Rugby union at the 1900 Summer Olympics

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Men's rugby union
at the Games of the II Olympiad
Vélodrome de Vincennes hosted the matches
VenueVélodrome de Vincennes
Dates14 October 1900
28 October 1900
Competitors47 from 3 nations
1st place, gold medalist(s) Union des Sociétés Françaises
 Mixed team
2nd place, silver medalist(s) FC 1880 Frankfurt[1]
2nd place, silver medalist(s) Moseley Wanderers
 Great Britain
1908 →

Rugby union at the 1900 Summer Olympics was played in Paris.[2] Rugby union matches at the 1900 Summer Olympics were held on 14 October and 28 October. Forty-seven athletes competed, most from three nations and including a Haitian and a French-born American.


France, represented by Union des Sociétés Françaises, Germany, represented mainly by the FC 1880 Frankfurt,[3] and Great Britain, represented by the Moseley Wanderers,[4] all participated in the inaugural rugby event at the Olympics. Only two games were contested, France played both Germany and Great Britain, the French winning both matches.

This saw the gold go to France, and both Germany and Great Britain are credited with silver, with no bronze awarded. For medal purposes, the IOC regards the side from France as a "Mixed Team", as Constantin Henriquez was from Haiti.[5] Further, André Roosevelt, an American born in France, was also on the French team.


Match 1[edit]

14 Oct
France 27–17Germany Germany
ReportTry: E Ludwig,
Con: Schmierer (2)
Drop: Schmierer
Vélodrome de Vincennes, Paris
Attendance: 3,500
Referee: FC Potter-Irwin (England)
Scene of the France v Germany match played on 14 October

In the first half, France scored a try by Émile Sarrade and a conversion. Germany scored tries by Heinrich Reitz and August Schmierer, with two conversions as well as a drop goal. Under the custom scoring rules of the Olympic tournament (3 points for tries or penalties, 2 points for conversions, 4 points for drop goals), this gave Germany a lead of 14–5.

The second half was vastly different, as Serrade scored two more tries while André Roosevelt also scored two and Frantz Reichel and A. Albert added one each. Two more conversions were made, bringing France's score to a total of 27. Germany, on the other hand, scored only one try, by one of the Ludwigs.[6] France thus won the match 27–17.[7]

Match 2[edit]

28 Oct
France 27–8United Kingdom Great Britain
Vélodrome de Vincennes, Paris
Attendance: 6,000
Referee: M.T.B. Potter

The British team failed to score in the first half, while France continued the scoring barrage they had experienced in the second half of the Germany match. Sarrade scored two tries, bringing his tournament total to five. Joseph Olivier, Jean Collas, and Jean-Guy Gauthier each added a try. No conversions were scored, though André Rischmann's two penalties brought France's first-half total to 21.

Britain actually outscored France in the second half, 8–6, but had little chance of catching up. Joseph Wallis scored a try while J. Henry Birtles made a conversion and a penalty for Britain. Reichel scored his second try of the tournament, and Léon Binoche added a try to bring France's victory to a 27–8 margin.[8]

A Reuters report of the match noted that the British squad's loss may have been in part to fatigue, as the players arrived in Paris only on the morning of the match. A crowd of 10,000 fans witnessed the match.[9]

Medal table[edit]

The German squad shared the silver medal with Great Britain
Rank Team Matches Points Avg points Tries Avg tries
1st place, gold medalist(s)  Mixed team (ZZX)[5] 2 54 27.00 ? ?
2nd place, silver medalist(s) Germany Germany 1 17 17 ? ?
United Kingdom Great Britain 1 8 8 ? ?
3rd place, bronze medalist(s) (none awarded)


France (Mixed Team)[edit]


Great Britain[edit]


  1. ^ Hugo Betting and August Schmierer were guest players from another clubs
  2. ^ The IOC and most Olympic history organizations refer to the sport played at the 1900 Summer Olympics simply as "rugby", though it was a form of rugby union.
  3. ^ Die Gründerjahre des deutschen Rugbysports Archived 25 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine (in German) DRV website – Foundation years, accessed: 25 February 2010
  4. ^ Rugby Football History. "Rugby at the Olympics". Rugby Football History. Retrieved 4 April 2008.
  5. ^ a b "Paris 1900 Rugby Men Results". Retrieved 2 August 2021.
  6. ^ The scorer's name is listed as "Ludwig", but there were two Ludwigs playing for Germany. It is unclear if the scorer was Erich Ludwig or Richard Ludwig.
  7. ^ Match report on ESPN
  8. ^ October 28, 1900 on Rugby Football History
  9. ^ "English Team Defeated". Morning Post. Reuters. 29 October 1900. Retrieved 6 August 2017.


External links[edit]