List of rugby union competitions

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The following is a list of notable rugby union competitions that are still currently in existence. This includes both international tournaments played by national Test teams and also domestic club and provincial competitions.

International tournaments[edit]

Name Participants First played Last played Frequency Notes
Rugby World Cup Top 12 teams from previous World Cup (the top 3 in each group) plus 8 nations from regional qualifying tournaments. 1987 2015 Quadrennial
Women's Rugby World Cup 12 top national women's teams 1991 2014 Quadrennial[1]
Six Nations Championship England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, Wales 1883 2016 Annually Originally the Home Nations Championship, then the Five Nations with France's entry into the competition in 1910. Became the Six Nations when Italy was added in 2000.
Women's Six Nations Championship England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, Wales 1996 2015 Annually Originally the Home International Championship. Became the Five Nations in 1999 when France joined. Spain was added in 2000, but Ireland did not play all the other countries in 2000 or 2001, making the first true Women's Six Nations the 2002 competition. Spain were replaced by Italy effective in 2007 after the competition was taken over by the (men's) Six Nations committee.
The Rugby Championship Argentina (since 2012), Australia, New Zealand, South Africa 1996 2015 Annually From its inception through 2011, the competition involved only Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, and was known as the Tri Nations.
Canada Cup Canada, plus up to three other invitational teams. 1993 2005 Approximately biennial International women's tournament generally including the USA (missing only in 2005), plus New Zealand and/or England.
Churchill Cup Canada, England Saxons, United States and three invitational teams. 2003 2011 Annually The England Saxons are England's "A" side. The invitational teams were a combination of "A" sides of top-tier nations and senior sides of lower-tier nations. The 2011 edition was the last, as Canada and the USA are now included in the global Test calendar.
FIRA Women's European Championship Up to 16 European national teams 1988 2012 Annually Tournament for European women's national teams. Number of participants varies from year to year. The tournament is often divided into two "pools", dependent on playing strength. France and England, when they take part, normally enter "A" teams.
European Nations Cup 36 European national teams 2000 2012-2014 Annually Excludes European sides in the Six Nations Tournament. Played over two years on home and away basis with the competition split into three divisions. Including sub-divisions, the competition includes 7 levels, with promotion and relegation.
Pacific Nations Cup Fiji, Japan, Samoa, Tonga 2006 2013 Annually Originally Pacific Five Nations — replaced the Pacific Tri-Nations.The original teams were Australia A, the Junior All Blacks (New Zealand's official "A" side), and the three Pacific Island nations. In 2008, the New Zealand Māori replaced the Junior All Blacks. From 2010-2012, only the Pacific Island nations and Japan participated who were then joined by Canada and USA. Due to their inclusion in the Quadrangular tournament in South Africa, Samoa did not feature in the 2013 edition of the Pacific Nations Cup.,[2] to the competition in 2014.
Nations Cup Varies from year to year; the 2013 participants have been Argentina Jaguars, Italy AI, Romania, and Russia. 2006 2013 Annually The Argentina Jaguars were formerly known as Argentina A, and the Emerging Springboks are South Africa's A side. The inaugural tournament in 2006 featured Argentina A, Italy A, Portugal and Russia.
Asian 5 Nations Top five Asian sides 2008 2013 Annually The inaugural tournament in 2008 featured Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan and Arabian Gulf. Yearly promotion and relegation with three lower divisions.

See also:

Club and provincial tournaments[edit]


  • Super Rugby — teams from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina and Japan (known originally as Super 10 then Super 12 and later as Super 14; "Super Rugby" officially adopted from 2011). Also informally known as "Super 15".


  • Currie Cup — South African provincial tournament
  • Vodacom Cup — South African provincial tournament for developmental sides. Has also included a team from Namibia at two different times in the past, most recently in 2010 and 2011, and also featured a team from Argentina from 2010 to 2013.





United States[edit]

  • Rugby Super League - US national club competition, which ran from 1997 to 2012.
  • USA Rugby Elite Cup - replaced the Rugby Super League completion, but only ran for one year in 2013.
  • PRO Rugby - the first professional rugby competition in the US, ran for one year in 2016 with five teams.






Sri Lanka[edit]


Current competitions[edit]

  • European Rugby Champions Cup — To be launched in the 2014–15 season. European club, provincial and regional teams, currently from the countries that participate in the Six Nations.
  • European Rugby Challenge Cup — Also to be launched in 2014–15. Second-tier European club, provincial and regional teams knock-out tournament, also involving all of the Six Nations countries, with possible involvement from lower-tier countries (see below).
  • European Rugby Qualifying Competition – Third-tier competition involving teams from Italy's National Championship of Excellence, plus clubs from lower-tier countries; will determine two places in each year's Challenge Cup.
  • Copa Ibérica de Rugby — Annual competition between Spanish and Portuguese clubs.

Defunct competitions[edit]

  • Heineken Cup — Top-tier competition replaced by the European Rugby Champions Cup after the 2013–14 season.
  • European Challenge Cup — Second-tier competition replaced by the European Rugby Challenge Cup after the 2013–14 season.
  • European Shield (defunct) — Knock-out tournament involving teams eliminated in the first round of the Challenge Cup. Scrapped after the 2004–05 season.



United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy[edit]

  • Pro12 — now Guinness Pro12, because of the league's sponsorship by Guinness: provincial/regional teams from Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales. Two Italian teams joined in 2010–11.
  • Anglo-Welsh CupEnglish and Welsh clubs knock-out tournament. From 1971–2005, open to all English clubs with no involvement from any other nation; from the 2005–06 season, has featured the 12 Premiership clubs and the four Welsh regional sides competing in the Celtic League.
  • British and Irish Cup — Tournament launched in 2009 featuring sides from second-level leagues in England and Wales, plus second-tier sides from Ireland and Scotland.








Former Soviet Union[edit]




New Zealand[edit]

Sevens tournaments[edit]

See also: Rugby sevens

Other tournaments[edit]

International trophies[edit]

The trophies in this list are regularly contested between two nations. Some of the competitions for these trophies form part of other international tournaments, such as the Six Nations and The Rugby Championship.

Six Nations Trophies[edit]

Trophies in The Rugby Championship[edit]

Other Trophies[edit]

rugby union schedule by year[edit]

Notes and references[edit]