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Rugby Europe International Championships

  (Redirected from Rugby Europe Championship)

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

Rugby Europe International Championships
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2019–20 Rugby Europe International Championships
SportRugby union
Founded1936 (predecessors)
2016 (current format)
No. of teamsSee below
ContinentEurope
Most recent
champion(s)
 Georgia
Most titles France (25),
 Georgia (11),
 Romania (10)

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.

HistoryEdit

International championships before 2000Edit

Following the exclusion of France from the Five Nations Tournament after the 1931 edition, France joined 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 were held from 1936-1938, with France winning all three. Following the Second World War, France was readmitted into the Five Nations Championship, but they also competed in the only two tournaments organised by FIRA, the Rugby Union European Cup, held in 1952 and 1954, winning them both.

From 1965, FIRA attempted to revitalise the European competition by creating the FIRA Nations Cup (1965-1973) and then the FIRA Trophy (1973-1997); however, France fielded a France A side made up mostly of university students. While the French students won many of the tournaments, Romania also had their share of tournament titles. In the late 1990s, the championship became irregular, with some editions not taking place because of qualifications for the World Cup. Finally, the European Nations Cup began in 2000, no longer including France and Italy, as they now played in the reformed Six Nations Championship.

European Nations Cup: initial format (since 2000)Edit

 
2019-20 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 (2019–2020)Edit

Key
* Champion of the 2018–19 season
Team promoted from the division below after the 2018–19 season
Division champion but team not promoted after the 2018–19 season
Last place of division but team not relegated after the 2018–19 season
Team relegated from the division above after the 2018–19 season
Championship Pl W Pts
  Georgia * 0 0 0
  Spain 0 0 0
  Romania 0 0 0
  Russia 0 0 0
  Belgium 0 0 0
  Portugal 0 0 0
Trophy Pl W Pts
  Netherlands 2 2 10
   Switzerland 2 1 6
  Ukraine 2 1 5
  Germany 2 1 4
  Poland 2 1 4
  Lithuania 2 0 0
Conference 1 North Pl W Pts
  Czech Republic 2 2 10
  Hungary 2 1 5
  Luxembourg 2 1 4
  Sweden 2 1 4
  Latvia 2 0 1
Conference 1 South Pl W Pts
  Croatia 2 2 9
  Malta 2 1 6
  Cyprus 2 1 5
  Slovenia 2 0 2
  Israel 2 0 2
Conference 2 North Pl W Pts
  Denmark 2 2 10
  Moldova 2 1 6
  Austria 2 1 5
  Finland 2 1 4
  Norway 2 0 0
Conference 2 South Pl W Pts
  Bulgaria 2 2 10
  Turkey 2 1 5
  Andorra 2 1 5
  Serbia 2 1 4
  Bosnia and Herzegovina 2 0 0
Development Pl W Pts
  Slovakia 0 0 0
  Estonia 0 0 0
  Montenegro 0 0 0
  Belarus 0 0 0

Updated through 30 November 2019

Predecessor tournamentsEdit

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 First Division
Winner Second Third Relegated
1965–66  
France A
 
Italy
 
Romania
 
Czechoslovakia
1966–67  
France A
 
Romania
 
Italy
 
Portugal
1967–68  
France A
 
Romania
 
Czechoslovakia
1968–69  
Romania
 
France A
 
Czechoslovakia
 
West Germany
 
Poland
1969–70  
France A
 
Romania
 
Italy
 
Czechoslovakia
1970–71  
France A
 
Romania
 
Morocco
 
Italy
1971–72  
France A
 
Romania
 
Morocco
 
Czechoslovakia
1972–73  
France A
 
Romania
 
Spain

FIRA Trophy (1973–1997)Edit

Year First Division
Winner Second Third Relegated
1973–74  
France A
 
Romania
 
Spain
 
Poland
 
Morocco
1974–75  
Romania
 
France A
 
Italy
 
Czechoslovakia
1975–76  
France A
 
Italy
 
Romania
 
Netherlands
1976–77  
Romania
 
France A
 
Italy
 
Morocco
1977–78  
France A
 
Romania
 
Spain
 
Czechoslovakia
1978–79  
France A
 
Romania
 
Soviet Union
 
Spain
1979–80  
France A
 
Romania
 
Italy
 
Morocco
1980–81  
Romania
 
France A
 
Soviet Union
 
Poland
1981–82  
France A
 
Italy
 
Romania
1982–83  
Romania
 
Italy
 
Soviet Union
 
West Germany
1983–84  
France A
 
Romania
 
Italy
 
Poland
 
Morocco
1984–85  
France A
 
Soviet Union
 
Italy
 
Spain
1985–87  
France A
 
Soviet Union
 
Romania
 
Tunisia
 
Portugal
1987–89  
France A
 
Soviet Union
 
Romania
 
Spain
1989–90  
France A
 
Soviet Union
 
Romania
 
Poland
1990–92  
France A
 
Italy
 
Romania
 
Spain
1992–94  
France A
 
Italy
 
Romania
1995–97  
Italy
 
France A
 
Romania

European Nations Cup (2000–2016)Edit

Year First Division Lower Division Champions
Winner Second Third Relegated Second Division Third Division Fourth Division
2000  
Romania
 
Georgia
 
Morocco
 
Russia
 
Czech Republic
 
Slovenia
 
Serbia and Montenegro
 
Sweden
2001  
Georgia
 
Romania
 
Russia
 
Poland
Not played [2]
2001–2002  
Romania
 
Georgia
 
Russia
 
Netherlands
  [3]
Czech Republic
 
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
2008–2009  
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  
Georgia
 
Spain
 
Romania
 
Germany
 
Portugal**
 
Czech Republic
 
Ukraine*
 
Slovakia
 
Turkey
2019-20

* Promoted to Trophy
** Promoted to Championship

StatisticsEdit

Including events since 2000.

All-time tableEdit

Pld W D L PF PA PD AVPPG Pts Champs
  Georgia 100 83 4 13 3094 1153 +1941 30.94 335 11
  Romania 100 72 2 26 3027 1298 +1729 30.27 290 5
  Russia 94 51 3 40 2464 1945 +519 26.21 218 0
  Spain 90 32 4 54 1842 2159 −317 20.47 176 0
  Portugal 85 35 3 47 1584 1865 −281 18.64 152 1
  Czech Republic 29 6 0 23 362 1075 −713 12.48 40 0
  Germany 35 3 1 31 438 1594 −1156 12.51 27 0
  Belgium 25 3 1 21 378 816 −438 15.12 21 0
  Netherlands 15 1 0 14 139 652 −513 9.27 17 0
  Ukraine 20 1 0 19 201 997 −796 10.05 15 0
  Morocco 5 3 0 2 94 69 +25 18.80 11 0
 
ENC champions

Performance by teamEdit

Nation Winner Runner-up Third Place
  Georgia 11 5 1
  Romania 5 7 3
  Portugal 1 0 3
  Russia 0 3 6
  Spain 0 2 1
  Germany 0 0 1
  Morocco 0 0 1

Records (since 2000)Edit

Division 1A

Titles
Top division appearances
  • 19 (joint record) –   Georgia (2000–present),   Romania (2000–present)
Wins
  • most wins overall: 83  Georgia
  • most home wins overall: 44  Georgia
  • most away wins overall: 39  Georgia
  • most consecutive wins overall: 23  Georgia (16 March 2013 – 19 March 2017)
  • most consecutive home wins: 29  Georgia (14 February 2009 – present)
  • most consecutive away wins: 14  Georgia (16 March 2013 – 19 March 2017)
Draws
  • most draws overall: 4 (joint record) –   Georgia,   Spain
Losses
  • most losses overall: 54  Spain
Points
Games without a loss
  • Longest unbeaten run: 29  Georgia (25 February 2012 – 19 March 2017)
  • Most consecutive games without a loss home: 36  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 trophiesEdit

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 alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  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 linksEdit