This article needs to be updated.(February 2018)
The most successful teams in women's international rugby union have been England, France, and New Zealand.
Women's international rugby union has a history going back to the late 19th century but it was not until 1982 that the first international fixture involving women's rugby union took place. The match was organised in connection with the Dutch Rugby Union's 50th anniversary. As part of the celebrations on June 13, 1982 the French national women's team played the Dutch, in Utrecht, Netherlands, with France winning 4–0 in a game that has since been recognised as the first ever women's international rugby union match.
The France women's national rugby union team first played in 1982.
The Netherlands women's national rugby union team are a national sporting side of Netherlands, representing them at rugby union. The side first played in 1982.
The Sweden women's national rugby union team are a national sporting side of Sweden, representing them at rugby union. The side first played in 1984.
The Canada women's national rugby union team is governed by Rugby Canada, and plays in red and black. They were ranked 5th in World Rugby's inaugural women's rankings and are currently ranked as the second best team in the world.
The Czech Republic women's national rugby union team first played in 2004.
The Kenya women's national rugby union team are a national sporting side of Kenya, representing them at rugby union. The side first played in 2006.
Although the IRB produce a complex and continually updated ranking for men's international rugby they do not compile any ranking system for the women's game. Rugby statistician Serge Piquet has produced a currently unofficial, but generally accepted, world ranking, but where rankings are referred to by some boards these will normally be the finishing positions in the previous Women's Rugby World Cup (which only takes place every four years and will only include those countries that qualified for the finals).
The Women's Rugby World Cup is the premier international competition in rugby union for women. The tournament is organised by the sport's governing body, World Rugby. The championships are currently held every four years; the event was most recently held in Ireland in 2017. World Rugby has reset the tournament on a new four-year cycle to avoid conflict with the Olympics and Women's World Cup Sevens; World Cups will thus be held every four years after 2017.
The IRB's seedings for each World Cup are also influenced by positions in the previous tournament, but not entirely decided by them. The table below shows the final positions for the 2014 tournament and is therefore the closest thing to an "official" IRB ranking:
The 2014 Women's Rugby World Cup was the seventh edition of the Women's Rugby World Cup, and the sixth held in Europe. The World Cup Final took place on August 17.
Rugby Europe, formerly known as FIRA-AER, do produce an annual ranking of European nations, based on previous season's Rugby Europe and Six Nations competitions, for use in RE tournaments (though Six Nations teams are often given a higher seeding in tournaments than their ranking might suggest). As these will be based on more recent performances they can contradict the IRB list and also include countries not featuring in the World Cup-based ranking. On the other hand, they obviously only include European nations. Rankings(based on previous season results) appear to be:
Rugby Europe is the administrative body for rugby union in Europe. It was formed in 1999 to promote, develop, organise and administer the game of rugby in Europe under the authority of World Rugby.
In rugby union, the Women's European Championship is an international competition contested between women's national teams who are members of Rugby Europe. The competition has its origins in a four nation "European Cup" held in 1988 but did not become an official FIRA competition until 1995. The competition has grown significantly and is some years attracts sufficient entrants for it to be divided into two "Pools" with the eight highest ranked entrants in any year in Pool A.
The Women's Six Nations Championship is an international rugby union competition contested between six European women's national teams. The competition began as a "Home International Championship" for the four home nations in 1996.
Detailed results from a small number of tournaments, especially in Africa and Asia, have never been published. The following table therefore relates to the published tournament results. Note: Almost all of New Zealand's sevens matches - apart from the 2009 World Cup and qualifier and two Hong Kong Sevens - have been played by "Aotearoa Maori" and (before 2000) "New Zealand Wild Ducks". While in some cases they were officially sanctioned by the NZRU, neither were full New Zealand teams, and occasionally included players not eligible to play for New Zealand. As a result, they are not included in the table below. The playing record of these unofficial New Zealand teams is: Played 59, Won 55, Lost 4, 93.22%.
|1997|| Arabian Gulf; |
As with rankings for 15-a-side rugby, IRB rankings for Sevens are based on the finishing positions in the previous World Cup. The table below shows the final positions for the 2009 tournament:
|2009 World Cup||Nation|
Rugby Europe also produce an annual ranking of European nations, based on previous season's RE championships which are used for the following season's tournaments. Current rankings are:
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 at each end.
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.
The Pacific Nations Cup is an international rugby union competition held between three Pacific nations: Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. The 2019 edition of the tournament will also include the national teams of Canada, Japan and United States. First held in 2006, the tournament is intended to strengthen the Tier 2 rugby nations by providing competitive test matches in a tournament format.
The 1993 Rugby World Cup Sevens was held at Murrayfield in Edinburgh, Scotland, in April 1993. This tournament was the inaugural Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament. The International Rugby Board invited the established rugby union nations but also were keen to involve emerging nations in the event, recognising the fact that Sevens was providing the bridge between the developed rugby nations and those whose rugby union traditions were less well established.
The World Rugby Pacific Challenge, formerly the IRB Pacific Rugby Cup, is an annual rugby union football tournament held in Oceania since 2006. It is contested by national 'A' teams from the Asia-Pacific region. The tournament is run by World Rugby through Oceania Rugby.
The Russia national rugby union team, nicknamed the Bears, is administered by the Rugby Union of Russia (RUR). The RUR is considered the official successor union of the Soviet Union by World Rugby and the combined CIS team which played in the early 1990s. Since 1992, the team has played as Russia. Its first test match as Russia was against the Barbarians in Moscow in June 1992 and the country's first test against an official Test nation was against Belgium later that same year.
Rugby union is the national sport of Tonga. Tonga are considered to be a tier 2 rugby nation by the International Rugby Board.
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.
The Denmark national rugby union team is governed by Dansk Rugby Union and has been playing international rugby since 1949.
The Tonga national rugby sevens team competes in the IRB World Sevens Series. Tonga has participated in five Rugby World Cup Sevens.
Rugby union is a growing sport in Asia, governed by the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU). As of December 2009 there are 28 ARFU member unions, of whom 15 are full members of the International Rugby Board (IRB), and six further associate members of the IRB in Asia. The flagship tournament for promoting the sport in Asia is the Asian Five Nations, which launched in 2008, and which most recently in 2011 saw the national teams of Hong Kong, Japan, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka and the UAE, compete in the main tournament.
The USSR national rugby union team was a sporting side that represented the Soviet Union in rugby union until the early 1990s.
Rugby union in Hong Kong is long established, partly as a result of its being a British colony. In contrast to the People's Republic of China, it has had a continuous existence dating back over a hundred years, and is most notable for the Hong Kong Sevens tournament, the most well known of the rugby sevens tournaments. The top domestic club competition is the HKRFU Premiership.
The 2012 autumn internationals, also known as the autumn tests, November tests and, in the Southern Hemisphere, the end of year tests, were international rugby union matches. They were predominantly played between visiting Southern Hemisphere countries and European nations.
The 2012–14 European Nations Cup First Division is the premier rugby union competition below the Six Nations Championship in Europe. It is divided into two tiers; Division 1A and Division 1B.
The 2012–14 European Nations Cup Second Division is the third tier rugby union in Europe behind the Six Nations Championship and the 2012-2014 European Nations Cup First Division.
The 2014–16 European Nations Cup First Division is the premier rugby union competition below the Six Nations Championship in Europe. It is divided into two tiers; Division 1A and Division 1B.
The 2014–16 European Nations Cup Second Division is the third tier rugby union in Europe behind the Six Nations Championship and the 2014–16 European Nations Cup First Division.