Asia Rugby Championship

The Asia Rugby Championship, or ARC, is an annual rugby union competition held amongst national rugby sides within the Asia Rugby region.[1] The competition was originally known as the Asian Rugby Football Tournament when founded in 1969, and was called the Asian Five Nations from 2008 to 2014.

Asia Rugby Championship
Recent season or competition
2019 Asia Rugby Championship
Asia Rugby Championship logo.png
SportRugby union
Formerly known asAsian Five Nations
2008 (as Asian Five Nations)
2015 (ARC)
Governing bodyAsia Rugby
Holders Hong Kong (2019)
Most titles Japan (25 titles)

The winner of the competition's top division is recognised as the rugby champion of Asia. The top division, sometimes referred to as the Tri Nations, includes the top three Asian teams each season. Division 1 includes the next four teams and Division 2 includes the next four. Division three is further divided geographically, with each of the West, East and South Central divisions including three teams.

As of 2017, Japan is the most successful team, securing 25 out of a possible 30 titles since 1969.


The competition was formed as the Asian Rugby Football Tournament in 1969.[1] Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and Thailand contested the inaugural Asian title. Japan were the champions on that occasion.

The tournament was held biennially for the most of its first four decades. It wasn't until 1982 that South Korea became the second team to win the title. The number of teams participating varied from year to year, with as many as 12 teams competing as other Asian teams joined the competition. From 1969 to 1996, there was a single division split into two groups. But in 1998, a second division was introduced as the game began to grow in Asia.

In 2003, a second Asian competition called the Asian Rugby Series was formed. The Asian Rugby Series ran alongside the Rugby Championship to help determine divisional allocations for the Asian Rugby Championship. With more teams competing, a third division was added to the Rugby Championship in 2004. The dual competitions ran until 2007.

Asian Five Nations Logo

Asian Five Nations (2008–14)Edit

In 2008, the ARFU merged the Rugby Championship and Rugby Series into the Asian Five Nations. The competition became an annual championship and a promotion-relegation format was introduced. The winner of Division 2 replaced the loser of Division 1, and the winner of Division 1 replaced the loser of the Five Nations. For its inaugural years, no Division 3 took place, though several regional divisions were implemented across Asia. During the time of this competition, the main Five Nations division was dominated by Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong; the only three teams never to have been relegated to a lower division.

Asia Rugby Championship (2015 onward)Edit

The competition was revamped again for the 2015 season as the Asia Rugby Championship. Under the new format, the top three teams formed a Tri nations division. A promotion-relegation challenge was instituted whereby the Division 1 winner had to defeat the Tri nations third place-getter to gain promotion for the next season.


The current format sees the competition separated into various divisions, with a promotion and relegation format operated into each division. However, this only applies to Division 1 through 3, as the loser of the Tri Nations Division will play a play-off match against the winner of Division 1 to determine the third Tri Nations team for the following year. Where as the winners of Division 2 will automatically replace the loser of Division 1, and the two bottom placed teams in Division 2 will both be relegated down to one of the three regions in Division 3; West, East or South Central. Each of the three regions are made up three teams, and as of 2015, only the winners of the South Central and East divisions can be promoted to Division 2. This is because, the teams competing in the West region, are not considered as full members by World Rugby.

In 2015 in the main Tri Nations division, each team played each other on a home and away basis, picking up 5 points for a win and 3 for a draw. 2 additional points are up for grabs through bonus points, but in order to earn them, teams need to score 4 or more tries in a match, or when losing, lose by 7 points or less. In 2016 the points awarded were changed to 4 points for a win and 1 point for a draw with bonus points the same. For all Divisions, 1 through to 3, nations will only play each other once, with one of the included teams hosting all matches at home. These teams will also aim to pick points up for a win or draw, and gain bonus points. For all divisions, the team with the most table points wins their respective divisions, and if possible, earns promotion to the next division.

Current divisionsEdit

As of 2019, the competition divisions are:

Tri Nations
Division 1
Division 2
Division 3

Previous winnersEdit

All-time summaryEdit

As of the 2019 Asia Rugby Championship.

RankTeamChampionRunner‑upThird placeTotal
1  Japan255030
2  South Korea516728
3  Hong Kong271625
4  Kazakhstan0202
5  Thailand0123
6  Sri Lanka0101
7  Chinese Taipei0033
8  Malaysia0022
9  Singapore0011
  United Arab Emirates0011
Totals (10 teams)32323296

Asia Rugby ChampionshipEdit

Year  Edn Host • Teams Final placings
Asian Rugby Tournament Winner Runner-up Third Fourth
1969 I Tokyo 5   Japan   South Korea   Hong Kong   Thailand [2]
1970 II Bangkok 7   Japan   Thailand   Hong Kong [3][4]   Singapore [3][4]
1972 III Hong Kong 7   Japan   Hong Kong   Thailand   Singapore
1974 IV Colombo 8   Japan   Sri Lanka   South Korea   Malaysia
1976 V Tokyo 8   Japan   South Korea   Chinese Taipei   Thailand [5]
1978 VI Kuala Lumpur 7   Japan   South Korea   Singapore   Thailand
1980 VII Taipei 8   Japan   South Korea   Hong Kong   Chinese Taipei
1982 VIII Singapore 8   South Korea   Japan   Hong Kong   Malaysia
1984 IX Fukuoka 8   Japan   South Korea   Chinese Taipei   Thailand
1986 X Bangkok 8   South Korea   Japan   Thailand [6]   Chinese Taipei
1988 XI Hong Kong 8   South Korea   Japan   Hong Kong   Chinese Taipei
1990 XII Colombo 8   South Korea   Japan   Hong Kong   Thailand
1992 XIII Hong Kong 8   Japan   Hong Kong   South Korea   Thailand
1994 XIV Kuala Lumpur 8   Japan   South Korea   Hong Kong   Chinese Taipei
1996 XV Taipei 7   Japan   South Korea   Hong Kong   Chinese Taipei
Asian Rugby Champs Div I Winner Runner-up Third Fourth
1998 XVI Singapore 4   Japan   South Korea   Hong Kong   Chinese Taipei
2000 XVII Aomori 4   Japan   South Korea   Chinese Taipei   Hong Kong
2002 XVIII Bangkok 4   South Korea   Japan   Hong Kong   Chinese Taipei
2004 XIX Hong Kong 4   Japan   South Korea   Hong Kong   Chinese Taipei
2006 XX Hong Kong 3   Japan   South Korea   Hong Kong N/A
Asian Five Nations Winner Runner-up Third Fourth
2008 XXI round-robin
5   Japan   South Korea   Hong Kong   Kazakhstan
2009 XXII 5   Japan   Kazakhstan   South Korea   Hong Kong
2010 XXIII 5   Japan   Kazakhstan   Hong Kong   Arabian Gulf
2011 XXIV 5   Japan   Hong Kong   United Arab Emirates   Kazakhstan
2012 XXV 5   Japan   South Korea   Hong Kong   United Arab Emirates
2013 XXVI 5   Japan   South Korea   Hong Kong   Philippines
2014 XXVII 5   Japan   Hong Kong   South Korea   Philippines*
Asia Rugby Championship Winner Runner-up Third Fourth
2015 XXVIII home
3   Japan   Hong Kong   South Korea N/A
2016 XXIX 3   Japan   Hong Kong   South Korea
2017 XXX 3   Japan   Hong Kong   South Korea
2018 a XXXI 3   Hong Kong   South Korea   Malaysia
2019 a XXXII 3   Hong Kong   South Korea   Malaysia


^* Relegated to the division below

^ Able to be challenged by the winner of the division below to play in a promotion-relegation play-off.

^a Japan—as hosts of the 2019 Rugby World Cup–did not defend their Asia rugby Championship title in 2018 to allow the Tri Nations competition to form part of the 2019 Rugby World Cup – Asia qualification process. Instead of returning to the trinations for 2019, Japan played the Pacific Nations to prepare for the World Cup.

Division tournamentsEdit

Year Div Host • Teams Final placings
ARC Divisions Winner Runner-up Third Fourth
1998 2 Singapore 6   Singapore   Sri Lanka   Thailand   Malaysia
2000 2 Ōwani 4   Singapore   China   Sri Lanka   Thailand
2002 2 Bangkok 7   Thailand   Arabian Gulf   Singapore   Kazakhstan
2004 2 Hong Kong 4   Singapore   Thailand   Kazakhstan   Arabian Gulf
3 4   China   Sri Lanka   India   Pakistan
2007 2 Colombo 6   Kazakhstan   Sri Lanka   China   Chinese Taipei
3 3   Iran   India   Pakistan N/A
Asian Five Nations Divisions Winner Runner-up Third Fourth
2008 1 Taiwan 4 §  Singapore   Chinese Taipei   Sri Lanka   China
2 Thailand 4 §  Thailand   Malaysia   India    Pakistan
P Guam 3 §  Philippines §  Guam   Brunei N/A
C Sri Lanka 3 §  Iran   Uzbekistan   Kyrgyzstan
SE Indonesia 3 §  Indonesia   Laos   Cambodia
2009 1 Dubai 4 §   Arabian Gulf   Chinese Taipei   Sri Lanka   Thailand
2 Malaysia 4 §  Malaysia   China   India   Pakistan
3 Philippines 4 §  Philippines   Guam   Iran    Indonesia
C Uzbekistan 3 §  Uzbekistan   Kyrgyzstan   Mongolia N/A
SE Laos 3 §  Laos   Brunei   Cambodia
2010 1 Singapore 4 §  Sri Lanka   Singapore   Malaysia   Chinese Taipei
2 India 4 §   Philippines   India   Thailand   China
3 Indonesia 4 §  Iran   Pakistan   Guam    Indonesia
4 Kazakhstan 4 §  Jordan   Uzbekistan   Almaty Select    Mongolia
2011 1 South Korea 4 §  South Korea   Singapore   Philippines   Malaysia
2 Thailand 4 §  Chinese Taipei   Thailand   Iran   India
3 Indonesia 4 §  China   Guam   Indonesia    Pakistan
4 Dubai 4 §  Qatar   Lebanon   Jordan    Uzbekistan
5 Cambodia
& Laos
2 §  Laos   Cambodia N/A N/A
2012 1 Philippines 4 §  Philippines   Sri Lanka   Chinese Taipei   Singapore
2 Malaysia 4 §  Thailand   Malaysia   Iran   China
3 Indonesia 4 §  India   Guam   Indonesia   Pakistan
4 Dubai 4 §  Qatar   Lebanon   Jordan    Uzbekistan
5 Cambodia 3 §  Laos   Brunei   Cambodia N/A
2013 1 Sri Lanka 4 §  Sri Lanka   Kazakhstan   Chinese Taipei   Thailand
2 Malaysia 4 §  Singapore   Malaysia   Iran   India
3 4 §  Qatar   Guam   Indonesia    China
4 Dubai 4 §  Lebanon   Pakistan   Uzbekistan    Laos
5 Cambodia 2 §  Cambodia   Brunei N/A N/A
2014 1 Dubai &
Hong Kong
4    Kazakhstan
  United Arab Emirates
  Chinese Taipei
2 Qatar 4    Malaysia   Qatar   Iran   Thailand
3E Laos 4    China   Guam   Indonesia   Laos
3W Pakistan 4    Lebanon   Uzbekistan   India   Pakistan
4 Brunei 3    Mongolia   Cambodia   Brunei N/A
ARC Divisions Winner Runner-up Third Fourth
2015 1 Philippines 4    Sri Lanka   Philippines   Kazakhstan   Singapore
2 Malaysia 4 §  Malaysia   United Arab Emirates   Chinese Taipei   Thailand
3E Indonesia 3 §  Guam   China   Indonesia N/A
3SC Uzbekistan 2 §  Uzbekistan   India N/A
3W Lebanon 3    Lebanon   Iran   Jordan
2016 1 Malaysia 4    Malaysia   Sri Lanka   Philippines   Singapore
2 Uzbekistan 4 §  United Arab Emirates   Thailand   Guam   Uzbekistan
3E Thailand 2    Laos   Indonesia N/A N/A
3WC Qatar 3    Qatar   Lebanon   Iran
3W Jordan 3    Jordan   UAE Shaheen   Saudi Arabia
2017 1 Malaysia 4 §  Malaysia   Sri Lanka   Philippines    United Arab Emirates
2 Taiwan 4 §  Singapore   Thailand   Chinese Taipei    India
3W Uzbekistan 3    Lebanon   Uzbekistan   Iran N/A
2018 1 Philippines 2    Philippines   Singapore N/A
2 Thailand 3 §  Chinese Taipei   Thailand   India
3E Brunei 3    Guam   China   Brunei
3C Kazakhstan 4    Kazakhstan   Pakistan   Mongolia   Kyrgyzstan
3W Lebanon 4    Lebanon   Iran   Qatar   Jordan
2019 1 Taipei 4    Philippines   Singapore   Sri Lanka   Chinese Taipei
2 Thailand 4    United Arab Emirates   Thailand   Kazakhstan   Guam
3ES Indonesia 3    China   India   Indonesia N/A
3C Pakistan 2    Pakistan   Uzbekistan N/A
3W Qatar 3    Qatar   Lebanon   Jordan


^ Relegated to the division below.

^§ Won promotion, or the right to a challenge play-off for promotion, to the division above.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "History". Asia Rugby. 2016. Archived from the original on 23 December 2015. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  2. ^ "Asian Championship 1969". Rugby Archive. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Asian Championship 1970". Rugby Archive. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Asian Championship 1970". ESPN Scrum. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  5. ^ "Asian Championship 1986". Rugby Archive. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  6. ^ "Asian Championship 1986". Rugby Archive. Retrieved 1 April 2018.

External linksEdit