|Rugby union in Vanuatu|
|Governing body||Vanuatu Rugby Football Union|
Rugby union in Vanuatu , formerly known as the New Hebrides is a popular sport.Vanuatu is a tier three rugby union playing nation. They began playing international rugby union in 1966 and have yet to make the Rugby World Cup.
Despite its size and lack of club infrastructure, there are 2143 registered players of rugby union, 100 of whom are female, and there are fifteen clubs.Although some may argue about the true 'number of players' involved in the game, no one can deny the slow progress the game has had in a nation where politics and sport go hand in hand
The national side is ranked 91st in the world (as of June, 2009)and has played just 8 matches.
The governing body is the Vanuatu Rugby Football Union based at Port Vila.However, political influences has seen the national body crumble under allegations of corruption by the governing body and those who head it. This led to matches being postponed until recently when outside parties had to intervene.
Rugby union reached Vanuatu via both the French and the British, as well as contacts with neighbouring islands. Before independence in 1980, the New Hebrides were a unique form of colonial territory in which sovereignty was shared by two great powers - Britain and France - instead of exercised by just one. The Condominium divided the New Hebrides into two separate communities — one Anglophone and one Francophone. This divide continues even after independence, with schools either teaching in one language or the other, and between different political parties.
Teams from Vanuatu have competed with teams from the Solomon Islands although usually with not much success.
In the 1980’s and 1990’s an expatriate team in Port Vila, the Berocca’s, regularly played local teams within Port Vila and hosted visiting Australian and New Zealand Navy teams. These games fostered the growth of local rugby and the talent within the local teams.
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The Vanuatu national rugby union team represents Vanuatu in the sport of rugby union. The team is classified as a tier three nation by the International Rugby Board (IRB), and has yet to qualify for a Rugby World Cup. Its international debut was in 1966. The team is nicknamed the Tuskers, after the pig tusks prized as currency in some parts of the country. The tusks also appear on the country's flag.
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The French Republic and the Republic of Vanuatu have long-standing bilateral relations which have varied over the years between tense and amicable. Vanuatu, then known as the New Hebrides, was a Franco-British condominium from 1906 to 1980, and maintained formal relations with both of its former colonial masters after gaining independence. Franco–Vanuatuan relations were rocked by a series of crises in the 1980s, and broke down completely on several occasions, with Vanuatu expelling the French ambassador in 1981, in 1984 and in 1987. Relations improved from the 1990s onwards and, today, France provides development aid to Vanuatu. The two countries also share amicable economic and cultural relations; both are members of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie.
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The Vanuatu Rugby Football Union, or VRFU, is the governing body for rugby union in Vanuatu. It was established in the 1960s, but only became fully affiliated to the International Rugby Board (IRB) in 1999.