Rugby union in French Polynesia

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Rugby union in French Polynesia
Country Tahiti
Governing body Tahiti Rugby Union
National team Tahiti
Registered players 1,892
Clubs 15 [1]

Rugby union in French Polynesia, particularly on the main island of Tahiti, is a popular sport.[2]

Traditionally, matches tend to be held in the evening rather than the afternoon, due to the tropical climate.[3] Because of this, Tahitian rugby organisers tend to put on entertainment during the day, to keep visiting rugby players etc. happy.[3]

Governing body[edit]

The Tahitian union was founded in 1989, and affiliated to the IRB in 1994.[4][5]


Rugby is greatly growing in popularity in Tahiti, but the national sport still remains soccer.

Rugby came to Tahiti via three separate streams, firstly, through the visits of British, New Zealand and Australian sailors; secondly, through the French presence (many of the main teams are still French military); and thirdly through contact with neighbouring Pacific islands, where the game is popular.[4]

Up to 2003, Tahiti played in international rugby sevens (Pacific Games) and XV-a-side, in the qualifying rounds for the Rugby World Cup.[5]

In 2006, there were fourteen clubs in the national championship and two divisions.[5] There were also sevens competitions, women's rugby, and under-18 rugby competitions as well.[5]

National team[edit]

Lack of infrastructure and the dispersed nature of both the geography and population of Tahiti has hindered international success. The Tahiti national rugby union team had its first internationals in 1997, losing 92-6 to Papua New Guinea, and 40-0 to the Cook Islands. To be fair, Oceania is perhaps the toughest arena in World Rugby, having not just the mighty All Blacks, but also the likes of the Qantas Wallabies, and, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa national rugby union teams all of which do well in the Rugby World Cup.

Due to Tahiti being a territory of France, rugby players born in Tahiti are actually French citizens, making them eligible to represent France. The issue has been resolved with the IRB, giving the players themselves to choose which country they wish to represent.


  1. ^
  2. ^ South Pacific and Micronesia. Lonely Planet. 2006. p. 53. ISBN 1-74104-304-2. 
  3. ^ a b Cotton, p16
  4. ^ a b Bath, p75
  5. ^ a b c d (French) Archives du Rugby: Mayotte retrieved 8 September 2009

Further reading[edit]

  • Bath, Richard (ed.) The Complete Book of Rugby (Seven Oaks Ltd, 1997 ISBN 1-86200-013-1)
  • Cotton, Fran (Ed.) (1984) The Book of Rugby Disasters & Bizarre Records. Compiled by Chris Rhys. London. Century Publishing. ISBN 0-7126-0911-3

External links[edit]