List of international rugby union teams

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The following is a list of international rugby union teams:

Multinational teams[edit]

Combination sides[edit]

  • Established in 1950, East Africa has conducted seven tours between 1954 and 1982 and has played against incoming international, representative and club touring sides including twice against the British Lions; perhaps the only example of representative (as opposed to invitational) multinational teams playing against each other. They have also played against the Barbarians.
  • The African Leopards are a development side drawn from across Africa, they have played representational rugby union against South African students.
  • There is also a West Indies side, which first toured when the Caribbean Rugby Union sent a team (managed by Gavin Clark) to tour England in 1976. Their last tour was also to England in October and November 2000.
  • World XV sides have also been fielded nine times between 1977 and 2014.

Invitation sides[edit]

Other invitational sides past and present include:

National teams – tier classification[edit]

The sport's international governing body, World Rugby (formerly the International Rugby Board), organises its member unions into three tiers.[1] All Tier 1 and 2 nations have competed in the Rugby World Cup (RWC).

Tier 1[edit]

Nation Rank Range
 New Zealand 1–3 Rugby Championship
 South Africa 1–6 Rugby Championship
 England 1–8 Six Nations
 Australia 2–6 Rugby Championship
 France 2–8 Six Nations
 Ireland 2–9 Six Nations
 Wales 2–10 Six Nations
 Argentina 3–12 Rugby Championship
 Scotland 6–12 Six Nations
 Italy 8–15 Six Nations

Tier 2[edit]

Pacific countries European countries Atlantic countries African countries

Development (Tier 3)[edit]

Development One :

Development Two:

National teams – band classification[edit]

Starting in 2008, in addition to the existing tier system, the IRB introduced a four-band system of classification in which unions and, by extension, teams are classified based on "their development status and record on the international stage". The new structure is:[2]

High performance[edit]

All countries previously in Tiers 1 and 2.

Development One[edit]

These are countries earmarked for increased developmental funding and include


Again, the IRB did not release a list of unions in this category, but named several as being in this band:


This is the location for all remaining unions.

Other teams[edit]

Defunct national sides[edit]

Various national sides have ceased to exist for political reasons. In the case of the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, there is more than one successor team. In the case of Catalonia, the Spanish Civil War and Franco's crackdown put an end to it, and in the case of East and West Germany, reunification led to their amalgamation into a single German side.

* For more information on these teams see above.

Women's rugby[edit]

Defunct women's national sides[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "IRB Strategic Plan" (PDF). International Rugby Board. 2014. Archived from the original (PDF 0.3 MB) on 13 November 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  2. ^ "IRB announces increased funding for the game" (Press release). International Rugby Board. 25 January 2008. Archived from the original on 11 November 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2008.