Rugby union in Estonia
|Rugby union in Estonia|
|Governing body||Estonian Rugby Federation|
|First played||Mid 20th Century|
The national body is the Estonian Rugby Union (Eesti Ragbi Liit).
The Estonian Rugby Federation was the original rugby body, but did not affiliate to the IRB, as it was a "federation" of one team, instead of the required three. It was in fact expelled from FIRA-AER for lack of rugby development.
Rugby in the Baltic region was mainly introduced during the interwar period, although the game was played in Imperial Russia, including Saint Petersburg pre-Russian revolution, and was introduced to Germany in the 19th century.
In 1949, rugby union was forbidden in the USSR during the "fight against the cosmopolitanism". The competitions were resumed in 1957, and the Soviet Championship in 1966. In 1975 the Soviet national team played their first match.
Estonia had its own rugby team in the USSR, but it was not treated as a proper national side.
The current stadium used by the national team is Viimsi Staadion on generous loan from NordWest Kinnisvara OÜ.
For a number of years, the Estonian Rugby Federation controlled the game in a federation of one, the "Tigers" based in Tallinn.
Rugby league in Estonia has attempted to make aggressive inroads since the mid-2000s, and took over the one team rugby federation. As a result, 70% of Tallinn's players left, and set up their own rugby union team, the Sharks.
Like other places in the region, the playing season is April to October, as pitches are frequently frozen in winter.
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