The Union Cup is a biennial European, non-professional, gay rugby union tournament, bringing together teams and joint teams from all over Europe. It is held every odd-numbered year.
The first edition was held in May 2005 in Montpellier, France. The participating teams were Les Artichauds, Manchester Village Spartans, Kings Cross Steelers, Emerald Warriors RFC, Cardiff Lions, Los Valents Montpellier, Les Gaillard Parisiens, NOP Amsterdam (later became Amsterdam Lowlanders) and the competition was won by Les Artichauds over the Manchester Village Spartans.
The second edition was held in Copenhagen, Denmark in May 2007; the XVs competition was won by the Kings Cross Steelers London, while the 7s tournament was won by the Emerald Warriors RFC Dublin over the Cardiff Lions with a 10-5 final score.
The third edition was held in London in 2009, with visiting teams from Amsterdam, Bristol, Cardiff, Copenhagen, Dublin, Edinburgh, Manchester, Montpellier, Newcastle, Paris and a Barbarians side; the XVs competition was won by the Kings Cross Steelers London in a hard fought 3-0 match against the Manchester Village Spartans, the Xs tournament was won by the Cardiff Lions who beat the Kings Cross Steelers Xs team 29-7 in the final, and the 7s tournament was won by the Bristol Bisons RFC in a 12-7 final against Les Coqs Festifs Paris.
The fourth edition was held in Amsterdam, Netherlands, hosted by the Amsterdam Lowlanders in June 2011 with visiting teams from Amsterdam, Bristol, Brussels, Dublin, Edinburgh, London, Lisbon, Lyon, Manchester, Montpellier and Paris. The XVs competition was won by the Kings Cross Steelers I London, over the Manchester Village Spartans and the Emerald Warriors RFC Dublin, while the Xs competition was won by the Los Valents Montpellier, over the Bristol Bisons RFC and the Kings Cross Steelers II.
19 squads took part from 17 different teams. In the 10s tournament Birmingham Bulls, Dublin Emerald Warriors RFC 2nds , Lisbon Dark Horses, Montpellier Los Valents, Paris Coq Festifs. 15's teams, Amsterdam Lowlanders, Berlin Bruisers, Bristol Bisons RFC, Bruxelles Straffe Ketten, Cardiff Lions, Edinburgh Thebans, Dublin Emerald Warriors RFC 1st, London Kings Cross Steelers 1st XV, London Kings Cross Steelers 2nd XV, Lyon Les Rebelyons, Manchester Village Spartans, Newcastle Ravens, Northampton Outlaws RFC, Stockholm Berserkers RFC.
With 500+ participants from all over Europe this is the largest Union Cup thus far.
In April 2013, 3 teams / cities expressed bids for the Union Cup 2015 tournament. Caledonian Thebans From Edinburgh, Straffe Ketten From Brussels, Los Valents de Montpellier RFC From Montpellier. At 11.15pm BST, on the 25th of May 2013, it was announced in Bristol's "The Vault" venue, that Brussels - Straffe Ketten was the chosen city - club to host the Union Cup 2015. This will be the first time the Union Cup has been staged in Belgium. 700 players, fans and officials traveled to Brussels in May 2015 for the competition. The competition was held from the 21st to the 23rd of May 2015, with opening and closing ceremonies being held at the Square near the Bozar in the centre of Brussels, and the tournament itself at the pitches of Forest Rugby Club in Bempt in the south-west of the city. Winners were: Cup: Kings Cross Steelers from London (24-3 against Manchester Spartans) Plate: Straffe Ketten from Brussels (8-7 against Caledonian Thebans from Edinburgh) Bowl: Cardiff Lions (7-0 against Kings Cross Steelers II)
For 2017 3 cities ran for the organisation of the Union Cup. Dublin withdrew before the official bids had to be in. The decision between Madrid and Newcastle was made in Brussels on May 23, 2015 in favor of Madrid. The Madrid Titanes Club de Rugby will be the hosts.
For 2019 3 teams ran for the organisation of the Union cup. The Manchester Village Spartans Manchester, The Cardiff Lions Cardiff and The Emerald Warriors Dublin, who won the bidding process after two attempts for the years 2013 and 2017. The tournament was broadcast by the Pundit Arena website.
|Year & Host City||Cup Champions||Cup Runners Up||Plate or Xs Champions||Plate or Xs Runners Up||Bowl or 7s Champions||Bowl or 7s Runners Up|
|2005 Montpellier||Les Artichauds||Manchester Village Spartans|
|2007 Copenhagen||Kings Cross Steelers||Emerald Warriors||Cardiff Lions|
|2009 London||Kings Cross Steelers||Manchester Village Spartans||Cardiff Lions||Kings Cross Steelers|
|2011 Amsterdam||Kings Cross Steelers||Manchester Village Spartans||Los Valents de Montpellier||Bristol Bisons|
|2013 Bristol||Kings Cross Steelers||Emerald Warriors|
|2015 Brussels||Kings Cross Steelers||Manchester Village Spartans||Straffe Ketten||Caledonian Thebans||Cardiff Lions||Kings Cross Steelers II|
|2017 Madrid||Kings Cross Steelers||Los Valents de Montpellier||Tou'Win||Northampton outlaws||Rebelyons||Brighton & Hove Sea Serpents|
|2019 Dublin||Kings Cross Steelers||Manchester Village Spartans||Newcastle ravens||Les Gaillard|
- "Union Cup 2011 Official presentation video".
- "Amstelveen TV News".
- "RTV N-H Nederland national TV sport news".
- "Homo-rugbyteam tackelt net zo hard" [Homosexual rugby team tackles just as hard]. AT5 Nieuws (in Dutch). Amsterdam. June 3, 2011. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
Het bestaat al een paar jaar, maar voor het eerst wordt het dit weekend hier georganiseerd: een internationaal rugbytoernooi voor alleen maar homo's (It has existed for a few years, but organized here for the first time this weekend: an international rugby tournament only for homosexuals)
- "Newham Recorder News - UK".
- "Pundit Arena to Broadcast 2019 Union Cup". AdWorld.ie. 7 June 2019. Archived from the original on 8 June 2019. Retrieved 11 September 2019.