REGIONAL ASSOCIATION – RUGBY AFRICA

Formed as the Confédération Africaine de Rugby (CAR) in 1986 by eight unions (Ivory Coast, Kenya, Madagascar, Morocco, Senegal, the Seychelles, Tanzania and Tunisia)

Full member unions: 27
Associate member unions: 10
South Africa may be the dominant force in the region, but there are many success stories across a continent where rugby continues to grow in popularity with each passing year, taking Rugby Africa’s membership from the founding eight unions to 37 in 2016.

The Springboks have twice won the Rugby World Cup, in 1995 and 2007, but Zimbabwe, the Ivory Coast and Namibia have also graced the sport’s showcase tournament, helping to introduce new audiences across the continent to rugby.

The sight of 45,000 strong crowds packed into stadiums to watch Madagascar play in the Africa Cup no longer surprise, while rugby fever continues to spread throughout nations like Senegal as Rugby Africa uses World Rugby’s Get Into Rugby programme to introduce children to the sport.

Website: www.rugbyafrique.com

REGIONAL ASSOCIATION – RUGBY AMERICAS NORTH

Formed as the North America and West Indies Rugby Association (NAWIRA) in 2001.

Full member unions: 13
Associate member unions: 3
Development unions: 2

Rugby Americas North, as the association is now known, is the regional governing body for the game in North America and the Caribbean. The USA and Canada may be its most high-profile members, but RAN had a total of 18 unions in its membership in 2016.

In 2001, the regional association drafted its constitution and two years later an administration officer was appointed. Another key milestone in the growth of rugby in North America and the Caribbean was the appointment of a Regional Development Officer in 2008.

The region, which currently boasts more than 1.6 million players, has had the honour of hosting the first Rugby World Cup qualifier for the 2011 (Cayman), 2015 (Mexico) and 2019 (St Vincent and the Grenadines) tournaments.

Website: www.rugbyamericasnorth.com

Select a member union:

REGIONAL ASSOCIATION: SUDAMÉRICA RUGBY

Formed as the Confederación Sudamericana de Rugby (CONSUR) on 14 October, 1988 by five unions (Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, Brazil and Uruguay)

Full member unions: 12
Associate member unions: 2

Rugby in South America has grown significantly from the days of the first regional championship in 1951 when only a men’s competition existed and was played mostly at two-year intervals. The last decade alone has seen these tournaments swell to 12 annually, from three divisions of the men’s senior championship to age-grade and men’s and women’s sevens.

Sudamérica Rugby, as the association became known as in 2015, continues to grow the game with education and programmes like Get Into Rugby at the centre of this expansion. There is also a desire to engage regularly with Rugby Americas North.

With Argentina continuing to fly the flag by reaching the RWC 2015 semi-finals, the region’s first Olympic Games in Brazil opened the sport to a new audience. Colombia’s women were surprise regional qualifiers for that event, creating heroes overnight and reminding unions that if they continue to work hard, the road ahead will be rewarding.

Website: www.sudamericarugby.org

Select a member union:

REGIONAL ASSOCIATION – ASIA RUGBY

Formed as the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) in 1968 by eight unions (Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand)

Full member unions: 25
Associate member unions: 6

The region covered by Asia Rugby is vast, stretching from the Mashriq countries in the west to Guam in the east and from the central Asian 'stans and Mongolia in the north to Sri Lanka and Indonesia in the south and south east.

The game, which was first introduced into Asia by British colonialism from the late 19th century onwards, continues to grow exponentially in a region containing 60 per cent of the world’s population and 80 per cent of the world’s youth and which is set to host its first Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019.

The Hong Kong Sevens put Asia on the global rugby map and is an event featuring on many people’s bucket lists of must-do trips in the region. The annual tournament and the success of Japan at both RWC 2015 and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games continues to inspire the next generation across Asia.

Website: www.asiarugby.com

REGIONAL ASSOCIATION – RUGBY EUROPE

Formed as the Fédération Internationale de Rugby Amateur (FIRA) in 1934 by France and nine European unions outside the rule of the International Rugby Football Board.

Full member unions: 38
Associate member unions: 10

FIRA introduced the Nations Cup (1965) and Championship (1974), which later became known as the European Nations Cup, to provide international competition for European nations outside the Five Nations. The ENC included three divisions and virtually every nation in continental Europe.

FIRA’s membership had grown to more than 60 unions by 1995, including many outside of Europe like Morocco and Tunisia. By that point, FIRA had recognised the IRB has the game’s governing body and began to integrate itself with the organisation.

In 1999, the organisation added Association of European Rugby to its name, becoming known as FIRA-AER, to promote and manage the game across the continent. Fifteen years later, a second name change occurred with a more meaningful name of Rugby Europe employed.

The largest of the World Rugby regional associations with more than three million players spreading from Finland to Israel and Portugal to Georgia.

Website: www.rugbyeurope.eu

REGIONAL ASSOCIATION – OCEANIA RUGBY

Formed as the Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions (FORU) in 2000.

Full member unions: 15
Associate member unions: 1

Oceania Rugby is centred on the islands of the tropical Pacific Ocean and contains three sub-regions of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia, along with the continent of Australia. Oceania has a population of 41 million – the bulk in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea – and a land mass of nine million square kilometres, albeit spread out over 58 million square kilometres.

Rugby, first played in the region in 1864, is one of the most prominent sports in Oceania and the national sport of New Zealand, Samoa, Fiji and Tonga. The region features some of the most successful nations in world rugby, but events like the Oceania Cup also help to foster growth in developing nations.

Oceania is home to five of the eight Rugby World Cup winners in Australia and New Zealand, while New Zealand won four successive Women’s Rugby World Cup titles from 1998-2010. In sevens, Fiji’s men and Australia’s women are not only HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series champions but also winners of the first Olympic sevens gold medals at Rio 2016.

Website: www.oceaniarugby.com

Select a member union:

REGIONAL ASSOCIATION – RUGBY AFRICA

Formed as the Confédération Africaine de Rugby (CAR) in 1986 by eight unions (Ivory Coast, Kenya, Madagascar, Morocco, Senegal, the Seychelles, Tanzania and Tunisia)

Full member unions: 27
Associate member unions: 10
South Africa may be the dominant force in the region, but there are many success stories across a continent where rugby continues to grow in popularity with each passing year, taking Rugby Africa’s membership from the founding eight unions to 37 in 2016.

The Springboks have twice won the Rugby World Cup, in 1995 and 2007, but Zimbabwe, the Ivory Coast and Namibia have also graced the sport’s showcase tournament, helping to introduce new audiences across the continent to rugby.

The sight of 45,000 strong crowds packed into stadiums to watch Madagascar play in the Africa Cup no longer surprise, while rugby fever continues to spread throughout nations like Senegal as Rugby Africa uses World Rugby’s Get Into Rugby programme to introduce children to the sport.

Website: www.rugbyafrique.com

REGIONAL ASSOCIATION – RUGBY AMERICAS NORTH

Formed as the North America and West Indies Rugby Association (NAWIRA) in 2001.

Full member unions: 13
Associate member unions: 3
Development unions: 2

Rugby Americas North, as the association is now known, is the regional governing body for the game in North America and the Caribbean. The USA and Canada may be its most high-profile members, but RAN had a total of 18 unions in its membership in 2016.

In 2001, the regional association drafted its constitution and two years later an administration officer was appointed. Another key milestone in the growth of rugby in North America and the Caribbean was the appointment of a Regional Development Officer in 2008.

The region, which currently boasts more than 1.6 million players, has had the honour of hosting the first Rugby World Cup qualifier for the 2011 (Cayman), 2015 (Mexico) and 2019 (St Vincent and the Grenadines) tournaments.

Website: www.rugbyamericasnorth.com

REGIONAL ASSOCIATION: SUDAMÉRICA RUGBY

Formed as the Confederación Sudamericana de Rugby (CONSUR) on 14 October, 1988 by five unions (Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, Brazil and Uruguay)

Full member unions: 12
Associate member unions: 2

Rugby in South America has grown significantly from the days of the first regional championship in 1951 when only a men’s competition existed and was played mostly at two-year intervals. The last decade alone has seen these tournaments swell to 12 annually, from three divisions of the men’s senior championship to age-grade and men’s and women’s sevens.

Sudamérica Rugby, as the association became known as in 2015, continues to grow the game with education and programmes like Get Into Rugby at the centre of this expansion. There is also a desire to engage regularly with Rugby Americas North.

With Argentina continuing to fly the flag by reaching the RWC 2015 semi-finals, the region’s first Olympic Games in Brazil opened the sport to a new audience. Colombia’s women were surprise regional qualifiers for that event, creating heroes overnight and reminding unions that if they continue to work hard, the road ahead will be rewarding.

Website: www.sudamericarugby.org

Select a member union:

REGIONAL ASSOCIATION – ASIA RUGBY

Formed as the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) in 1968 by eight unions (Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand)

Full member unions: 25
Associate member unions: 6

The region covered by Asia Rugby is vast, stretching from the Mashriq countries in the west to Guam in the east and from the central Asian 'stans and Mongolia in the north to Sri Lanka and Indonesia in the south and south east.

The game, which was first introduced into Asia by British colonialism from the late 19th century onwards, continues to grow exponentially in a region containing 60 per cent of the world’s population and 80 per cent of the world’s youth and which is set to host its first Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019.

The Hong Kong Sevens put Asia on the global rugby map and is an event featuring on many people’s bucket lists of must-do trips in the region. The annual tournament and the success of Japan at both RWC 2015 and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games continues to inspire the next generation across Asia.

Website: www.asiarugby.com

REGIONAL ASSOCIATION – RUGBY EUROPE

Formed as the Fédération Internationale de Rugby Amateur (FIRA) in 1934 by France and nine European unions outside the rule of the International Rugby Football Board.

Full member unions: 38
Associate member unions: 10

FIRA introduced the Nations Cup (1965) and Championship (1974), which later became known as the European Nations Cup, to provide international competition for European nations outside the Five Nations. The ENC included three divisions and virtually every nation in continental Europe.

FIRA’s membership had grown to more than 60 unions by 1995, including many outside of Europe like Morocco and Tunisia. By that point, FIRA had recognised the IRB has the game’s governing body and began to integrate itself with the organisation.

In 1999, the organisation added Association of European Rugby to its name, becoming known as FIRA-AER, to promote and manage the game across the continent. Fifteen years later, a second name change occurred with a more meaningful name of Rugby Europe employed.

The largest of the World Rugby regional associations with more than three million players spreading from Finland to Israel and Portugal to Georgia.

Website: www.rugbyeurope.eu

REGIONAL ASSOCIATION – OCEANIA RUGBY

Formed as the Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions (FORU) in 2000.

Full member unions: 15
Associate member unions: 1

Oceania Rugby is centred on the islands of the tropical Pacific Ocean and contains three sub-regions of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia, along with the continent of Australia. Oceania has a population of 41 million – the bulk in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea – and a land mass of nine million square kilometres, albeit spread out over 58 million square kilometres.

Rugby, first played in the region in 1864, is one of the most prominent sports in Oceania and the national sport of New Zealand, Samoa, Fiji and Tonga. The region features some of the most successful nations in world rugby, but events like the Oceania Cup also help to foster growth in developing nations.

Oceania is home to five of the eight Rugby World Cup winners in Australia and New Zealand, while New Zealand won four successive Women’s Rugby World Cup titles from 1998-2010. In sevens, Fiji’s men and Australia’s women are not only HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series champions but also winners of the first Olympic sevens gold medals at Rio 2016.

Website: www.oceaniarugby.com