International Rugby Board

The International Rugby Board is the world governing body of the sport of Rugby Union. It was founded in 1886 as the International Rugby Football Board ( IRFB ) of the associations of Scotland, Ireland and Wales. 1890, England, which had initially refused to join, add as the first new member.

The headquarters of the IRB is located in the Irish capital Dublin. Connected to the association, are 115 members (November 2010) and six regional associations. The IRB will host some of the most important international tournaments, most notably the every four -yearly Rugby Union World Championships.

  • 3.1 Africa
  • 3.2 Asia
  • 3.3 Europe
  • 3.4 North America and Caribbean
  • 3.5 Oceania
  • 3.6 South America


The rules laid down by the British Association Rugby Football Union in 1885 ago. Because of disputes over rules and scoring founded Associations of Ireland ( Irish Rugby Football Union ), Scotland (Scottish Rugby Union) and Wales ( Welsh Rugby Union) an international organization, the International Rugby Football Board ( IRFB ), and boycotted the game traffic with Great Britain. After settlement of disputes England occurred in 1890 at the IRFB. In the same year the IRFB established the first internationally binding rules. It was only much later - namely 1949 - occurred in the major rugby nations Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

The Board had earlier after his self- understanding and its members a pure rule Commission, no real governing body for competitions such as championships or Cup tournaments. This reveals the very name: The founders had deliberately not chosen the name Union, Federation or Association. Board means rather Commission or ( supervisory ) advice.

Only after the accession of France in 1978, more and more countries were added in quick succession, first the members of the FIRA -AER. The IRFB became the world governing body, set up in 1987, the first World Cup and took over the patronage of other competitions. In 1998, the name of the organization to the International Rugby Board ( IRB) has been shortened. Germany was admitted in November 1988 as the 38th member.


The first Rugby Union World Cup took place in 1987 in Australia and New Zealand instead. Since then, it is held every four years. The World Cup is now one of the most important sporting events in the world. The company Rugby World Cup Ltd. , Which is headed by the IRB, owns all rights in connection with the World Cup. The revenues are so large that the IRB uses a significant part of it, to promote the development of lesser rugby nations. The IRB also organizes the Rugby Union World Cup of women, which also takes place every four years, each year before the men's World Cup. Other tournaments are the U-21 and U-19 World Championship for Men.

The IRB is responsible for the organization of numerous competitions in the variant 7- rugby. Most important are the IRB Sevens World Series. 1993 was held at the suggestion of the Scottish Association for the first time a 7- Rugby World Cup. 2009 will for the first time held a 7- Rugby World Cup for women.

In addition to the Rugby Union World Championships of men and women and the numerous 7- rugby competitions, organized by the IRB in the world other tournaments. The IRB has set itself the goal of making rugby more popular in North America and therefore the Churchill Cup and the Super Powers Cup organized. The competition North America 4 is expected to grow to a professional North American Football League in the long term. Similarly, active IRB is in the Pacific with the Pacific Rugby Cup and the Pacific Nations Cup. With the Nations Cup the sport in Portugal and Russia should be encouraged.

Olympic games

At Olympic Games Rugby Union stood four times on the program, the last time in 1924. During the 1980s there were some attempts to make Rugby Union again an Olympic sport, but efforts came to nothing. The IRB is keen to make the sport of olympic again, especially in particular 7- Rugby meets all the criteria that are defined in the Olympic Charter. 7- Rugby is played in over 100 countries by men, in over 50 countries by women. The IRB adheres to the rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency and emphasizes that an Olympic tournament could be played in a single stadium and at low cost.

In August 2009, the Executive Board of the IOC suggested the inclusion of 7- rugby and golf in the program of the 2016 Olympic Games. This proposal was approved at the Plenary Session of the IOC.


The IRB shall notify its members into three categories of skills. The participants of the Six Nations (England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, Wales ) and The Rugby Championship ( Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina ) form the first strength class. Skip to second strength class includes Canada, the U.S., Fiji, Japan, Romania, Samoa and Tonga. All other member countries are divided into the third class strength.


23 members of the Confederation of African Rugby ( CAR) belong to the IRB, including 16 full members and seven as associate members:

1 Associate Member


22 members of the Asian Rugby Football Union ( ARFU ) belong to the IRB, including 16 full members and six as associate members:

1 Associate Member


40 members of the Association Européenne de Rugby ( FIRA -AER ) belong to the IRB:

North America and Caribbean

13 members of the North America and West Indies Rugby Association ( NAWIRA ) 2 belong to the IRB, including eleven full members and two as associate members:

1 Associate Member

2 The North America and West Indies Rugby Association forms as part of the Pan American Rugby Association Confederación Sudamericana de together with the Rugby quite a common American umbrella organization.


12 members of the Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions ( FORU ) belong to the IRB:

South America

8 members of the Confederación Sudamericana de Rugby3 ( CONSUR ) belong to the IRB:

The Confederación Sudamericana de Rugby 3 forms as part of the Pan American Rugby Association along with the North America and West Indies Rugby Association a very common American umbrella organization.