As of 2018[update], Rugby Africa has 37 member nations and runs several rugby tournaments for national teams, including the Africa Cup which is the main 15-a-side competition for African national teams.
Rugby Africa was founded in 1986 as the Confederation of African Rugby (CAR) to promote, develop, organise and administer the game of rugby in Africa. It was renamed Rugby Africa in December 2014.
The President of Rugby Africa is the Tunisian Khaled Babbou.
The Confederation of African Rugby (French: Confédération Africaine de Rugby) was officially launched in January 1986 in Tunis. The inaugural members at the meeting were Ivory Coast, Kenya, Madagascar, Morocco, Senegal, the Seychelles, Tanzania and Tunisia. A meeting was held in July 1992 in Casablanca with the view of integrating the SARFU into the confederation. South Africa had been denied entry until this time because of the government policy of apartheid (South African rugby had been governed by the mainly white South African Rugby Board and the mainly black South African Rugby Union). In March 1992 these were formally combined to form the South African Rugby Football Union (SARFU). The Confederation now has 37 member nations.
African Rugby Charter
The African Rugby Charter was signed by the President of CAR, Abdelaziz Bougja, the then President of the South African Rugby Union (SARFU) Brian van Rooyen, in the presence of former South African president Nelson Mandela, and the South African Minister of Sport, Makhenkesi Stofile.
We, the undersigned, hereby confirm our commitment to realising the potential of African rugby...
THAT, on this day, the creation of the African Leopards, Rugby Union in Africa will develop its own heroes and heroines;
THAT, developing rugby nations throughout Africa will be assisted with adequate human and physical resources to develop their playing potential at all levels;
THAT, every African boy and girl may soon have the opportunity to play the sport of Rugby Football.— Signed on this 23rd day of July, 2005 at Johannesburg, South Africa.
Tournaments run by Rugby Africa include:
- Africa Cup, for national men's fifteen-a-side teams played annually in several divisions:
- Africa Men's Sevens – annual continental tournament for national seven-a-side teams
- Africa Women's Sevens - annual continental tournament for national seven-a-side teams
The CAR formed agreements in 2014 which allowed member unions from Anglophone and Francophone nations in Africa to access training programs within the sports academies and administrative headquarters of the South African Rugby Union and French Rugby Federation, respectively. These agreements, designed to foster rugby development across the continent, were signed in January 2015, and followed earlier arrangements with the SARU and French club Castres Olympique which were made in 2006.
|World Rugby member unions|
|Union||World Rugby membership|
|Algeria||Full member ||2021|
|Burundi||Full member ||2021|
|Ghana||Full member [note 1]||2004|
|Ivory Coast||Full member||1988|
|Rwanda||Full member [note 2]||2004|
|South Africa||Full member||1949|
|Cameroon||Suspended [note 3]||1999|
|Mauritania||Suspended [note 4]||2003|
In addition, the following unions are not members of World Rugby, but are either full or affiliate members of Rugby Africa, or non-member countries working with the governing body:
|Rugby Africa member unions|
|Union||Rugby Africa status|
|Mayotte||Non-member [note 5]|
|Réunion||Non-member [note 6]|
- Ghana joined World Rugby as an associate member in 2004, and became a full member in 2017.
- Rwanda joined World Rugby as an associate member in 2004, and became a full member in 2015.
- Cameroon joined World Rugby as a full member in 1999, but had their membership suspended in November 2013 due to "inactivity and a failure to meet criteria for continued membership".
- Mauritania joined World Rugby as a full member in 2003, but had their membership suspended in November 2013 due to "inactivity and a failure to meet criteria for continued membership".
- Mayotte is an overseas region of France and rugby is governed by a committee of the World Rugby-affiliated French Rugby Federation.
- Réunion is an overseas region of France and rugby is governed by a committee of the World Rugby-affiliated French Rugby Federation.
The African Leopards are a representative team from Africa which aims to promote the sport throughout the whole of Africa. The Leopards played their first ever match in July 2005 at Ellis Park as a curtain raiser between Springboks and Australia.
- "General Assembly 2014" (Press release). RA. 17 December 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
- Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, Founder and CEO of APO Group and Abdelaziz Bougja, Chairman of World Rugby's African association, Rugby Africa during the signing ceremony of the agreement under which APO Group becomes the main Official Sponsor of Rugby Africa, at Royal Garden Hotel on November 12, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images for APO Group). Getty Images. November 12, 2017.
- APO Group becomes the Official Partner of World Rugby’s African association, Rugby Africa. CNBC Africa. November 12, 2017.
- Nauright, John; Parrish, Charles (2012). Sports Around the World. 1. ABC CLIO. p. 146. ISBN 9781598843002.
- Ken Borland, CAR drives Rugby's growth through Africa. The Southern Times. 11 April 2014.
- Agreements signed. Rugby Afrique. 6 January 2015.
- "World Rugby Handbook" (PDF). World Rugby. 14 January 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 May 2016. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
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- "Rwanda welcomed as full member union of World Rugby" (Press release). World Rugby. 12 November 2015. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
- "Indonesia becomes full member and Brunei associate member of IRB as two African unions suspended". The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations. 21 November 2013. Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 27 November 2013.
- "Unions - Rugby Afrique". Rugby Africa. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
- "General Assembly 2016" (Press release). Rugby Afrique. Retrieved 15 December 2016.