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Rugby union in Victoria Governing body Victorian Rugby Union Representative team Victoria First played 1888, Melbourne Registered players 5,473(total) 2,272(adult), 3,201(junior) Clubs 23 Audience records Single match 90,119 (1997). Bledisloe Cup - Australia vs New Zealand (MCG, Melbourne) Rugby union in Victoria describes the sport of rugby union being played and watched in the state of Victoria in Australia. The code was first introduced some time between the 1850s and 1880s but failed to gain popular following and has had a potted history. Official Australian Bureau of Statistics report of 2007 on sports participation, Victoria has a very low participation in rugby union (less than 1%).[1] The game is played by a small number of amateur senior clubs and in some private schools in Melbourne. However international rugby matches are popular with spectators in Victoria. This is evidenced by the large crowds which attended matches at the 2003 Rugby World Cup, 2006 Commonwealth Games and overall television ratings for blockbuster internationals. Contents 1 History 2 Victorian Rugby Union 3 Clubs 4 Notable players 5 Crowd Statistics 6 See also 7 References 8 External links // History Writer Sean Fagan claims that Rugby football was first played in Victoria in the late 1840s and into the 1850s. However, dissatisfaction with how the game was played led to the Melbourne FC in May 1859 adopting its own revised laws of football which was later to become known as Australian rules football. Club rugby was formally organized in Victoria when the Melbourne Rugby Union (MRU) formed in 1888. Some of the 1888-1889 New Zealand Native football team matches were played in Victoria and England also sent a touring team which both switched between rugby and Victorian rules (Australian rules football). Victoria first played rugby football against New South Wales in Melbourne in 1894 and sent its first team to play in Sydney in 1895 but after 1889 the game more or less disappeared in the state except for the match played in Melbourne in 1899 against Great Britain. A Victorian Rugby Union (VRU) was restored in 1908 as arrangements were being made for a Victorian team to play the first Wallabies in Melbourne just prior to their departure for Great Britain. The next year,1909 saw the first presentation of the Dewar Shield, an award for first grade premiership teams still retained. Competition lapsed on commencement of the First World War and was not revived until 1926 when five League clubs decided to convert to Union and form the current VRU. During the following twelve years, up until the Second World War, Victoria played thirty matches against international and interstate teams and produced thirteen Wallabies. Club and representative competition did not resume again until 1946. Melbourne was selected as a venue for the 2003 Rugby World Cup including finals. The attendances were significant, with the highlights being 50,647 seeing Australia defeat Ireland and 50,647 for England versus Samoa. Following the success of the Rugby World Cup, in 2004, the Victorian Rugby Union made a bid for a Super 14 rugby union franchise. The bid had support from backers including the Victorian Government. However it was rejected by the Australian Rugby Union for a team in Perth which became the Western Force.[2] Rugby sevens being played at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, which was held at Melbourne's Telstra Dome. Melbourne hosted the 2006 Commonwealth Games, which included a component of Rugby Sevens, of which all of the matches were sold out. Melbourne holds the current record attendance for Rugby Sevens. The inaugural Australian Rugby Championship started August 2007, including eight teams, one of which based in Melbourne, Victoria. It was rumoured that the New South Wales Rugby Union (NSWRU) gave up a fourth club to enable Victoria to participate in the new national competition.[3] and the Melbourne Rebels were created and played out of Olympic Park Stadium. Although as a one city team they had one of the larger crowd averages in the competition, they finished their first season with a home crowd average of just 3,305 and folded with losses in the millions. The move was a great setback for the Victorian Rugby Union. However, on 5 January 2010 it was announced by the Australian Rugby Union that it had handed control of the new Melbourne Super Rugby team to the Melbourne Rebels consortium and that Melbourne would join the game's elite when the world'd premier provincial competition expands to 15 teams in 2011 and launches a new-look Conference structure with five teams based in Australia, five in New Zealand and five in South Africa. Victorian Rugby Union Main article: Victorian Rugby Union The Victorian Rugby Union governs rugby union in Victoria. Victoria is a member of the overall Australian governing body the Australian Rugby Union. Clubs Suburban clubs Country division Booroondara, Box Hill, Harlequins, Melbourne, Melbourne University, Moorabbin, Powerhouse, Southern Districts, Cerberus, Footscray, Northern, Eltham, Endeavour Hills, Maroondah, Monash University,Wyndham City. Ballarat, Border Army, Cobram, Warnambool, Geelong, Melton, Deniliquin (NSW) These clubs in turn feed the Victorian state representative team, the Melbourne Axemen. The Victorian Schools Rugby Union 1st Division 2nd Division St Kevins, Melbourne Grammar, Scotch College, Xavier College, Trinity Grammar, Geelong Grammar, Brighton Grammar Ivanhoe Grammar, Carey Grammar, Marcellin College, St Patrick's Ballarat, Mentone Grammar, Melbourne High School, Haileybury College Notable players Victoria ha produced a number of top-level rugby players including Sir Edward 'Weary' Dunlop, Digby Ioane (Queensland Reds and Wallabies) Rocky Elsom (ACT Brumbies and Wallabies) Lloyd Johansson (Queensland Reds and Wallabies) Tamaiti Horua (Western Force) Tom McVerry (Queensland Reds) Ole Avei (Queensland Reds) John Ulugia (ACT Brumbies) Christian Lealiifano (ACT Brumbies) David Palavi (ex-ACT Brumbies) David Fitter (London Irish RFC, ex-ACT Brumbies, Western Force, and Wallabies) Nick Stiles (ex-Queensland Reds and Wallabies). Ewen McKenzie, former Wallaby, and now the new Queensland Reds coach. Crowd Statistics Major test matches and attendance 1997-2003 Year Opponent Venue (Capacity) Attendance Notes 1997 All Blacks MCG (100,000) 90,119 Bledisloe Cup/ Tri Nations 1998 All Blacks MCG, (100,000) 75,147 Bledisloe Cup/Tri Nations 2000 South Africa Docklands(56,347) 34,045 Mandela Plate 2001 British & Irish Lions Docklands (56,347) 56,605 2002 France Docklands (56,347) 37,482 2003 England Docklands, (56,347) 54,868 2003 Ireland Docklands (56,347) 54,206 RWC2003 Source: Australian Rugby Union [1] Rugby World Cup 2003 Matches and attendance in Melbourne. See also: 2003 Rugby World Cup Teams Attendance All Blacks, & Italy 41,715 Canada & All Blacks 38,889 England & Samoa 50,647 All Blacks & South Africa 40,734 France & Ireland 33,134 See also Rugby union in Australia Sport in Victoria References ^!OpenDocument ^ Lost opportunity for Melbourne and rugby union from ^ "New national rugby comp for 2007".,8659,19321123-23217,00.html. Retrieved 2006-06-03. [dead link] External links Official website of the VRU Website of Melbourne Uni RFC host of the Melbourne Rebels v • d • e Rugby union in Australia Governing body Australian Rugby Union State governing bodies ACT and Southern NSW Rugby Union • New South Wales Rugby Union • Northern Territory Rugby Union • Queensland Rugby Union • South Australia Rugby Union • Tasmanian Rugby Union • Victorian Rugby Union • RugbyWA National teams Qantas Wallabies • A • 7's • U-21 • U-20 • U-19 • Women's • Schoolboys • Main competitions Super Rugby • Australian Rugby Championship (defunct) • Australian Provincial Championship (defunct) • Australian Rugby Shield • Adelaide Sevens Intrastate competitions Shute Shield • Tooheys New Cup (defunct) • Queensland Premier Rugby • ACTRU Premier Division • Brisbane Club Rugby • Dewar Shield By states & territories ACT • New South Wales • Northern Territory • Queensland • South Australia • Tasmania • Victoria • Western Australia Related articles International players • Puma Trophy • Maccabiah rugby union team