Major international rugby competitions

In Rugby Union, the most prominent championship is the Rugby World Cup which is a men’s championship tournament which is held in every four years consisting of international rugby union teams. At present, New Zealand is the defending world champion. In the 2011 World Cup, they defeated France 8 – 7 in the final game. No World Cup winners have successfully defended their title after becoming the world champ. England were the very first team the Northern Hemisphere to grab the World Cup title; with New Zealand ( in 1987), Australia ( in 1991 and 1999) and South Africa ( in 1995 and 2007) being the former champions.

Other top international championships are the Six Nations Championship (held in Europe) and The Rugby Championship (in Southern Hemisphere). The Six Nations is a yearly competition consisting of European teams like Ireland, France, England, Wales, Scotland and Italy. Each team plays one match with each nation. After the initial international matches between Scotland and England; Wales and Ireland start competing in the 1880s, creating the Home International Championships. France took part in the championship in the 1900s and in 1910, the ‘Five Nations’ term appeared for the first time. In 1931, the Home Nations excluded France in the midst of poor results run as well as the allegations and concerns over professionalism and on-field violence. In the 1939 - 1940, France rejoined, though the second world was stopped the proceedings for the next 8 years. Since World War 2, France had taken part in all the championships, the 1st of what was played in the year 1947. In 2000, Italy turned to be the 6th country in the championship and Stadio Flaminio of Rome where their rugby games were played, is actually the smallest venue in the competition. The defending Six Nation winner is Wales that finished the grand slam with a 16 - 9 win over France.

Major International Rugby Competitions The Rugby Championship is the brand new name for the Southern Hemisphere's yearly international series where top international teams take part. Since its origination in the year 1996 through 2011, this cup was called the Tri Nations as this championship features southern hemisphere’s top traditional superpowers South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. In recent years, these three teams have dominated the world rankings. According to many critics, the Tri Nations is the toughest tournament in international circuit. Initially, the Tri Nations was played on home and away formats with all these three countries playing each other two times.

In the year 2006, a brand new system was brought in where each country played the other country 3 times, though in 2007 as well as in 2011, the teams played each other only two times, as both these years were World Cup Years.

After Argentina’s spectacular performances in 2007 World Cup, many commentators think that they must be a part of Tri Nations and that chance came closer to reality after the Tri Nations’ competition in 2009 when SANZAR provided and official invitation to UAR (Argentine Rugby Union) to join an elaborated Four Nations championship in 2012. The championship has been officially renamed as The Rugby Championship starting with the 2012 edition. The Championship will return to the actual home-and-away format of the Tri Nations but with four teams.