Germany national rugby union team
|Emblem||Bundesadler (Federal Eagle)|
|Head coach||Kobus Potgieter|
|Captain||Carlos Bolts Horn|
|Most caps||Alexander Widiker (40)|
|Top scorer||Raynor Parkinson (143)|
|Top try scorer||Tim Kasten (19)|
|World Rugby ranking|
|Current||23 (as of 14 November 2016)|
|France 30 − 5 Germany
(17 April 1927)
|Germany 108 − 0 Serbia and Montenegro
(12 November 2005)
|Russia 89 − 6 Germany
(16 April 2000)
Germany is a third-tier rugby union playing nation. Germany currently plays at the second level of European rugby but has never qualified for the Rugby World Cup. The national team first played in 1927, with rugby union in Germany being administered by the German Rugby Federation (Deutscher Rugby-Verband).
The German national team regularly competes in the European Nations Cup, the senior men's rugby tournament for European nations below the Six Nations. Following victory in Division 2A of that tournament in 2007–08, Germany competed in Division One, the top tier of the European Nations Cup, where it suffered defeat in every game and relegation. With the exception of some players who play in France, the German team is still largely an amateur side.
Germany's greatest achievement in men's rugby is arguably the silver medal won at the 1900 Olympic Games.
Germany recently caused an upset downing the more fancied Uruguay side at home.
- 1 History
- 2 Competitions
- 3 Match results
- 4 Squad
- 5 Rankings
- 6 Germany captains
- 7 Germany coaches
- 8 Silver medal team 1900
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The German rugby union team's history began on 17 April 1927, when they played France in Paris, losing 5–30. The team established itself in their early years as number two in continental Europe, behind the French. They played 14 tests against their neighbour before the Second World War, winning two of them. As an indication of the team's strength, they did not lose to any team but France until 1937, when Italy beat them 9–7. Because Germany never played any of the Home nations, it is difficult to judge the true strength of the team from that era.
With the outbreak of the war in 1939, rugby came to a halt and Germany only played one more game, against Italy, in 1940. Germany lost almost a complete first XV in the war, and thus came out of it as a much weaker side, never able to repeat its pre-war successes.
Post-Second World War
After an absence of 12 years, Germany, now considerably reduced in size and under the name of Federal Republic of Germany, played its first post-war international in 1952, beating Belgium 16–9. At the same time, in the Eastern part of the country, the German Democratic Republic, the German Democratic Republic national rugby union team was formed. The DRV continued to offer the East German DTSB to play a rugby friendly, but this was always declined by the East.
Until 1965, Germany played friendlies only as there was no European rugby competition it could take part in.
From 1965, it became part of the second tier of FIRA rugby, effectively the third tier of European rugby, the Five nations tournament being outside the FIRA structure. In 1975, it played its first international against a non-European nation, beating Morocco in Hannover.
The team's greatest success in the second half of the 20th century was promotion to the A group of FIRA rugby in 1981. From 1981 to 1983, Germany played ten games at this level, but won just one and were relegated back to the B level. After this, the team dropped briefly to the C level in 1985 but promptly returned to the second tier.
With the German reunification, in 1991, the German Democratic Republic national rugby union team was dissolved and became part of the Federal Republic's team. In 1994, Horst Kemmling, Germany's long-standing captain, ended his international career, having played a record number of 50 games for Germany from 1976 onwards.
With the reorganisation of the European Nations Cup in 2000, Germany became part of the second division.
Centenary and Barbarians tour
In 2000 the German Rugby Federation celebrated its centenary. Centenary celebrations included a banquet in the Heidelberg Castle and the hosting of the European leg of the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Heidelberg, in which the German team came close to upsetting Ireland, who had Gordon D'Arcy in their line-up. The tournament was won by the Welsh team, which featured Andy Marinos and Arwel Thomas.
The highlight of the Centenary season was the Centenary Match against the famous Barbarians. The Barbarians included a host of internationals including Scott Hastings, Peter Stringer, Shaun Longstaff, Jeff Probyn, Frankie Sheahan, Russell Earnshaw, Shaun Connor, John Langford and Derwyn Jones and won 47-19 against a determined German team.
It remained at this level until 2008, when it achieved promotion to the top level, facing Europe's number 7 to 11 teams in 2009 and 2010. Its declared aim at this level was to avoid relegation; qualification for the 2011 Rugby World Cup was not really expected from the team.
With over 8,000 spectators, Germany's home game against the Netherlands in Hanover, at the Rudolf-Kalweit-Stadion in April 2007, achieved the best crowd figures for a rugby match in Germany since the pre-Second World War days.
Germany was unbeaten at home from 12 November 2000, when it lost to Ukraine, until 8 November 2008, when it lost to a Welsh selection.
In March 2009, coach Mark Kuhlmann stepped down after three and a half years in office, while the other two coaches Rudolf Finsterer and Bruno Stolorz, remained in the job. Stolorz was seconded to the German team by the Fédération française de rugby to improve Germany's performance in the sport.
After five losses in the European Nations Cup in 2009, Germany achieved a win in a friendly against Hong Kong late in the year. Germany also managed a 15–12 victory over Switzerland but, as the German team had only one regular player in its side, captain Kehoma Brenner, the team was referred to as Germany A. Mustafa Güngör became Germany's new captain on 8 December 2009, after the retirement of the previous captain Jens Schmidt, and played his first game in this role four days later, against Hong Kong,. Germany fielded eight uncapped players in this game. A planned game against the British Forces in Germany in January 2010 had to be called off twice because of bad weather.
Despite disappointing results on the field and the distinct possibility of Germany being relegated, the sport made some progress in the country in 2009–10. With the admittance of sevens rugby to the Olympic Games, rugby in Germany is now eligible for federal grants. Additionally, the Bundeswehr, the German army, has agreed to admit eight to ten players per year to its sports program, making those players effectively professionals.
In October 2009, the DRV decided to set its aim at playing two friendlies every year in November at home and two in January abroad. It also plans to organise a 10-day tour in Europe every year from 2013.
After disappointing results against Georgia, Portugal and Romania in spring 2010, the teams performance improved against Russia. In its final ENC game against Spain, where a victory by eleven points was needed, Germany played their best game in the campaign yet but nevertheless lost and was relegated. As a consequence, coach Rudolf Finsterer resigned after ten years of service. He was replaced by Torsten Schippe in July 2010, with South African Jakobus Potgieter as Schippes assistant.
Germany suffered a defeat in its opening game of the 2010–2012 European Nations Cup First Division B, losing to Poland 17–22 after leading 17–9 at half time. The defeat was seen as unnecessary by the President of the German Rugby Federation, Claus-Peter Bach, but he also considered Poland's victory as deserved. Germany went into the match with a new coach and assistant, a new captain, Alexander Widiker and five uncapped players.
Germany finally achieved its first win in the ENC since 26 April 2008, when it beat the Netherlands in Amsterdam on 27 November 2010. Its last victory in the European competition had come at the same place against the same opposition, just over 31 month earlier.
After a disappointing first half of the campaign, where Germany only won one of its five games, the team improved and won three in the second half, consequently finishing fourth overall out of six teams. With the final game against Moldova, Germany's captain Alexander Widiker played his 50th game for his country, thereby equaling Horst Kemmling's record.
Germany again competed in the European Nations Cup First Division B in 2012–2014, once more facing Poland, Moldova and the Czech Republic. Additionally, it also competed against the Ukraine, relegated from the A group, and Sweden, promoted from the Second Division. Germany's first match was on 27 October when it played Ukraine at home. Before that the team played an unofficial warm up match against the New Zealand Ambassador’s XV on 13 October 2012, a team that featured former All Black Keith Lowen in its ranks, and ended in a 22–20 victory for Germany.
Germany won its opening match against the Ukraine 46–28, a game in which captain Alexander Widiker became the country's record international rugby union player with 51 games. After a loss to Poland, Germany finished 2012 with a win over Moldova. The German team lost a warm up match to a Welsh student selection in February 2013 before winning its first competitive match in 2013, against Czech Republic, 27-8. Germany finished the first phase of the campaign with a 73-17 victory over Sweden.
Germany's coach Torsten Schippe resigned from his post in April 2013, citing work commitments as the reason, despite achieving good results with his team.
Schippe was replaced by his assistant Kobus Potgieter as coach of the German team. Germany started the autumn of 2013 with two wins in friendlies against the B team of the Czech Republic and the New Zealand Ambassador’s XV, the later with former All Black captain Taine Randell in its ranks. It then won its away match against the Ukraine before winning at home against Poland, thereby taking back the lead in its division. Germany lost its last game of 2013, 15–30 to Moldova, but won comfortably 76–12 against the Czech Republic in April 2014. This game was to be the 58th and last for German captain and record international Alexander Widiker as he retired from international rugby after that.
Germany's last game of the 2012–14 campaign was against Sweden on 26 April where a bonus point win would guarantee the side the championship, promotion and an advancement in the Rugby World Cup qualifying. Germany won the game 45–20 to advance to a play-off game against the Netherlands in the 2015 Rugby World Cup – Europe qualification, which they won 17-7. They played Russia for a chance to qualify for the Repechage and lead 20–17 up to the 77th minute but eventually lost 20–31 and were knocked out of the qualifying.
Germany is competing in the European Nations Cup First Division 1A in 2014–16. It is facing Georgia, Portugal, Romania, Russia and Spain in this competition, the same opponents it faced at its last stint at this level when it lost all ten games and was relegated. Germany began its ENC campaign in February 2015 with a 8–64 loss against Georgia. It also lost the following four games against Russia, Portugal, Romania and Spain. Germany thereby ended the first half of the 2014–16 campaign in sixth and last place with just one point out of five games, a bonus point earned against Rumania.
Germany played two friendlies against Brazil, on 28 November in Blumenau, and 4 December in São Paulo as warm-up matches for the upcoming European Nations Cup games. In the first-ever game against a South American opponent Germany won 29–12 and thereby climbed to 27th spot in the world ranking. After losing the first two games of the 2016 campaign Germany defeated Portugal 50–27 in Hanover in front of over 8,000 spectators. After losing to Romania Germany drew their final game of the campaign, against Spain, thereby finishing in fifth place, above Portugal, and avoiding relegation.
The performance of the German team since introduction of the European Nations Cup in 2000.
European Nations Cup
|Years||Division||W/L (Pts Diff)||Position||Promotion /
|2002–2004||Second Division||5–2 (+102)||2nd||—|
|2006–2008||Second Division||6–2 (+67)||1st||Promoted|
|2008–2010||First Division||0–10 (–409)||6th||Relegated|
|2010–2012||Division 1B||4–6 (+17)||4th||—|
|2012–2014||Division 1B||8–2 (+218)||1st||Promoted|
|2014–2016||Division 1A||1–8 (–234)||5th|
Rugby World Cup qualifying
|2001–2002||2003 Rugby World Cup — Europe qualification – Round 2 – Pool A||2nd|
|2004–2006||2007 Rugby World Cup — Europe qualification – Round 3 – Play-off||Lost to Spain 28–42 on aggregate.|
|2008–2010||2011 Rugby World Cup — Europe qualification — ENC Division 1||6th/6th in ENC.|
|2012–2014||2015 Rugby World Cup — Europe qualification — Round 6||Lost to Russia 20–31.|
|28 November 2015||Blumenau||Brazil||Win||29–12||Friendly||Report|
|4 December 2015||São Paulo||Brazil||Win||31–7||Friendly|
|6 February 2016||Tbilisi||Georgia||Loss||7–59||European Nations Cup||Report|
|13 February 2016||Sochi||Russia||Loss||20–46||European Nations Cup||Report|
|27 February 2016||Hanover||Portugal||Win||50–27||European Nations Cup||Report|
|12 March 2016||Iași||Romania||Loss||7–61||European Nations Cup||Report|
|19 March 2016||Cologne||Spain||Draw||17–17||European Nations Cup||Report|
|12 November 2016||Frankfurt||Uruguay||Win||24–21||Friendly|
|11 February 2017||Offenbach||Romania||Win||41–38||2017 Rugby Europe Championship|
- Locations of German home games in bold.
The following table shows all German wins during the Rugby World Cup era (1987–present) against teams that have played in a Rugby World Cup.
|2016-02-27||Portugal||50–27||European Nations Cup|
|2017-02-11||Romania||41–38||Rugby Europe Championship|
Source: ESPN Scrum
The following players have captained Germany in the recent past:
The following coaches have led Germany in the recent past:
Silver medal team 1900