Rugby Australia, known as the Australian Rugby Union until 2017, is the governing body of rugby union in Australia. It was officially constituted in 1949 and is a member of World Rugby (WR), the sport's international governing body. Rugby Australia has eight member unions, representing each state and territory. It also manages Australia's national rugby union teams, including the Wallabies.
|Founded||1945(as Australian R.F.U.)|
|World Rugby affiliation||1949|
|Patron||General Sir Peter Cosgrove,|
Governor-General of Australia
|Men's coach||Dave Rennie|
|Women's coach||Dwayne Nestor|
|Sevens coach||Tim Walsh (Men's)|
The original administrative body for rugby in Australia was the Southern Rugby Union, established in Sydney in 1874. Following the first inter-colonial rugby match in 1882 between the New South Wales and Queensland teams, a Northern Rugby Union was formed in Brisbane in 1883. Interest in rugby developed rapidly over the next decade as matches between New South Wales and Queensland became annual events and inter-colonial fixtures with New Zealand were also arranged.
The first British Isles team toured in 1888 and played 16 rugby matches in Australia (as well as 18 matches of Victorian rules, later to become Australian football). Rugby at that time was the most prominent football code in New South Wales and Queensland, whereas Victorian rules was the main game in the other Australian colonies. The Southern and Northern Rugby Unions became the New South Wales Rugby Football Union and the Queensland Rugby Football Union, respectively, in 1892 and 1893.
Australia's first international rugby match was against the touring British Isles team of 1899, a year and a half before federation established the Commonwealth of Australia. The match was played at the Sydney Cricket Ground and won 13–3 by Australia, but the tourists won the remaining three tests. The Australian team for the first match consisted of six players from Queensland and nine from New South Wales.
New South Wales, as the senior union, was responsible for administration of the Australian team, including all tours, until the end of the 1940s. However, the various state unions agreed that the future of rugby union in Australia would be better served by having a national administrative body and so the Australian Rugby Football Union was formed at a conference in Sydney in 1945, acting initially in an advisory capacity only. Additional impetus came in 1948 when the International Rugby Football Board invited Australia specifically (rather than a New South Wales representative), to take a seat on the Board.
The constitution of the Australian Rugby Football Union was ratified on 25 November 1949 at the inaugural council meeting of eleven delegates from the state unions of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and Victoria. The ACT Rugby Union gained membership in 1972. The Northern Territory Rugby Union joined in 1978, initially as an associate union before later being granted membership and voting rights.
In 1985 the Australian Rugby Football Union was incorporated as a company and, in 1997, it became simply The Australian Rugby Union Ltd, known as the ARU.
Qantas has had a long relationship with Rugby Australia as its major sponsor and since 2004 they have had official naming rights for the 'Qantas Wallabies'.
The organisation's governing structures were overhauled in December 2012, following a review authored by the former federal senator and Minister for Sport, Mark Arbib.
Rugby Australia's members (shareholders) include the unions representing each Australian state and territory, together with the Super Rugby bodies within the country and the Rugby Union Players' Association (RUPA). Members exercise their voting rights at the annual general meeting. Under the new constitution adopted in 2012, the eight existing member unions and RUPA each provide a delegate who has one allocated vote. Additionally, each of the Super Rugby teams also provide a delegate who has one allocated vote. At this stage, only the Rebels and Waratahs are independently administered so the votes for the other three teams are effectively controlled by the respective member unions that own each team. Finally, any delegate from a member union with more than 50,000 registered players in their region is granted a second vote. Only the New South Wales and Queensland unions exceed that mark at present, so the total number of members' votes is currently sixteen. There are also a number of affiliated groups that do not have voting rights.
|ACT||ACT and Southern NSW Rugby Union||2|
|NSW||New South Wales Rugby Union||2||3|
|QLD||Queensland Rugby Union||3|
|WA||Rugby Western Australia||2|
|SA||Rugby Union South Australia||1|
|TAS||Tasmanian Rugby Union||1|
|NT||Northern Territory Rugby Union||1|
|Rugby Union Players' Association||1|
|Australian Barbarians Rugby Club|
|Australian Junior Rugby Union|
|Australian Schools Rugby Football Union|
|Australian Services Rugby Union|
|Australian Women's Rugby Union|
Note: The Australian Society of Rugby Referees, and Australian Universities Rugby Union were also previously non-voting affiliates until 2005 and 2014, respectively. New South Wales Country Rugby Union and Sydney Rugby Union were also non-voting affiliates until April 2017.
- NSW Rugby Union: 5
- Queensland Rugby Union: 3
- Other state and territory member unions: 1 each
During the calendar years 2017 and 2018 Rugby Australia's total income was $267 million. Of that, sponsorship totalled $59 million and government grants totalled $29 million. Between 2017 and 2018, there was a fall in incomes for all major revenue categories, leaving a reduction in the total income of $30 million for 2018 compared with 2017.
National sevens teams
- Men's 7s – the national rugby union seven-a-side team.
- Women's 7s - the national women's seven-a-side rugby union team.
- Junior Wallabies – the under-20 age graded side that competes for the World Rugby Junior Championship.
- Australian Schoolboys – a representative team of school players that has developed some of today's current Wallabies.
Hall of Fame
Rugby Australia promotes and selects a Hall of Fame honouring notable former players. Each year two or three of Australia's greats from all eras of the international game are selected by an eight-man committee to be inducted into the Wallaby Hall of Fame. Inductees are drawn from all Test teams starting with the first side in 1899. Consideration is given to a player's on-field career but induction is not based on statistical achievement alone.
To be eligible for inclusion in the Wallaby Hall of Fame, a player must have:
- Played at least one Test for Australia
- Been retired from Rugby for at least 10 years
- Made a major contribution to the game of Rugby
- Demonstrated outstanding ability, sportsmanship, commitment, character and personal contribution to their team and the game in their era.
- Trevor Allan
- Jock Blackwood
- Eddie Bonis
- Wylie Breckenridge
- David Brockhoff
- Cyril Burke
- David Campese
- Ken Catchpole
- Bill Cerutti
- Des Connor
- Greg Cornelsen
- Greg Davis
- Sir Edward “Weary” Dunlop
- John Eales
- Charlie Eastes
- Mark Ella
- Nick Farr-Jones
- Jack Ford
- Tim Gavin
- John Hipwell
- Tim Horan
- Peter Johnson
- Phil Kearns
- Tom Lawton, Snr
- Mark Loane
- Michael Lynagh
- Paul McLean
- Wally Meagher
- Tony Miller
- Herbert Moran
- Simon Poidevin
- Tom Richards
- Alex Ross
- Geoff Shaw
- Tony Shaw
- Sir Nicholas Shehadie
- Andrew Slack
- John Solomon
- John Thornett
- Johnnie Wallace
- Jon White
- Colin Windon
- Mulford 2005, p. 22.
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- "Rugby Union 2018 Annual Report". Rugby Australia. 7 April 2019. p. 50.
- Australian Rugby Union. "Australian Sevens Rugby". Sevens Rugby website. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
- "Michael Lynagh inducted into Wallaby Hall of Fame". rugby.com.au. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- "Wallabies full-back Israel Folau wins John Eales Medal for second successive year". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 27 August 2015. Archived from the original on 30 March 2016. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
- "David Pocock wins 2018 John Eales Medal in a landslide". The Sydney Morning Herald. 19 October 2018. Archived from the original on 22 October 2018. Retrieved 22 October 2018.
- "Australian Rugby welcomes three Wallaby greats into Hall of Fame". rugby.com.au. 24 October 2014. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
- Dunger, Ellen (31 October 2017). "Greg Cornelsen received the sport's highest honour last week". The Northern Daily Leader. Archived from the original on 14 December 2017. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
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- "Annual Report 2015". Australian Rugby. Archived from the original on 24 July 2016. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
- Mulford, John G. (2005). Guardians of the Game: The History of the New South Wales Rugby Union 1874-2004. ABC Books. ISBN 0-7333-1625-5.