What is the oldest rugby union club?

Rugby Union is a sport with a lot of history throughout the commonwealth countries and has some of the most historic and successful teams in all of sports. 

What is the oldest rugby union club? Guy’s, Kings and St Thomas’ Rugby Football Club (GKT) is the oldest rugby union club in the world, having first been formed as Guy’s Hospital Football Club all the way back in 1843. 

Rugby Union is an incredibly old game and its roots go back to the 1800s. If you look back at history, the oldest rugby club in the world is Guy’s Hospital Football Club which was formed to represent Guy’s Hospital in Southwark, London. There is some controversy as to whether this is the oldest club in the world. 

This is due to the major evidence for the club’s creation being a fixture card from 1883/84 which refers to that season as the 40th in the club’s history, which would put the club’s creation at 1843. But there are clubs out there with older documentation so this is hotly contested. 

Guy’s Hospital Football Club began playing in Blackheath before Blackheath FC was created. The club has never been massively successful, but in the early 20th century, they did produce a few international players like Alan Ayre-Smith and W.W. Pinching. They were at their best in the 1920s and 1930s. 

In the last few decades, the club has made some big changes. In 1999, Guy’s Hospital Rugby Football Club combined with two more historic clubs. They combined with St Thomas’s Hospital Rugby Football Club and King’s College Hospital Rugby Football Club, with the team now being known as G.K.T., which is the team that currently competes today. 

The team still competes today, mainly in the historic United Hospital’s Cup, where they have won 51 times. It is the oldest rugby cup competition in the world. 

What is the oldest rugby club in Ireland? 

Rugby Union quickly caught on in Ireland, only a couple of decades after the game had been created in England. Dublin University Football Club is the oldest known Rugby Union club in Ireland, having been founded in 1854. 

The club’s roots go all the way back to an 1855 Daily Express article that states that the club is at least one year old, which would put its creation at 1854. The club has a long, well-documented history that gives it a good platform to consider itself the world’s oldest rugby club, as Guy’s Hospital Rugby Football Club folded for a few years in the 19th century before returning. 

In recent years, the team has played in the All-Ireland League, 1A. In the club’s history, they have produced a lot of British and Irish Lions including Philip Orr, Hugo MacNeill and John Robbie. 

Their most recent British and Irish Lion is Jamie Heaslip, who played for the team before making his debut for Leinster in 2005. Since playing for the Dublin University Football Club,

Heaslip has gone on to win three Six Nations titles with Ireland including the Grand Slam in 2009. Heaslip also captained his country in 2012 after injuries to Brian O’Driscoll, Paul O’Connell and Rory Best. 

Heaslip was included in two British and Irish Lions tours, helping the team to a win in 2013. Heaslip also helped Irish provincial side Leinster to three Heineken Cup trophies and three Pro12 trophies in his time with the team.  

What is the oldest rugby club in Wales? 

Neath Rugby Football Club is the oldest rugby club in Wales, having been formed in 1871. The club was formed through a group of ten enthusiastic rugby fans who wanted to set up rugby in Wales. They quickly developed a reputation as the “Welsh All Blacks” due to the team’s strip of a black jersey, shorts and socks. 

Neath were one of the teams who would form the Welsh Football Union, with ten other teams including Cardiff RFC and Newport RFC. The team would quickly begin contributing players to the national side, with Sam Clark playing for Wales in their second ever international while playing his club rugby with Neath RFC. 

The club is still going strong today, currently playing in the Welsh Rugby Union Championship. When Wales restructured their Rugby Union, Neath became a feeder club to the Ospreys and they have produced a lot of international talent. Neath have played against international teams often, winning their last three games which were against Fiji, the United States and Uruguay. 

Shane Williams is probably the best player to have played for Neath. Having been told he was too small to play rugby, Williams had taken up football before being signed to Neath in 1998. He became a club legend in his five years as then Neath head coach Lyn Jones could not leave him out of the squad. 

Williams is not the only Welsh international that Neath have produced. Former British and Irish Lion and one of the greatest Welsh rugby players of all time Leigh Halfpenny trained with Neath for all of the 2006-07 season before signing with Cardiff RFC. Neath have also produced Welsh internationals James Hook, Adam Jones and James Hook. 

One of the more interesting former players of Neath is 2021 PDC World Darts Champion Gerwyn Price. Price played as a hooker for Neath before deciding to give up on rugby to focus on darts full-time, a move which has been very profitable for him. 

What is the oldest rugby club in Scotland? 

Edinburgh Academical Football Club is the oldest known rugby club in Scotland, having been formed in 1857. The club is the second oldest rugby union club in continuous existence behind Dublin University Football Club and was one of the founding members of the Scottish Rugby Union. 

The club still play their games at Raeburn Place which was where the first ever international rugby game was played, with Scotland beating England. The club currently play in the Scottish Premiership but have never won the competition, finishing third in 2021-22. Their recent Scottish internationals include Cornell du Preez and David Denton. 

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