby union, commonly known simply as rugby, is a close-contact team sport that 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 played between two teams of 15 players each, using an oval-shaped ball on a rectangular field called a pitch. The field has H-shaped goalposts at both ends.

FC Porto Portuguese association football club

Futebol Clube do Porto, MHIH, OM, commonly known as FC Porto or simply Porto, is a Portuguese professional sports club based in Porto. It is best known for the professional football team playing in the Primeira Liga, the top flight of Portuguese football. Founded on 28 September 1893, Porto is one of the "Big Three" teams in Portugal – together with Lisbon-based rivals Benfica and Sporting CP, that have appeared in every season of the Primeira Liga since its establishment in 1934. They are nicknamed Dragões (Dragons), for the mythical creature atop the club's crest, and Azuis e brancos (Blue-and-whites), for the shirt colours. The club supporters are called Portistas. Since 2003, Porto have played their home matches at the Estádio do Dragão, which replaced the previous 51-year-old ground, the Estádio das Antas.

Primeira Liga Top division in Portuguese football

The Primeira Liga, also known as Liga Portugal Bwin for sponsorship reasons, is the top professional association football division of the Portuguese football league system. It is organised and supervised by the Liga Portuguesa de Futebol Profissional, also known as Liga Portugal. As of the 2014–15 season, the Primeira Liga is contested by 18 teams, with the two lowest placed teams relegated to the LigaPro and replaced by the top-two non-reserve teams from this division.

Portugal national rugby union team

The Portugal national rugby union team, nicknamed Os Lobos, represents Portugal in men's international rugby union competitions. The team as well as all rugby union in Portugal is administered by the Federação Portuguesa de Rugby. Portugal qualified for their first Rugby World Cup in 2007 where they were grouped in Pool C along with New Zealand, Italy, Romania and Scotland. They are nicknamed Os Lobos, Portuguese for "The Wolves".

Portuguese Rugby Federation

The Portuguese Rugby Federation is the governing body for rugby union in Portugal. It was founded in 1926 and became affiliated to the International Rugby Board in 1988. The Portuguese Rugby Federation organises the main rugby union championship of Portugal, the Campeonato Nacional de Rugby, and oversees the country's national teams—men's and women's, age-grade teams, and sevens teams for both men and women.

Rugby union in Russia

Rugby union in Russia is a moderately popular sport. Russia is ranked 20th worldwide by the World Rugby, having over three hundred clubs and close to 22,000 players nationally. Russian Rugby Championship is the top-level professional competition held in Russia. Krasnoyarsk, in the middle of Siberia, is traditionally the heartland of Russian rugby.

Rugby union in Fiji

Rugby union in Fiji is a popular team sport and is considered to be the national sport of the country. The sport was introduced to Fiji in the 1880s. Fiji is defined as a tier two rugby nation by World Rugby. The national team has competed at the Rugby World Cup and made it as far as the quarter finals. Their sevens team is also noted for their success, and have won the Rugby World Cup Sevens twice and the World Rugby Sevens Series three times.

Rugby union in Georgia

Rugby union in Georgia is a popular team sport. Rugby union is considered one of the most popular sport in Georgia.

Sport Lisboa e Benfica, commonly known as Benfica, is a professional handball team based in Lisbon, Portugal.

Andebol 1

The Campeonato Nacional de Andebol Masculino , also known simply as Andebol 1, is the premier handball league in Portugal and is overseen by the Portuguese Handball Federation.

S.L. Benfica (basketball) Portuguese professional basketball team

Sport Lisboa e Benfica, commonly known as Benfica, is a professional basketball team based in Lisbon, Portugal, who play in the Liga Portuguesa de Basquetebol (LPB). Created in 1927, it is the senior representative side of the basketball section of multi-sports club S.L. Benfica. In June 2007, the club decided to leave the professional top league, then known as LCB, and join the Proliga, a league organized by the Portuguese Basketball Federation. From 2008 onwards, they returned to the LPB after the federation took over the realms of the competition.

Sports in Portugal are important in Portuguese culture. Football is the most popular sport in Portugal. Other than football, many other professional or semi-professional well organized sport competitions take place every season in Portugal, including basketball, swimming, athletics, tennis, gymnastics, futsal, rink hockey, team handball, volleyball, surfing, canoeing and rugby union championships among the hundreds of sports played in this country.

The Campeonato Nacional de Rugby Divisão de Honra is Portugal's top level professional men's rugby union competition. The Divisão de Honra Championships are organised by the Federação Portuguesa de Rugby and currently consists of 12 teams. The last placed team in the competition is relegated at the end of the season to the Campeonato Nacional de Rugby I Divisão with one team from the second tier competition promoting to the Divisão de Honra.

Sport Lisboa e Benfica, commonly known as Benfica, is a Portuguese amateur rugby union team based in Lisbon. Benfica is one of the most ancient Portuguese rugby teams. The men's team competes in the Campeonato Português de Rugby - Divisão de Honra, the first tier of rugby union in Portugal. In June 2014, the club refused the invitation to join the first division. The women's section competed in the Campeonato Nacional, the first tier, but recent changes in the competition mean they only compete in Sevens.

Sport Lisboa e Benfica, commonly known as Benfica, is a semi-professional athletics team based in Lisbon, Portugal. Benfica compete in men's and women's domestic and international competitions.

Taça de Portugal Football tournament

The Taça de Portugal is an annual association football competition and the premier knockout tournament in Portuguese football. For sponsorship reasons, it has been known as Taça de Portugal Placard as of the 2015–16 season. Organised by the Portuguese Football Federation since it was first held in 1938, the competition is open to professional and amateur clubs from the top-four league divisions. Matches are played from August–September to May–June, and the final is traditionally held at the Estádio Nacional in Oeiras, near Lisbon. The winners qualify for the Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira and the UEFA Europa League.

The Campeonato Nacional de Rugby Feminino is the Portuguese top division of women's rugby. It is organised by the Portuguese Rugby Federation and was created in 2000, to fill the need of a women's league. Its inaugural winner was Pescadores da Costa da Caparica, who dominated the league alongside Agrária for the first five years. In 2007, Benfica broke their dominion and won three titles in a row, with Técnico stopping them in 2010. After another win for Benfica, Agrária won their fifth title in 2012, with Benfica matching that number in the competition last edition.

The Taça de Portugal de Rugby Feminino is annual Portuguese rugby union competition played by women's rugby teams of Portugal. It started in 2004, as the equivalent knock-out competition to the men's Portuguese Rugby Cup and is run by the Portuguese Rugby Federation. Initially played by 15 players, from 2009 that number fluctuated between 13 and 15. Starting in 2013, its only played by the Sevens variant.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Bath p73
  2. 1 2 Richards, Chapter 14 Journeys without Maps, p279
  3. European Rugby, retrieved 19 August 2009
  4. 1 2 Richards, Chapter 14 Journeys without Maps, p281