Australian Rugby Union

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Not to be confused with Australian Rugby League.
Australian Rugby Union
Association crest
Sport Rugby union
Founded 1949
WR affiliation 1949
Oceania Rugby affiliation 2000
Patron General Sir Peter Cosgrove,
Governor-General of Australia
Chairman Cameron Clyne
Bill Pulver
Men's coach Michael Cheika
Women's coach Tim Walsh (sevens)
Sevens coach Andy Friend

The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) is the governing body of rugby union in Australia. It was founded in 1949 and is a member of World Rugby (WR), the sport's international governing body. It consists of eight member unions, representing each state and territory. It organises the Australia national rugby union team, known as the Wallabies.


In 1874 the Southern Rugby Union was established, administered from Twickenham in England. The administration was handed over to New South Wales in 1881 and in 1892 the Southern Rugby Union of New South Wales and the Northern Rugby Union of Queensland (formed in 1883) became New South Wales and Queensland Rugby Unions respectively.

New South Wales, as the senior union, was responsible for the administration of all tours and for representing Australia on the International Rugby Board. However, in 1947 the various State Unions agreed that the future of rugby union in Australia would be better served by forming one administrative body. In 1948, the International Rugby Board invited Australia specifically (rather than a New South Wales representative), to take a seat on the Board.

The inaugural meeting of the Australian Rugby Football Union was held on 25 November 1949 with 11 delegates from New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and Victoria. The Australian Capital Territory became a member in 1972 and the Northern Territory an associate member in 1978. In 2004, the ACT union changed its name to the ACT and Southern NSW Rugby Union after two regional unions in southern New South Wales switched affiliation to the ACT union.

In 1985 the Australian Rugby Football Union was incorporated as a company and in 1997, it became simply The Australian Rugby Union Ltd.


The governing structures of the ARU were overhauled in December 2012,[1] following a review authored by the former federal senator and Minister for Sport, Mark Arbib.[2]


The ARU's members (shareholders) include the unions representing Australia's states and territories, together with the Super Rugby bodies within the country and the Rugby Union Players' Association (RUPA).[3] Members exercise their voting rights at the ARU's annual general meeting. Under the new constitution adopted in 2012, the eight existing member unions and RUPA each provide a delegate who has one allocated vote. Additionally, each of the Super Rugby teams also provide a delegate who has one allocated vote. At this stage, only the Rebels and Waratahs are independently administered so the votes for the other three teams are effectively controlled by the respective member unions that own each team. Finally, any delegate from a member union with more than 50,000 registered players in their region is granted a second vote. Only the New South Wales and Queensland unions exceed that mark at present, so the total number of members' votes is currently sixteen.[3] The ARU also has a number of affiliated groups that do not have voting rights.[3]

Division  Members Votes
ACT ACT and Southern NSW Rugby Union 2
NSW  New South Wales Rugby Union 2 3
 Waratahs Rugby 1
QLD Queensland Rugby Union 3
VIC  Victorian Rugby Union 1 2
 Melbourne Rebels 1
WA Rugby Western Australia 2
SA South Australian Rugby Union 1
TAS Tasmanian Rugby Union 1
NT Northern Territory Rugby Union 1
 Rugby Union Players' Association 1
Australian Barbarians Rugby Club
Australian Junior Rugby Union
Australian Schools Rugby Football Union
Australian Services Rugby Union
Australian Women's Rugby Union
Classic Wallabies
NSW New South Wales Country Rugby Union  
Sydney Rugby Union  

Note: The Australian Society of Rugby Referees, and Australian Universities Rugby Union were also previously non-voting affiliates until 2005 and 2014, respectively.

Prior to 2012, the voting franchise made no allowance for Super Rugby teams or the RUPA. The ARU simply allocated fourteen votes split as follows:[3]

  • NSW Rugby Union: 5
  • Queensland Rugby Union: 3
  • Other state and territory member unions: 1 each


National teams

  • Wallabies – the national rugby union team.
  • Wallaroos – the national women's rugby union team.

National sevens teams

  • Men's 7s – the national rugby union seven-a-side team.[4]
  • Women's 7s - the national women's seven-a-side rugby union team.

Other teams

Former teams

  • Australia A – the former second-level national rugby union team behind the Wallabies.
  • Under 21s – a former age graded side that has developed players who went on to become Wallabies.
  • Under 19s – a former age graded side that has developed players who went on to become Wallabies.
  • Junior Wallabies - a former side selected from uncapped players to play against touring Test teams.[5]

Hall of Fame[edit]

The ARUs promotes and selects a Hall of Fame honour. Each year three of Australia's greats from all eras of the international game are selected by an eight-man committee to be inducted into the Wallaby Hall of Fame. Inductees are drawn from all Test teams starting with the first side in 1899. One inductee must have played prior to World War 2 and the other two since the war. Consideration is given to a player's on-field career but induction is not based on statistical achievement alone.

To be eligible for inclusion in the Wallaby Hall of Fame, a player must have:

  • Played at least one Test for Australia
  • Been retired from Rugby for at least 10 years
  • Made a major contribution to the game of Rugby
  • Demonstrated outstanding ability, sportsmanship, commitment, character and personal contribution to their team and the game in their era.

Hall of Fame Members:[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ARU 2015, p. 52.
  2. ^ Arbib, Mark (2012). "Strengthening the Governance of Australian Rugby" (PDF 0.8 MB). Australian Rugby. Archived (PDF) from the original on 31 March 2016. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d "ARU takes historic step after members vote to adopt constitutional change". Australian Rugby. 10 December 2012. Archived from the original on 12 April 2016. Retrieved 12 April 2016. 
  4. ^ Australian Rugby Union. "Australian Sevens Rugby". Sevens Rugby website. Retrieved 2013-04-10. 
  5. ^ Australian Rugby Union. "Biographies - Norman Peter Reilly". Brave and Game. Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  6. ^ "Michael Lynagh inducted into Wallaby Hall of Fame". Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c "Australian Rugby welcomes three Wallaby greats into Hall of Fame". 24 October 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c "Wallabies full-back Israel Folau wins John Eales Medal for second successive year". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 27 August 2015. Archived from the original on 11 April 2016. Retrieved 11 April 2016. 


External links[edit]

Member webpages[edit]