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Dive into the rugged world of rugby!

Feel the raw energy surge as we tackle the top spots where this thrilling sport reigns supreme.

Are you pumped to scrum down and discover the heartlands of rugby?

Countries where rugby is most popular:

  1. New Zealand
  2. England (United Kingdom)
  3. South Africa
  4. Australia
  5. France
  6. Ireland
  7. Wales (United Kingdom)
  8. Scotland (United Kingdom)
  9. Argentina
  10. Japan
  11. Italy

#1 New Zealand

JaumeBG2023 Rugby World Cup – France vs New Zealand – 2, Scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY-SA 4.0

Rugby in New Zealand is a defining element of national identity, with the All Blacks as an emblem of sporting excellence. The haka, performed before matches, showcases deep cultural significance.

Success at the Rugby World Cup and a strong domestic league underscore rugby’s ingrained status in New Zealand’s fabric, making it the country’s premier sport.

#2 England (United Kingdom)

Hanham Bath, England rugby union training session DSC 0440 1, Scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY 2.0

As the birthplace of rugby, England boasts a rich history and a deep-rooted passion for the sport. Rugby is interwoven into the educational system with traditional school rivalries.

The English Premiership is one of Europe’s top leagues, and Twickenham Stadium, the sport’s iconic cathedral, exemplifies England’s reverence for rugby, uniting fans nationwide.

#3 South Africa

Michel Béga from Johannesburg, South Africa, Percy Montgomery against Samoa, Scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY 2.0

South Africa’s rugby narrative is one of triumph and unity, epitomized by their Springboks’ World Cup successes. The sport serves as a powerful social connector, transcending the country’s complex history.

With fanatical support and the Currie Cup, one of the oldest rugby competitions, rugby is a cornerstone of South African culture and pride.

#4 Australia

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website – www.dfat.gov.au, Classic Wallabies and Fiji Legends, Scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY 4.0

In Australia, rugby commands a substantial following, particularly in New South Wales and Queensland.

The Wallabies, Australia’s national team, hold an esteemed place in the country’s sports pantheon with their international accomplishments. The Super Rugby competition and the National Rugby Championship fuel the sport’s presence, embedding rugby within Australia’s diverse sporting narrative.

#5 France

gerard barrauFrench rugby league team 2009, Scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY-SA 3.0

Rugby holds a special place in France, particularly beloved in the south where it competes with soccer for the nation’s affection.

French rugby is celebrated for its unpredictable and skillful style of play. Frequent contenders in the Six Nations Championship and the robust Top 14 league, France has a storied rugby tradition that continues to thrive.

#6 Ireland

ArunMarsh (Arun Marsh) profile2009 Six Nations Champions – Ireland, Scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY 2.0

Rugby in Ireland is a defining sport with deep historical roots, embodying a unifying force across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The success of the Irish national team in international competitions, particularly the Six Nations Championship, has bolstered its popularity. Irish provinces like Leinster and Munster are also prominent in European club rugby, fostering a strong rugby culture and dedicated fan base.

#7 Wales (United Kingdom)

Unofficial England Rugby’s photosColin Charvis, Scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY 2.0

In Wales, rugby union is not just a sport, it’s a national passion. The Welsh Rugby Union has cultivated a legacy of fierce competition and pride, particularly in events like the Six Nations.

Towns and villages across Wales are dotted with rugby clubs, where match days see communities rallying together. Wales’ national identity is closely intertwined with the sport’s spirit and camaraderie.

#8 Scotland (United Kingdom)

Rugby holds a prestigious place in Scotland, where the Scottish Rugby Union champions the sport’s growth. Scotland’s participation in the Six Nations and its own competitive domestic league have nurtured a loyal following.

Scottish rugby prides itself on historical rivalries and the celebrated Calcutta Cup fixture against England, underscoring the sport’s significance not only as a competition but as a cultural event.

#9 Argentina

Patrick KArgentina England rugby, Scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY 2.0

Rugby in Argentina embodies the values of discipline and respect, with a passionate following.

Although overshadowed by soccer, rugby’s popularity soared after Argentina’s national team, Los Pumas, achieved semi-final placements in the Rugby World Cup. Participation and interest have grown, establishing rugby as a significant sport within Argentina.

#10 Japan

HistorianJapan v Australia A IRB Pac Nations 2008 June 8, Scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY-SA 3.0

Japan’s interest in rugby spiked dramatically after the national team’s stunning victory over South Africa in the 2015 World Cup.

This win, along with successful hosting of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, significantly boosted the sport’s profile. Japan continues to invest in rugby, expanding its domestic league and enhancing its international presence.

#11 Italy

Graham Wilson from United Kingdom, Leicester Tigers vs Benetton Treviso 2, Scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY 2.0

In Italy, rugby competes with the national passion for soccer but enjoys a strong following, especially in the northern regions.

Since joining the Six Nations in 2000, Italian rugby has gained prominence and support, marked by enthusiastic fan engagement and an increasing focus on youth development programs.


Which country is Rugby played the most?

Rugby is played the most in England, as well as in other countries like New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia, where it’s a major sport with a strong fan base and competitive leagues.

Which country watches Rugby the most?

New Zealand watches Rugby the most per capita, where the game is a national passion, deeply ingrained in the culture, and enjoys high viewership rates, especially during international matches.

Where was Rugby originally played?

Rugby was originally played in England, at Rugby School in Warwickshire in the early 19th century. Here’s a link to our Rugby history article for more details on how the game evolved and spread globally.

Meet Rev, one of our dedicated team members who embodies the essence of sports passion. When he’s not immersed in the world of sports content creation, Rev is busy honing his skills in esports and exploring the great outdoors through activities like hiking and basketball.

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