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Rugby union in Gibraltar

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Title: Rugby union in Gibraltar  
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Subject: Hinduism in Gibraltar, Demographics of Gibraltar, History of the Maltese in Gibraltar, Languages of Gibraltar, Rugby union in Jersey
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Rugby union in Gibraltar

Rugby union in Gibraltar
Country Gibraltar
Governing body Gibraltar Rugby Football Union/Rugby Football Union
National team Gibraltar
Nickname(s) GRFU
First played late 19th century
Clubs 4

Rugby union is a popular sport since its introduction by British military personnel in the 19th Century.

Governing body

The Gibraltar Rugby Football Union (GRFU) has existed since the 1980s when the border with Spain was opened.[1]

Rugby is played in Gibraltar under the auspices of the (GRFU), which exists for the development of the game on the Rock. In 2010 the GRFU appointed a Development Officer to promote the sport in middle schools and comprehensive schools.


As Gibraltar had been a British colony, it has long had a rugby presence, and the game was probably introduced at some point during the 19th century by the military.

Around World War II, a number of Gibraltarians were evacuated to the United Kingdom, and some learned rugby while at school there or in the British Armed Forces.[2]

Teams of Gibraltarians have been bolstered by the constant coming and going of the British Armed Forces, who traditionally had strong teams.[3] During the mid-1960s, a mini league was set up - just in time, as the land border with Spain would close in 1968.[2] This league was dominated by Gibraltar RFC.

Even up to the mid-1980s, rugby on the Rock had a major problem, namely the lack of grass.[4] Games were frequently played on a rocky surface, and visitors had to play Ceuta and Cadiz to the league. The decline in this league was down to a number of factors, such as the decline in military personal in Gibraltar as well as the increase in the number of Spanish teams taking part in the Andalucian League (FAR) and the lack of investment in youth development locally. The land border reopened in 1985, and a number of games were played against sides from Seville and Madrid.[2] Gibraltar RFC now play as Gibraltar Barbarians in the Andalusia First Division.

National team

On 5 November 2011 the Gibraltar Rugby Football Union (GRFU) fielded a national team in its first official Test Match. The fixture was against the Belgium Development Team in Brussels. The final score was Belgium XV 20 Gibraltar XV 8. Test Caps have been awarded to the Gibraltar Team.

The GRFU is currently going through the process of FIRA/AER (European Rugby Federation) membership.[5] The GRFU is planning other international fixtures versus international opponents for April 2012.

There is also a Gibraltar National sevens team that plays regularly in tournaments, particularly in the Tangier Sevens.

Domestic structure

The lack of a decent playing pitch was long a problem, however the laying of a 3rd generation (IRB Approved) astroturf pitch has meant that Gibraltarian teams have been allowed to play their first game of XVs on their home field. The new surface was laid in April 2010 and the first game played on the pitch was against a touring side. The historic first encounter between a Spanish and Gibraltarian side (U20s) was held in September 2010, against Marbella RFC[6]

In 2011 the GRFU hosted its first, locally based, international Sevens tournament called "The Rock 7s".

Gibraltar Barbarians Rugby Club

Gibraltar Barbarians Rugby Club who were formed in 1945 and play in the semi-professional Andalucian League as Gibraltar Barbarians RFC.

The Super IVs league

Gibraltar’s National League is played amongst the four local clubs: Europa Stormers, Straits Sharks, Gibraltar Bay Buccaneers, Rock Scorpions. The aim of the Super IVs is to give Gibraltar’s young, aspiring rugby players a platform from which to continue their rugby development pathway.

Gibraltar Minis

Gibraltar Minis Logo

Gibraltar Minis came into existence in 2011.[7]

Notable players


  1. ^ "GRFU | Home page". 2013-06-02. Retrieved 2013-06-24. 
  2. ^ a b c
  3. ^ Bath, p67
  4. ^ a b Cotton, p16
  5. ^ "About Us - Gibraltar Rugby Football Union". Retrieved June 2013. 
  6. ^ "Album 6 « Gallery 40 « Fotos Marbella Rugby Club". Retrieved June 2013. 
  7. ^ Azopardi, Robert. "GRFU Homepage". 
  8. ^ Scrum dot com, retrieved 3 February 2010

External links

  • Official Page


  • Bath, Richard (ed.) The Complete Book of Rugby (Seven Oaks Ltd, 1997 ISBN 1-86200-013-1)
  • Cotton, Fran (Ed.) (1984) The Book of Rugby Disasters & Bizarre Records. Compiled by Chris Rhys. London. Century Publishing. ISBN 0-7126-0911-3
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