Rugby union in the Isle of Man

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Rugby union in the Isle of Man
1888 British Lions.jpg
The 1888 British Isles side including Manx player A.P. Penketh
Country Isle of Man
Governing body Rugby Football Union
National team(s) Isle of Man
First played late 19th century
Clubs 6

Rugby union in the Isle of Man is a popular sport. As such, it has no national competitive side of its own, and is not affiliated to the IRB in its own right. For this reason, it has no IRB ranking.

Governing body[edit]

Rugby Union is played in the Isle of Man under the auspices of the Manx Rugby Football Union which is affiliated to the (English) Rugby Football Union. The Isle of Man is politically neither part of the UK nor of England,[1] but Manx rugby has a relationship with English rugby for practical reasons.


King William's College as seen across the runway of Ronaldsway Airport.

Due to its proximity to England, and the major rugby nations of Ireland, Scotland and Wales, Manx rugby is amongst the oldest in the world, dating back to the mid 19th century. King William's College, the island's best known private school took the game up early and it is still one of the school's main sports,[2] and a number of other Manx schools also play, such as Castle Rushen High School, Ramsey Grammar School. The Manx Government also funds a full-time rugby development officer.[3]

An early club was Mona RFC, which is now defunct.[4]

There are a number of rugby union clubs within the island that contest the domestic competitions the Shimmin Wilson Manx Shield and the Dorchester Maritime Manx Cup. Reigning Shield Champions are Ramsey Rugby Club with the Manx Cup yet to be decided. Other clubs include Castletown Rugby Club, Douglas Rugby Club, Southern Nomads Rugby Club, Vagabonds Rugby Club and Western Vikings R.U.F.C

There is also a London Manx RFC side.[5]

Ramsey Rugby Club, Douglas Rugby Club and Vagabonds Rugby Club all have teams participating in the English leagues.

Like many small islands, the Isle of Man has a population problem. The main sport is association football, and the national population is under 80,000.

As yet, the Isle of Man has not fielded a national team.

Notable players connected with the Isle of Man[edit]

The following are notable Manx rugby union players, or people with a connection to the island.

Broadcast media[edit]

The Isle of Man has no television of its own, but does have its own radio station. However, British and Irish television can both be received on the island, and often include extensive rugby coverage - such as the Rugby World Cup and Six Nations Championship



External links[edit]