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World Rugby

World Rugby IRB World Rugby as the world governing body for rugby union was formally founded by the rugby unions of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales as International Rugby Football Board (IRFB) on 1887, Dec 05.
England joined the IRFB in 1890.
In 1948, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, France (1978), Argentina, Canada, Italy and Japan (1991) became members of the board next. Today (2018) World Rugby has 117 member federations.
For decades the board itself and its members recognized the IRFB only as law maker of the game and its strict amateurism. Organization of championships and tournaments was not the duty of the IRFB.
After longer discussions the IRFB decided to organize a world cup for the first time in 1987. More competitions followed the next years.
After the first test match (England vs. France in 1986) women′s rugby grew rapidly and concluded in the inaugural Women′s World Cup in 1991.
In August 1995, the IRFB declared the game as „open” and ended more than 100 years of amateurism. The board deleted „Football” from its name to become International Rugby Board in 1998.
As rugby was already played at the Olympic Games from 1900 to 1924 rugby sevens is now accepted as part of the Olympic Games 2016.
The Council, which meets twice a year, controls the IRB. The Council has 28 members: Australia, England, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa, and Wales (these founding unions have two votes), Argentina, Canada, Italy, and Japan, the six regional associations (one vote each).
On 2014, Nov 18 IRB was rebranded simply as World Rugby.


Until 1996 the chairman was supplied by one of the eight founding members for one year in rotation. Since then, the chairman is elected by the Council.

??.01.1996 - 24.04.2003 🕆 Vernon Pugh WAL
24.04.2003 - 19.11.2003 Syd Millar IRL; acting
19.11.2003 - 31.12.2007 Syd Millar IRL
01.01.2008 - 30.06.2016 Bernard Lapasset FRA
01.07.2016 - Bill Beaumont ENG

Chief Executives

01.07.1998 - 11.04.2002 Stephen Baines ENG
11.04.2002 - 31.01.2012 Mike Miller ENG
01.02. - 14.08.2012 Robert Brophy IRL, acting
15.08.2012 - Brett Gosper AUS

World Rugby Awards

not complete list of all awards

Player of the Year Women′s Personality of the Year
2001 Keith Wood IRL Shelley Rae ENG
2002 Fabien Galthié FRA Monique Hirovanaa NZL
2003 Jonny Wilkinson ENG Kathy Flores USA
2004 Schalk Burger RSA Donna Kennedy SCO
2005 Daniel Carter NZL Farah Palmer NZL
2006 Richie McCaw NZL Margaret Alphonsi ENG
2007 Bryan Habana RSA Sarah Corrigan AUS
2008 Shane Williams WAL Carol Isherwood ENG
2009 Richie McCaw NZL Debby Hodgkinson AUS
2010 Richie McCaw NZL Carla Hohepa NZL
2011 Thierry Dusautoir FRA Ruth Mitchell HKG
2012 Daniel Carter NZL Michaela Staniford ENG
2013 Kieran Read NZL not awarded
2014 Brodie Retallick NZL Magali Harvey CAN
2015 Daniel Carter NZL Kendra Cocksedge NZL
2016 Beauden Barrett NZL Sarah Hunter ENG
2017 Beauden Barrett NZL Portia Woodman NZL
2018 Johnny Sexton IRL Jessy Trémoullière FRA
2019 Pieter-Steph Du Toit RSA Emily Scarratt ENG
2020 Richie McCaw NZL Jessy Trémoullière FRA
2021 Antoine Dupont FRA Zoe Aldcroft ENG
2022 Josh van der Flier IRL Ruahei Demant NZL

Remark: 2001, 2002, 2012 and since 2014 „Women′s Player of the Year” instead
2020: Instead of awarding the best of rugby on the field over the past calendar year, the best players of the decade were selected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sevens Player of the Year Women′s Sevens Player of the Year
2004 Simon Amor ENG
2005 Orene Ai′i NZL
2006 Uale Mai SAM
2007 Afeleke Pelenise NZL
2008 DJ Forbes NZL
2009 Ollie Phillips ENG
2010 Mikaele Pesamino SAM
2011 Cecil Afrika RSA
2012 Tomasi Cama NZL
2013 Tim Mikkelson NZL Kayla McAlister NZL
2014 Samisoni Viriviri FIJ Emilee Cherry AUS
2015 Werner Kok RSA Portia Woodman NZL
2016 Seabelo Senatla RSA Charlotte Caslick AUS
2017 Perry Baker USA Michaella Blyde NZL
2018 Perry Baker USA Michaella Blyde NZL
2019 Jerry Tuwai FIJ Ruby Tui NZL
2020 Jerry Tuwai FIJ Portia Woodman NZL
2021 Marcos Moneta ARG Anne-Cécile Ciofani FRA
2022 Terry Kennedy IRL Charlotte Caslick AUS

2020: Instead of awarding the best of rugby on the field over the past calendar year, the best players of the decade were selected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last modified: 09.02.2023