Rugby union in Yugoslavia

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Rugby union in Yugoslavia

Emblem of SFR Yugoslavia.svg

Coat of arms of the SFRY
Country Yugoslavia
National team Yugoslavia
National competitions
Club competitions

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

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.

Yugoslavia 1918–1992 country in Southeastern and Central Europe

Yugoslavia was a country in Southeastern and Central Europe for most of the 20th century. It came into existence after World War I in 1918 under the name of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes by the merger of the provisional State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs with the Kingdom of Serbia, and constituted the first union of the South Slavic people as a sovereign state, following centuries in which the region had been part of the Ottoman Empire and then Austria-Hungary. Peter I of Serbia was its first sovereign. The kingdom gained international recognition on 13 July 1922 at the Conference of Ambassadors in Paris. The official name of the state was changed to Kingdom of Yugoslavia on 3 October 1929.

Socialist Republic of Croatia federated state of Yugoslavia 1943 and 1991

The Socialist Republic of Croatia was a constituent republic and federated state of Yugoslavia. By its constitution, modern-day Croatia is its direct continuation. Along with five other Yugoslav republics, it was formed during World War II and became a socialist republic after the war. It had four full official names during its 48-year existence. By territory and population, it was the second largest republic in Yugoslavia, after the Socialist Republic of Serbia.

Contents

Governing body

History

The Yugoslavia U-19 team in 1979 Yugoslavia U19 on FIRA Championship,Portugal 1979.jpg
The Yugoslavia U-19 team in 1979

1950s and 1960s

Some people date the start of Croatian rugby to the 17th of January 1954 when the Mladost team from Zagreb was formed to become Croatia's first rugby union club.

In 1953, the rival code of rugby league was introduced into Serbia, rather than rugby union played in Croatia and the authorities demanded that Serbian clubs switch to rugby union to unite Yugoslavia under one form of rugby football in 1964. [1]

Rugby league team sport, code of rugby football

Rugby league football is a full-contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular field. One of the two codes of rugby, it originated in Northern England in 1895 as a split from the Rugby Football Union over the issue of payments to players. Its rules progressively changed with the aim of producing a faster, more entertaining game for spectators.

Rugby refers to the team sports rugby league and rugby union. Legend claims that Rugby football was started around the time of 1845 in Rugby School, Rugby, Warwickshire, England, although forms of football in which the ball was carried and tossed date to medieval times. Rugby eventually split into two sports in 1895 when twenty one clubs split from the original Rugby Football Union, to form the Northern Union in the George Hotel, Huddersfield, Northern England over the issue of payment to players, thus making rugby league the first code to turn professional and pay its players, rugby union turned fully professional in 1995. Both sports are run by their respective world governing bodies World Rugby and the Rugby League International Federation. Rugby football was one of many versions of football played at English public schools in the 19th century. Although rugby league initially used rugby union rules, they are now wholly separate sports. In addition to these two codes, both American and Canadian football evolved from rugby football.

1970s and 1980s

Yugoslav rugby did not enjoy high reputation. For example, in 1988, an anonymous French rugby official joked that "one of the FIRA nightmares... is to have Yugoslavia playing Bulgaria refereed by a Soviet." [2]

The Yugoslavia national rugby union team used to represent Yugoslavia at Rugby union until the 1990s.

Bulgaria national rugby union team

The Bulgaria national rugby union team is governed by the Bulgarian Rugby Federation, and has yet to qualify for the Rugby World Cup.

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

The 1987 Rugby World Cup was the first Rugby Union World Cup. New Zealand and Australia agreed to co-host the tournament. New Zealand hosted 20 matches – 17 pool stage matches, two quarter-finals and the final – while Australia hosted 12 matches – seven pool matches, two quarter-finals and both semi-finals. The event was won by co-hosts New Zealand who were the strong favourites, and won all their matches comfortably. France were losing finalists, and Wales surprise third-place winners: Australia, having been second favourites, finished fourth after conceding crucial tries in the dying seconds of both the semi-final against France and the third-place play-off against Wales.

The 1991 Rugby World Cup was the second edition of the Rugby World Cup, and was jointly hosted by England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and France: at the time, the five European countries who participated in the Five Nations Championship. This was the first Rugby World Cup to be staged in the northern hemisphere, with England the hosts of the championship game. Following on from the success of the inaugural 1987 Rugby World Cup, the 1991 World Cup received increased attention and was seen as a major global sporting event for the first time. Also for the first time, qualifying competitions were introduced as the number of entrants had increased from 16 nations four years before to a total of 33 countries. The eight quarter-finalists from 1987 qualified automatically with the remaining eight spots contested through qualifiers by 25 countries. This however resulted in only one new side qualifying for the tournament, Western Samoa replacing Tonga. The same 16-team pool/knock-out format was used with just minor changes to the points system.

The former All Black scrum half Chris Laidlaw, writing at the end of the 1970s, saw rugby as a positive force in east-west relations at the time:

New Zealand national rugby union team mens rugby union team of New Zealand

The New Zealand national rugby union team, called the All Blacks, represents New Zealand in men's rugby union, which is known as the country's national sport. The team has won the last two Rugby World Cups, in 2011 and 2015 as well as the inaugural tournament in 1987.

Chris Laidlaw New Zealand politician-sportsman

Christopher Robert Laidlaw is a New Zealand politician and former rugby union player, Rhodes Scholar, public servant, diplomat and radio host.

"Rugby has become the ping-pong of outdoor sports in its capacity to spread goodwill between East and West. Over the last 30 or 40 years it has spread through Eastern Europe, establishing itself strongly in Rumania and Yugoslavia, Hungary and into the USSR. The fact that a Russian team [sic] has finally played a full-scale, if unofficial Test match against France speaks for itself." [3]

Yugoslavia affiliated to the IRB in 1988, [4] and played in the 1988 World Cup qualification.

Due to the links between many Yugoslav (mostly Croat) and New Zealand families, the side also toured there. [4]

Break up of Yugoslavia

1. Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2. Croatia, 3. Macedonia,
4. Montenegro, 5. Serbia,
5a. Kosovo, 5b. Vojvodina, 6. Slovenia

In the early 1990s, former Italian cap, Dr Giancarlo Tizanini was a major driving force in Austrian rugby. Before his death in 1994, he tried hard to establish a Central European equivalent of the Six Nations between Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia. [5]

Popularity

Rugby union was a moderately popular sport in Yugoslavia (a name which Serbia retained long after the disintegration of that state). Although rugby union in Croatia was the main centre for the sport in the former Yugoslavia, there was still quite a bit of rugby played in Serbia. The Rugby Championship of Yugoslavia ran from 1957-1991. Partizan, a Belgrade team, won the second, third, and fourth title, as well as the final one in 1991 and Dinamo Pančevo won the first ever championship played in 1957, and won again in 1968, 1969, 1974 and 1979. Dinamo Pančevo won their first Cup in the same year.

Domestic competition

National team

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

See also

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The Yugoslavia men's national under-19 basketball team, commonly referred to as the Yugoslavia men's national junior basketball team, was the boy's basketball team, administered by Basketball Federation of Yugoslavia, that represented SFR Yugoslavia in international under-19 men's basketball competitions, consisting mainly of the World Championship for Junior Men.

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References

Sources

Footnotes

  1. Cotton, p17
  2. Thau, Chris Soviet Rugby in Starmer-Smith, Nigel & Robertson, Ian (eds) The Whitbread Rugby World '89 (Lennard Books, 1988 ISBN   1-85291-038-0), p 47
  3. Laidlaw, p52
  4. 1 2 http://www.rfu.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/RFUHome.Touchline_Detail/storyId/439/sectionId/85
  5. Bath, Richard (ed.) The Complete Book of Rugby (Seven Oaks Ltd, 1997 ISBN   1-86200-013-1) p63

See also