Test match (rugby union)

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A test match in rugby union is an international match, usually played between two senior national teams, that is recognised as such by at least one of the teams' national governing bodies. [1] [2]

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.


Some teams do not represent a single country but their international games are still considered test matches (for example the British and Irish Lions and the Pacific Islanders). Likewise some countries award caps for games between their full national teams and some invitation teams such as the Barbarians.

British and Irish Lions rugby union team

The British & Irish Lions is a rugby union team selected from players eligible for any of the Home Nations – the national teams of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. The Lions are a Test side, and generally select international players, but they can pick uncapped players available to any one of the four unions. The team currently tours every four years, with these rotating among Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. The 2009 Test series was lost 1–2 to South Africa, while the 2013 Test series was won 2–1 over Australia. The most recent series, the 2017 series against New Zealand, was drawn 1-1.

The Pacific Islanders was a combined international rugby union team that played from 2004 to 2008. It represented Fiji, Samoa and Tonga; Niue and the Cook Islands also supplied players to the squad for the Pacific Islanders' tour in 2004, despite not being members of the Pacific Tri-Nations competition. The team did not play at Rugby World Cups, where each of the nations continued to represent themselves.

Barbarian F.C. rugby union team

The Barbarian Football Club, usually called the Barbarians and nicknamed the Baa-Baas, is an invitational rugby union team based in Britain. The Barbarians play in black and white hoops, though players wear the socks from their own club strip. Membership is by invitation, and as of 2011, players from 31 countries had played for the Barbarians. Traditionally at least one uncapped player is selected for each match.


The first men's international game of rugby football – between Scotland and England – was played at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh, the home ground of Edinburgh Academicals, on 27 March 1871. (This was six years before the first cricket test match, one year before the first association football international and 24 years before the first field hockey international.)

Scottish Rugby Union governing body of rugby union in Scotland

The Scottish Rugby Union is the governing body of rugby union in Scotland. It is the second oldest Rugby Union, having been founded in 1873, as the Scottish Football Union. The SRU oversees the national league system, known as the Scottish League Championship. The SRU is headed by the President and Chairman, with Mark Dodson acting as the Chief Executive Officer. Bradbury became the first female president of a Tier 1 rugby nation upon her appointment on the 4th August 2018.

England national rugby union team sportsteam in rugby union

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, 13 times winning the Grand Slam and 25 times winning the Triple Crown, making them the most successful team in the tournament's history. They are ranked third in the world by the International Rugby Board as of 3 February 2019. 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 and 2007.

Edinburgh City and council area in Scotland

Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and one of its 32 council areas. Historically part of the county of Midlothian, it is located in Lothian on the Firth of Forth's southern shore.

The first recorded use of the word in relation to sport occurs in 1861 [3] when it was used, especially by journalists, to designate the most important (but at that stage non-international) games played as part of a cricket tour by an unofficial English team to Australia and it is thought to arise [4] from the idea that the matches were a "test of strength and competency" between the sides involved. When official and fully representative Australian and English cricket and rugby teams began touring each other's countries a decade or so later the term gradually began to be applied by journalists exclusively to the international fixtures on each tour, though this was not widespread until well into the 1880s. [4]

An English cricket team toured Australia in 1861–62. This was the first-ever tour of Australia by any overseas team and the second tour abroad by an English team, following the one to North America in 1859. The team is sometimes referred to as H. H. Stephenson's XI.

Recognizing official test status

Unlike in cricket, where the ICC tightly controls the application of "Test match" status, World Rugby's regulations do not define a "test match". They define an "international match" as "a Match played between National Representative Teams selected by Unions". [5] In rugby union, test match status and caps may be awarded by either team's governing body regardless of the decision of their opponents.[ citation needed ]

International Cricket Council governing body for the sport of cricket

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is the global governing body of cricket. It was founded as the Imperial Cricket Conference in 1909 by representatives from Australia, England and South Africa. It was renamed as the International Cricket Conference in 1965, and took up its current name in 1989.

World Rugby rugby union international governing body

World Rugby is the world governing body for the sport of rugby union. World Rugby organises the Rugby World Cup every four years, the sport's most recognised and most profitable competition. It also organises a number of other international rugby competitions, such as the World Rugby Sevens Series, the Rugby World Cup Sevens, the World Under 20 Championship, and the Pacific Nations Cup.

Cap (sport) sports game

In sport, a cap is a metaphorical term for a player's appearance in a game at international level. The term dates from the practice in the United Kingdom of awarding a cap to every player in an international match of association football. In the early days of football, the concept of each team wearing a set of matching shirts had not been universally adopted, so each side would distinguish itself from the other by wearing a specific sort of cap.

Although both teams' governing bodies do not need to recognise the match as a test match for caps to be awarded, it is rare that they should disagree. The only existing example remaining in men's rugby involving two top-tier nations concerns games played by the New South Wales Waratahs against the New Zealand All Blacks in the 1920s. As there was very little rugby union played in Australia outside of New South Wales, the Australian Rugby Union retroactively awarded caps to the players from the 1920s Waratahs that played against the All Blacks, however the New Zealand Rugby Union has not done the same for All Blacks that played in those matches. [6]

New South Wales Waratahs Super Rugby franchise based in Sydney

The New South Wales Waratahs ( or ; referred to as the Waratahs, are an Australian rugby union team representing the majority of New South Wales in the Super Rugby competition. The Riverina and other southern parts of the state, are represented by the Brumbies, who are based in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.

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.

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

Differences in recognition now almost always involve matches between the senior national team of a nation outside the traditional top tier and an official developmental side of a top-tier nation.[ citation needed ] Depending on the policy of the lower-tier union, these matches may or may not be fully capped for that national team. For example, before a change in policy by USA Rugby after the 2008 Churchill Cup,[ citation needed ] it awarded full national caps when the its senior national team played developmental sides, such as England Saxons, Ireland Wolfhounds, Scotland A, Argentina A and the Junior All Blacks.

However, in women's rugby matters are less clear. The first women's "test" took place in 1982 between the Netherlands and France, but the sport was not widely accepted or recognised by many existing national Unions or the International Rugby Board for many years, nor had it attracted significant media interest. Some unions do not officially recognise any tests played before they became responsible for the women's game – for example the French Union (FFR) does not list any games before 1989, [7] and the IRB did not (until recently) recognise the first two women's World Cups. [8]

See also


  1. Farmer, Stuart. "Statistics – What constitutes a Test match?". espnscrum.com. Archived from the original on 27 June 2013. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  2. "Rugby Glossary". espnscrum.com. Archived from the original on 4 July 2013. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  3. "Stump The Bearded Wonder No 17". BBC Sport. 21 December 2001. Archived from the original on 18 March 2004. Retrieved 30 November 2010.
  4. 1 2 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-12-23. Retrieved 2011-04-19. |title=Rowland Bowen - Cricket: A History of its Growth and Development Throughout the World (1970)
  5. World Rugby Handbook, 2018
  6. "pick and go - Rugby Union Test & Super14 results and statistics". www.lassen.co.nz. Archived from the original on 2011-07-20.
  7. "Retrouvez le palmarès de l'équipe de France depuis l'intégration à la FFR en juillet 1989" (in French). Fédération Française de Rugby. Archived from the original on 5 October 2010. Retrieved 30 November 2010.
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-09-03. Retrieved 2011-08-05.

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