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List of international rugby union teams: Map


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The following is a list of international rugby union teams:

Multinational teams

Combination sides

The British and Irish Lions are a separate case, being a combination of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

A similar development has been of a Pacific Islanders XV combining Fiji, Tonga, and Manu Samoa.

The South American Jaguars were a combination team consisting of players from Argentinamarker, Uruguaymarker and Chilemarker who played the Springboks during the early 1980s.

The African Leopards are a development side drawn from across Africa, they have played representational rugby union against South African students.

Arabian Gulf rugby union team combines various teams from the Arabian peninsula, and competes in World Cup qualification. There is also a West Indies side.

In the aftermath of the 2005 tsunamii a Northern hemisphere side took on a Southern hemisphere side in the IRB Rugby Aid Match.

CIS also played during the early 1990s, comprising of the Commonwealth of Independent States. World XV sides have also been fielded.

Invitation sides

There are some invitation sides, most famously the Barbarian Football Club, and its spawned New Zealand Barbarians and French Barbarians.

A one-off President's XV was also selected for the hundredth anniversary of the RFU.

National teams

Prior to 2008, the sport's international governing body, the International Rugby Board, organised its member unions into "tiers". All of Tier 1 & 2 nations have competed in the Rugby World Cup. Tier 3 nations with RWC experience are in bold.

The "Tier 1" nations were:
  • The participants in the Northern Hemisphere Six Nations Championship:
    • (nicknamed Les Tricolores or Les Bleus)
    • Ireland
    • (nicknamed Gli Azzurri)
  • The participants in the Southern Hemisphere Tri Nations:
    • ("Wallabies")
    • ("All Blacks")
    • ("Springboks")
The "Tier1.5" nations are:
  • One geographically isolated emerging power:
    • (nicknamed Los Pumas)
"Tier 2" included the following:
  • ("The Canucks")
  • (often called "The Flying Fijians")
  • (nicknamed Lelos)
  • (nicknamed "The Cherry Blossoms" and more recently "Brave Blossoms")
  • ("The Oaks")
  • (also known as Manu Samoa)
  • (nicknamed Ikale Tahi)
  • ("The Eagles")

The remaining unions were all classified in "Tier 3".Tier 3 with RWC experience:

  • (nicknamed Les elephants)
  • (nicknamed Welwitschias)
  • (nicknamed Os Lobos)
  • (nicknamed Los Leones)
  • (nicknamed Los Teros)
  • (nicknamed Sables)

Tier 3 with no RWC experience:
  • (nicknamed Els Isards)
  • (nicknamed Arugby)
  • (nicknamed Black Devils)
  • (nicknamed Vultures)
  • (nicknamed Koupreys)
  • (nicknamed Los C√≥ndores)
  • (PRC)
  • (aka Republic of China or Taiwan)
  • (nicknamed Los Tucanes)
  • (nicknamed Les Makis)
  • (nicknamed Serpientes)
  • (nicknamed Oranje)
  • (nicknamed Puk-Puks)
  • (nicknamed Los Yacares)
  • (nicknamed Los Tumis)
  • (nicknamed Cranes)
  • (nicknamed La Vinotinto)

Post-2008 classification

Starting in 2008, the IRB switched to a four-band system, in which unions and, by extension, teams are classified based on "their development status and record on the international stage". The new structure is:

High Performance

  • All nations previously in Tiers 1 and 2, except for


These are nations earmarked for increased developmental funding in order to facilitate future movement into the High Performance band. The IRB did not release a full list of such unions, but named the following as part of the Performance band:


Again, the IRB did not release a list of unions in this category, but named several as being in this band:


This is the location for all remaining unions.

Other teams

Several of these sides are French dependencies.

Defunct national sides

Various national sides have ceased to exist for political reasons. In the case of the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, there is more than one successor team. In the case of Catalonia, the Spanish Civil War and Franco's crackdown put an end to it, and in the case of East and West Germany, reunification made them back into a single side.

  • - still in existence, but not as national side.
  • CIS
  • East Africa - a combination of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
  • - has not played since 1971 and so moribund.

The Arabian Gulf team and its governing union are scheduled to be dissolved by the end of 2010, to be replaced by separate unions and national teams in each of its current members.

Women's Rugby

                                                                                       New Zealand

External links

Notes and references

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