Rugby Europe International Championships

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Rugby Europe International Championships
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2018–19 Rugby Europe International Championships
Sport Rugby union
Founded 1936 (predecessors)
2016 (current format)
No. of teams See below
Continent Europe
Most recent
champion(s)
 Georgia
Most titles  France (25),
 Georgia (10),
 Romania (10)

The Rugby Europe International Championships is the European Championship for tier 2 and tier 3 rugby union nations.

The tournament is split into 5 levels, each with 5 or 6 teams. Its highest level is now called the Rugby Europe Championship and, unofficially, referred to as the Six Nations B. All levels play on a one-year cycle, replacing the old format of a two-year cycle, with the teams playing each other both home and away. From September 2016, there will still be an annual champion, however a format change means each year sees teams promoted and relegated between the levels.

History[edit]

International championships before 2000[edit]

Following the exclusion of France from the Five Nations Tournament in 1931, they join with Italy, Romania, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Portugal, Netherlands, and Catalonia to create the International Amateur Rugby Federation (FIRA, now Rugby Europe) as an alternative to the International Rugby Football Board (now World Rugby). Three tournaments are held from 1936-1938, with France winning all three. Following the Second World War, France is readmitted into the Five Nations Championship, but they also compete in the only two tournaments organised by FIRA, the Rugby Union European Cup, held in 1952 and 1954, winning them both. From 1965 FIRA try to revitalise the European competition by creating the FIRA Nations Cup (1965-1973) and then the FIRA Trophy (1973-1997); however, France fields a France A side made up mostly of university students. While the French students win many of the tournaments, Romania also have their share of tournament titles. In the late 1990s, the championship becomes irregular, with some editions not taking place because of qualifications for the World Cup. Finally, the European Nations Cup begins in 2000, no longer including France and Italy, as they now play in the reformed Six Nations Championship.

European Nations Cup: initial format (since 2000)[edit]

2018-19 Rugby Europe International Championships
Key
Six Nations
Championship
Trophy
Conference 1 North
Conference 1 South
Conference 2 North
Conference 2 South
Development
Others

After the setup of the divisional system in 2000, Romania won the first competition with maximum points, The initial season also included Morocco.

Russia then replaced Morocco in 2001 when Georgia secured the title and were crowned champions after a 31–20 win over Romania in Bucharest. As the competition format changed from a one-year tournament to two-years, the Netherlands were not relegated after this season.

Romania started 2002 trailing Georgia after the 2001 results, but managed to win all of the remaining five games, including a 31–23 victory in Tbilisi.

Portugal were 16–15 winners over Romania in Lisbon and installed themselves at the top of the 2003–04 table. In the second half of the competition, Romania won 36–6 against Portugal in Constanța, but went down 24–33 to Russia in Krasnodar. Then Portugal clinched their first title with a last-minute 19–18 home win over Russia. The Russia – Czech Republic game was rescheduled due to bad weather and was eventually cancelled.

The 2005–06 championships also served as a qualifying pool for the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Romania triumphed finishing level on points with Georgia, while Ukraine were relegated after losing all matches.

The 2007–08 edition saw the return of the Spanish to the top division. The winners were Georgia, following their display at the 2007 Rugby World Cup. The Russians recorded their best ever placement, finishing in second. The Czech Republic were the team to finish on the bottom of the table, losing all of their matches, relegating them back to Division 2A.

A new format was decided at the beginning of 2009. Each calendar year had its own champion, but the cumulated ranking over two years determined which team was relegated. The 2009–10 edition was also basis for European qualification to the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The 2009 season saw the début of Germany in the top division, Georgia defended their title, and there were wins for Portugal and Russia in Bucharest.

Faced with the possibility of missing a Rugby World Cup for the first time, Romania were managed the 2010 title. This feat was however not enough to overtake Georgia and Russia, who helped by their good results from the previous year, gained the automatic qualification for the 2011 RWC, leaving Romania to go through the Play-Off Qualification Rounds. Germany were relegated after failing to win any games.

Georgia won the 2011 edition, after beating Romania 18–11 in Tbilisi. The promoted team, Ukraine, lost all but one of their matches, single win over Portugal.

European Nations Cup: second format (from 2010 to 2016)[edit]

For the 2010–2012 competition (and promotion and relegation between groups going forward to successive competitions), the top two divisions (previously 1 and 2A) were redefined as 1A and 1B, both having six teams (previously six and five). The next four levels (previously 2B, 3A, 3B and 3C) become 2A-2D, under the new system, with the remnants of Division 3D making up the initial group of teams labelled as Division 3. In principle, each division is to encompass a different type of competition.

In Division 1, groups have six teams (meaning more matches and thus more travel), a significant fraction of the players are assumed to be professional or semi-professional (meaning that fixtures are, as often as possible, scheduled within the IRB's international fixtures time windows when clubs must release players for national duty), and only one team is promoted and one relegated every two years (meaning that the competitions are more stable).

In Division 2, groups have only five teams each (usually meaning one home match and one away match in the Autumn, and the same in the Spring, for each team), it is assumed that the majority of players are amateurs (meaning scheduling is not as limited), and in addition to the traditional automatic first-promoted-last-relegated system, fourth place from the higher pool will play second place from the lower pool after every two-year competition, with the winner taking the position in the higher pool. From a five-team group, one team is promoted, one team is relegated and two teams play in playoffs. Thus, a maximum of four of a pool's five teams could change from one two-year competition to the next.

In Division 3, a single-location, short-time-period (one week or 10 days) tournament is organised once per year. This minimises travel costs for teams and time-off-work requirements for players, and allows the flexibility of having a different membership every year, rather than requiring the membership to be constant over two years. The best performing team over two years of tournaments is promoted to Division 2.

In the year of transition to the new system (2010), there were no relegations from any division below the highest, because the second-highest (old 2A, new 1B) was expanded by one team.

International Championships: new format (from 2016)[edit]

From September 2016, the European Nations Cup became the Rugby Europe International Championships, made up of five levels or divisions:

  • Level 1 - Championship. The top six ranked European teams outside the Six Nations contest the annual title. Replaces the former Division 1A.
  • Level 2 - Trophy. The next six ranked European teams bid for the Trophy title. Replaces the former Division 1B.
  • Level 3 - Conference 1. Division 2, A through D, becomes the new Conference level, where twenty teams are separated into two Conferences made up of ten teams each, based on their previous year rankings. Each conference is then split into two, North and South, where teams could change each year depending on the competing teams - nations closest to boundary moved from North to South and vice versa each season as necessary to geographically balance the conferences.
  • Level 4 - Conference 2
  • Level 5 - Development. Replaces Division 3.

A promotion and relegation play-off system is maintained across all levels every year, moving away from the two-year system in place since 2003, meaning teams will be promoted and relegated every year.[1]

Current divisions and standings (2018–2019)[edit]

Note: Standings and divisions not yet final. The relegation play-off between Romania and Portugal is not decided yet.

Key
* Champion of the 2017–18 season
Team promoted from the division below after the 2017–18 season
Division champion but team not promoted after the 2017–18 season
Last place of division but team not relegated after the 2017–18 season
Team relegated from the division above after the 2017–18 season
Championship Pl W Pts
 Georgia * 0 0 0
 Russia 0 0 0
 Germany 0 0 0
 Belgium 0 0 0
 Spain 0 0 0
 Romania 0 0 0
Trophy Pl W Pts
 Lithuania 1 1 5
 Poland 1 1 4
 Portugal 0 0 0
 Netherlands 0 0 0
 Czech Republic 2 0 0
  Switzerland 0 0 0
Conference 1 North Pl W Pts
 Sweden 1 1 5
 Ukraine 1 1 4
 Hungary 0 0 0
 Luxembourg 0 0 0
 Moldova 0 0 0
Conference 1 South Pl W Pts
 Croatia 3 3 14
 Malta 1 1 4
 Israel 2 0 2
 Cyprus 0 0 0
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 0 0 0
Conference 2 North Pl W Pts
 Latvia 2 2 9
 Denmark 2 1 6
 Finland 2 1 4
 Norway 2 1 4
 Austria 2 0 2
Conference 2 South Pl W Pts
 Slovenia 2 2 9
 Bulgaria 2 1 4
 Serbia 1 0 1
 Slovakia 0 0 0
 Andorra 1 0 0
Development Pl W Pts
 Estonia 0 0 0
 Turkey 0 0 0
 Montenegro 0 0 0

Updated through October 21st 2018

Predecessor tournaments[edit]

FIRA Tournaments (1936–1938)[edit]

Year Host city Winner Second place Third place
1936 Berlin
France

Germany

Italy
1937 Paris
France

Italy

Germany
1938 Bucharest
France

Germany

Romania

Rugby Union European Cup (1952–1954)[edit]

Year Winner Second place Third place
1952
France

Italy

West Germany
1954
France

Italy

Spain

FIRA Nations Cup (1965–1973)[edit]

Year Winner Second place Third place
1965–1966
France

Italy

Romania
1966–1967
France

Romania

Italy
1967–1968
France

Romania

Czechoslovakia
1968–1969
Romania

France

Czechoslovakia
1969–1970
France

Romania

Italy
1970–1971
France

Romania

Morocco
1971–1972
France

Romania

Morocco
1972–1973
France

Romania

Spain

FIRA Trophy (1973–1997)[edit]

Year Winner Second place Third place
1973–1974
France

Romania

Spain
1974–1975
Romania

France

Italy
1975–1976
France

Italy

Romania
1976–1977
Romania

France

Italy
1977–1978
France

Romania

Spain
1978–1979
France

Romania

Soviet Union
1979–1980
France

Romania

Italy
1980–1981
Romania

France

Soviet Union
1981–1982
France

Italy

Romania
1982–1983
Romania

Italy

Soviet Union
1983–1984
France

Romania

Italy
1984–1985
France

Soviet Union

Italy
1985–1987
France

Soviet Union

Romania
1987–1989
France

Soviet Union

Romania
1989–1990
France

Soviet Union

Romania
1990–1992
France

Italy

Romania
1992–1994
France

Italy

Romania
1995–1997
Italy

France

Romania

European Nations Cup (2000–2016)[edit]

Year First Division Lower Division Champions
Winner Second Third Relegated Trophy Division 2
2000  Romania  Georgia  Morocco  Russia  Czech Republic
2001  Georgia  Romania  Russia  Poland Not played [2]
2001–2002  Romania  Georgia  Russia  Netherlands  Czech Republic[3]  Slovenia
2003–2004  Portugal  Romania  Georgia  Spain  Ukraine  Moldova
2004–2006  Romania  Georgia  Portugal  Ukraine  Spain  Latvia
2006–2008  Georgia  Russia  Romania  Czech Republic  Germany  Sweden
2008–2010  Georgia  Russia  Portugal  Germany [4]  Ukraine  Lithuania
2010  Romania  Georgia  Russia
2011  Georgia  Romania  Portugal  Ukraine [5]  Belgium  Sweden
2012  Georgia  Spain  Romania
2013  Georgia  Romania  Russia  Belgium [6]  Germany  Netherlands
2014  Georgia  Romania  Russia
2015  Georgia  Romania  Spain  Portugal  Belgium  Estonia
2016  Georgia  Romania  Russia

Rugby Europe International Championships (since 2016)[edit]

Year Championship Trophy Conference Development
Winner Second Third Relegated Winner Relegated Winner Relegated Winner
2016–17  Romania  Georgia  Spain  Portugal  Ukraine  Czech Republic  Turkey  Slovakia
2017–18  Georgia  Russia  Germany  Portugal  Moldova  Lithuania  Estonia  Bulgaria
2018–19

Statistics[edit]

Including events since 2000.

All-time table[edit]

Pld W D L PF PA PD AVPPG Pts Champs
 Georgia 95 78 4 13 2934 1117 + 1817 30.71 311 10
 Romania 95 69 2 24 2894 1225 + 1657 29.98 273 5
 Russia 84 47 3 34 2190 1788 + 402 26.07 186 0
 Portugal 85 35 3 47 1605 1865 - 260 18.88 152 1
 Spain 80 25 4 51 1575 2020 − 445 19.69 145 0
 Czech Republic 29 6 0 23 362 1075 − 713 12.48 40 0
 Germany 25 3 1 21 341 1064 − 723 13.64 26 0
 Netherlands 15 1 0 14 278 652 − 374 18.53 17 0
 Ukraine 20 1 0 19 201 998 − 797 10.05 15 0
 Morocco 5 3 0 2 94 69 + 25 18.80 11 0
 Belgium 20 2 1 17 204 412 − 208 13.6 8 0
ENC champions

Performance by team[edit]

Nation Winner Runner-up Third Place
 Georgia 10 5 1
 Romania 5 7 2
 Portugal 1 0 3
 Russia 0 3 6
 Spain 0 1 1
 Germany 0 0 1
 Morocco 0 0 1

Records (since 2000)[edit]

Division 1A

Titles
Top division apperarances
  • 18 (joint record) –  Georgia (2000–present),  Romania (2000–present)
Wins
  • most wins overall: 78 Georgia
  • most home wins overall: 42 Georgia
  • most away wins overall: 36 Georgia
  • most consecutive wins overall: 23 Georgia (16 March 2013 – 19 March 2017)
  • most consecutive home wins: 27 Georgia (14 February 2009 – present)
  • most consecutive away wins: 14 Georgia (16 March 2013 – 19 March 2017)
Draws
Losses
  • most losses overall: 49 Spain
Points
Games without a loss
  • Longest unbeaten run: 29 Georgia (25 February 2012 – 19 March 2017)
  • Most consecutive games without a loss home: 34 Georgia (14 February 2004 – present)
  • Most consecutive games without a loss away: 14 Georgia (11 February 2012 – 19 March 2017)
Games without a win
  • 17, joint record –  Ukraine (20 November 2004 – 17 March 2012),  Germany (15 November 2009 – 27 February 2016)

Other trophies[edit]

Several other trophies are contested within the main competition, mostly as long-standing fixtures between pairs of teams.

  • Viriato Cup: Portugal versus Spain. The most recent Viriato Cup match was a draw, meaning Spain retained the trophy (2013)
  • Trophy of the Two Iberias: Georgia versus Spain. The most recent Trophy of the Two Iberias match was won by Georgia (2018)
  • Treasure of Lipovens: Romania versus Russia. The most recent Treasure of Lipovens match was won by Romania (2018)
  • Antim Cup: Romania versus Georgia. The most recent Antim Cup match was won by Georgia (2018)
  • Moscow Gold: Russia versus Spain. The most recent Moscow Gold match was won by Spain (2018)
  • Coltan Cup: Portugal versus Belgium. The most recent Coltan Cup match was won by Portugal (2013)
  • Trajan's Column: Spain versus Romania. The most recent Trajan's Column match was won by Spain (2018)
  • Suebi Bowl: Germany versus Portugal. The most recent Suebi Bowl match was won by Portugal (2010)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Press Release - Rugby Europe AGM Twickenham, July 25, 2015 Archived August 25, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Was played the first round of 2003 Rugby World Cup – European qualification
  3. ^ Was played as the second round of 2003 Rugby World Cup – European qualification
  4. ^ relegation and promotion on two year based ranking
  5. ^ relegation and promotion on two year based ranking
  6. ^ relegation and promotion on two year based ranking

External links[edit]