The Metropolitan New York Rugby Football Union

The Metropolitan New York RFU was founded in 1967 and is responsible for the government of around 80 men’s and women’s clubs, colleges, high schools and youth teams. They cover New York metropolitan area but also northern New Jersey, Fairfield County of Connecticut and Long Island.Metropolitan New York Rugby Football Union

Since 2012, it has been part of the larger Empire Rugby Football Union Geographical Union (Empire GU) which was one of four pilot geographical unions developed by USA Rugby and the first made from merging other unions. There are currently 12 geographical unions across the country as well as a number of independent areas such as Chicago and Hawaii.

The senior men’s game is organised into six divisions; division 1; 2; 3 north; 3 south; 4 north and 4 south. The women’s game is separated into three divisions.

USA Rugby

USA Rugby is the national governing body of the sport in the US. It is responsible for the promotion and development of the game and of international participation. It is a member of the International Rugby Board (IRB) as well as the US Olympic Committee (USOC).

USA Rugby has a membership of over 98,000 with the largest amount being college rugby, which accounts for 32,000 members. The largest areas are New York, California and Pennsylvania. There has been a 350% increase in participation between 2004-2011 and is one of the fastest growing sports in the country.

It is responsible for the senior men and women’s games as well as under-20s for both sexes and sponsors the college game. The headquarters are in Boulder, Colorado and they administer around 2,588 clubs nationwide.

In 2011, the IRB gave its Development Award to USA Rugby for its Rooke Rugby programme, which has introduced over 100,000 children to the sport.


The national side is called the Eagles and first took the to field in 1976 in competitions such as the Churchill Cup and the Pan American Championships as well as scheduled matches against sides such as Ireland and France.

The first accomplishment in US rugby came when the Eagles won a gold medal in the Olympics at the 1920 and 1924 games. However, following this there was a long period of stagnation where the game did not evolve.

In the early 1960s, a renaissance in rugby began and created the need for a governing body. In 1975, four territorial organisations gathered in Chicago and formed the USA Rugby Football Union, now known as USA Rugby. These were Pacific Coast, West, Midwest and East.

The national side has reached six of the last seven World Cups and are currently ranked as a tier-2 nation as well as being ranked as a top 20 side since the rankings developed in 2003.

USA Rugby is a founding sports partner of the Sports Museum of America along with over 50 single-sport Halls of Fame and other organisations to celebrate the history and significance of sport in America.

National Teams and Clubs

US Rugby is responsible for a selection of international sides. These include the national union team, which plays in the Rugby World Cup, the sevens team which plays in the World Series and Pam Am Games, as well as the Olympics from 2016. There are also an under-20 union team, women’s union team and women’s seven union teams.

The Collegiate Rugby Championship is a sevens competition which is the highest profile competition in the country and is broadcast live on NBC each year.

Domestic Competitions

From 1997 – 2012, the Rugby Super League was the premier Division 1 amateur club competition. It saw 14 teams divided into two seven-team divisions’ Western-Pacific Conference and Midwestern-East Conference.

Aspen won the first championship while the most successful club is Belmont Shore who were in finals every year from 2002-2008. However, the quality of the teams involved fluctuated and this led to its disbanding.

The following year, 2013, saw the USA Rugby Elite Cup which took the top eight clubs from the previous National Division 1 but was short-lived as three of the four western clubs left in favour of the Pacific Rugby Premiership, which is currently due to start in Spring 2014. It comprises clubs from California and Colorado.



The Sport of Rugby Union

Rugby Union is a full contact team sport, which came out of England in the early 19th century. It is based around two teams of 15 people using an oval shaped ball on a field that has an H-shaped goal at each end.

The sport and history of Rugby

Rugby School


The idea of running with the ball was credited to William Webb Ellis in 1823 at Rugby School, Warwickshire. The first rules of the sport were created in 1845 by the pupils at the school and it was originally known as rugby football. It wasn’t until the split of 1895 did one sport become known as rugby union while the other became rugby league.

The first international match was played between England and Scotland on 27th March 1871 and by 1881, both Ireland and Wales had teams. 1883 saw the first international competition, the Home Nations Championship between these sides.

The first international match happened in 1888 when the British Isles team toured Australia and New Zealand, a tour that laid the foundations for the modern British and Irish Lions Tours. The following year, the New Zealand team came to Britain and brought the first foreign spectators with them.

Between 1905-08 all three of the major southern hemisphere countries had sent teams to tour Britain; New Zealand in 1905, South Africa in 1906 and Australia in 1908. These teams had new tactics as well as higher fitness levels and were far more successful than anyone had anticipated. The New Zealand tour also saw a haka performed before the match that led Welsh Rugby Union administrator Teddy Morgan to suggest singing the Welsh national anthem before the game in response. This was the first time a national anthem was sung at the beginning of a sporting event and the crowd all joined in. In 1905, France played its first international game against England.

Rugby was included in the Olympics on four occasions during the 20th century. In 1987, the first World Cup was held across New Zealand and Australia, which saw New Zealand as the first winners. Rugby Sevens was first played internationally in 1973, with a World Cup in 1993 and introduction to the Commonwealth Games in 1998. It is also set to be added to the Olympics by 2016.

World Spread

Originally, the spread of rugby followed British expatriates, military personnel as well as university students studying overseas. The first club in France, Le Havre, was founded in 1872 by British residents while the following year saw Argentina’s first game in Buenos Aires.

Rugby is the national sport currently of six nations; Fiji, Georgia, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga and Wales.

Fiji started playing rugby around 1884 when European and Fijian soldier of the Native Constabulary on Viti Levu Island took the playing the game. By 1924, Fiji had sent a team to play in Samoa who formed for their own union in 1927. As well as Tonga, the Cook Islands, Niue, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands all have national sides.

The first club in North American was in Montreal in Canada who then introduced it to the USA when students from McGill University played a match against students from Harvard University in 1874. Trinidad and Tobago saw the first club, Northern RFC, formed in 1923 and by 1933, Barbados was playing the sport. Jamaica and Bermuda also have teams.

Rugby in Europe was sporadic in its spread; France was the main country to play and when they couldn’t play against British and Irish opponents, started a second tier of international matches. They played Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Romania, Italy, Poland and Czechoslovakia. Russia saw their first official match in 1933 while Portugal had a championship, which started in 1927.

Argentina is the main rugby country in South America but the game has been played in Brazil since the 19th century and Uruguay formed a national league and four clubs in 1951. Chile and Paraguay both also play internationally.

Asian rugby traditions come mainly from countries that were part of the British Empire. The Calcutta Football Club formed in 1872 but the sport died off some when the British left. Sri Lanka have had a team since 1878 and won the All-India cup in 1920. Malaysia has some records of the game but they are patchy. Japan, Singapore, South Korea, China and the Philippines all play the game along with Hong King which has seen notable development of the sevens game, namely the Hong Kong Seven tournament which began in 1976.

South Africa and neighbour Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) were the first to play the sport in Africa but in more recent times, other countries have taken to it. A match in Madagascar recently saw crowds of 40,000 and Namibia have reached the final stages of the World Cup on four occasions since 1999. Other countries with international teams include Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Zambia and Uganda.

Rugby And Other Sports At Their Finest Moments