South Australia Rugby Union

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Rugby Union South Australia
South Australia Rugby Union logo.svg
Sport Rugby Union
Inaugural season 1932, Adelaide
No. of teams 12
Country Australia
Most recent
Brighton Tigers (2017)
Most titles Brighton (31)
Official website

Rugby Union South Australia (RUSA) is the governing body for the sport of rugby union in the state of South Australia. It is a member of the Australian Rugby Union. The SARU runs a 13 club amateur competition in Adelaide consisting of senior men's teams in Premier grade, Premier reserves, Division 2 and Division 2 reserves; and junior teams grouped by age from under 7 to under 18. As of 2013, a senior women's competition has been included. The RUSA also selects representative teams each year to compete against other Australian states and territories.


The SA Rugby Union was established in 1932 after journalist Ian Sabey, from The Advertiser, convened a public meeting. This meeting resulted in the formation of the Adelaide Rugby Club, with enough players to field two 7-a-side teams. Interest in the sport grew, and by the end of that year, the Royal Australian Navy, Adelaide University and the Waratahs were ready to field teams in a local competition.

Rugby in the Adelaide area grew quickly and within a year, South Australia had fielded a team against Victoria for its first interstate match.

Rugby League benefited in the 1940s, when the Port Adelaide Rugby Union team fractured and changed codes.[1] Over the following two decades, rugby grew across the metropolitan region and by the 1950s, South Australia boasted eight clubs. In 1951, with the competition and therefore financial risks growing, it was decided that it was in the Union's best interest to become an incorporated body. In the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s, the South Australian representative team competed in the Southern States Carnivals against Western Australia, Victoria and Tasmania. The SARU financed its own tour of Queensland and ACT in 1971, playing in Canberra, Toowoomba, and Brisbane.[2][3]

By 1971 clubs included: Army, Adelaide University, Glenelg, Burnside, Elizabeth, Flinders University, North Adelaide, Old Collegians, Onkaparinga, Port Adelaide, Roseworthy College Rams, Salisbury, Southern Suburbs, West Torrens and Woodville.

Clubs which have fielded rugby teams in the past are: Aquinas, Black Forest, Central Districts, Flinders University, Gawler, Murray Bridge, North-West Districts, Salisbury, Smithfield Plains, Edinburgh, Lincoln, Pulteney Grammar School, Salisbury High School, Salisbury Com. Schools, Salisbury Teachers College, S.C.A.E., South Australian Institute of Technology, St Peters College, St Marks College, Tea Tree Gully, Kingswood, Adelaide, Royal Australian Naval Reserve, Whyalla, Waratahs, North Adelaide Baptist, Prince Alfred Old Collegians, Army, East Torrens, RAAF, SA Railways Institute and RAN. In 1978 Glenelg was renamed Brighton, the club's second name change, having previously been known as Kingston. In 2006 the Roseworthy college Rams were renamed Barossa Rams. Burnside fielded no junior teams until they amalgamated with The Waratahs Junior Rugby Union Football Club in 1992. North Torrens was formed when West Torrens and North Adelaide merged. Western Districts Junior Rugby Union Football Club (the Vikings) is the junior team for the two senior clubs of Woodville and Port Adelaide.

In 1999, SA Rugby again took on corporate change and release its Incorporated Association status and become a Company Limited by Guarantee, further underlining its commercial strength. In 2006, SA Rugby Union Ltd merged with the SA Junior Rugby Union.

In 2014 Old Collegians broke a 8-year drought to win the premier grade premiership

Current clubs[edit]

As of 2013, there are thirteen clubs which make up SARU, 12 of these clubs field senior sides, 11 field junior sides, and seven field a women’s side.

Club Nickname Home Ground Entered
Adelaide University RUFC Blacks Waite Oval 1932
Barossa Rams RUFC Rams Lyndoch Oval 2006
Brighton RUFC Tigers Brighton Oval 1950
Burnside RUFC Burnside Parkinson Oval 1946
Barosa Neds JRUFC Rams
Elizabeth RUFC Womma Park 1958
North Torrens RUFC Dragons Dry Creek 1998
Old Collegians RFC Old Colls Tregenza Oval 1936
Onkaparinga RUFC Onkas Wilfred Taylor Reserve 1968
Port Adelaide RUFC Pirates Riverside Oval 1933
Southern Suburbs RUFC Bulls Bailey Reserve 1946
Western Districts JRUFC Vikings Riverside Oval 1997
Woodville RUFC Wasps Gleneagels Reserve 1933

Premiership winners[edit]

Coopers Brewery Premier Grade[edit]

Premier Reserve Grade[edit]

Representative teams[edit]

Black Falcons kit

The Black Falcons team is selected from senior players within South Australia each year, and competes against other amateur representative rugby teams from states including Victoria and Western Australia. Junior Falcons teams are also chosen to play in national age group competitions. The Southern Warriors is the women's seven-a-side team that competes in tournaments including the National Women’s Sevens tournament.[4]

The South Australian Under 20 team competes in the Southern States Championship and also plays occasional matches against other representative sides. Prior to 2008, state colts teams at under 21 and under 19 age levels were fielded in national competitions.


  1. ^ Thompson, Ted. "History". South Australian Rugby League. Archived from the original on 9 April 2013. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "S. Australian side to visit ACT". The Canberra Times. 26 May 1971. p. 34. Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  3. ^ "Big effort needed to boost rugby". The Canberra Times. 1 June 1971. p. 21. Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  4. ^ "Annual Report 2012" (PDF). South Australian Rugby. 2012. Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 

External links[edit]