Play Rugby in the UK
The United Kingdom is made up of four of the top ranking nations in world rugby. It can provide you with the perfect place to improve your game and travel new lands. Europe is easily accessible within a couple of hours as well as travel around England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. This page will provide you with information to help decide where to play rugby in the UK.
The birthplace of rugby union. What better place to play rugby overseas. The small nature of England means that wherever you base yourself, you’ll be able to take in all it has to offer. If you can brave the cold winter weather, England will certainly give you a new perspective on rugby and life.
English rugby is represented by over 2000 clubs spread across the country. The leagues operate in a pyramid form, topped by the Premiership. This is followed by the Championship and National Leagues 1 through 3. Below this the structure is arranged geographically into four regions: North, Midlands, South West and London/South East. Under the regional level are county leagues which take you down to the grass roots of the game in England.
London and the home counties is the most popular area in the country in terms of club numbers. With 36 leagues and some of the fiercest competition in the UK. You’ll even find the oldest rugby club in the world, Blackheath. London is one of the most famous cities in the world and home to everything you could dream of and more. From the history and culture to the bars of Soho and Clapham. For obvious reasons, London attracts international visitors more than any other British city but there are other gems that could be the perfect home for you. Especially if you want cheaper living costs to make your money go further.
The north of England has four major cities Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Newcastle. Although the region isn’t well represented at a professional level, rugby union is still popular here. There are 17 leagues playing at a variety of different levels, so there is something here for everyone.
The South West is a passionate rugby region with great people that will certainly look after you. Devon and Cornwall offer some of the best beaches in England, especially if you want your surfing fix. Want to be out of the cities? Then down in the South West is a beautiful place to be.
Rugby in Ireland is split up into four provinces, Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster. There are five all Ireland leagues, from Division One A down to Division Two C. These are contested by the best teams across the whole of Ireland from the four provinces. After this, there are a number of intra provincial leagues. Bringing the total number of rugby clubs in Ireland to 224.
Having produced some of Ireland’s greatest players, Leinster rugby clubs are well equipped to meet the needs of up and coming rugby players from all over the world. With 33 clubs to choose from in Dublin city centre alone, it will be easy to find a club that suits you. Aside from the rugby, Dublin has so much to offer. The capital of Ireland is steeped in history and it can be seen in the architecture throughout the city. In the Temple Bar area you will find crowded pubs hosting live folk music, the perfect place to spend your Saturday night.
On the West Coast of Ireland in the Province of Connacht there are 26 clubs. In the city of Galway you will find four rugby clubs. If you’re looking for bohemian cool coupled with traditional culture then Galway could be the place for you. With the Wild Atlantic Way on your doorstep playing rugby here is the perfect gateway to discover untouched Ireland.
The home of the Titanic, Belfast is a unique city filled with character and a thriving culture. In the Belfast area there are over 20 clubs playing rugby. Looking further into the County of Ulster, there are plenty more clubs on the route from Belfast to Derry. If you choose a club here, discover the Causeway Coastline and the breathtaking scenery that goes with it whilst you’re there.
In the southern region of Ireland you will find the County of Munster, which has over 60 clubs. The two main cities here are Limerick and Cork; which have nine and eight clubs respectively. These vibrant cities offer delicious cuisine, pubs and an interesting history to both residents and visitors alike.
Scotland has over 150 clubs competing at both national and regional levels. The domestic league structure is known as the Scottish League Championship and looks as follows: The Premiership, then National leagues 1-3, followed by regional leagues. Scottish rugby is split into five regions: Glasgow North, Glasgow South, Caledonia North, Caledonia Midlands and East. From the 2019-2020 season a semi-professional league, known as the Super 6 was created to try and bridge the gap between the amatuer and professional teams.
Edinburgh is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities and the perfect place for lively nights on its historic cobbled streets. Discover all that the Royal Mile possesses buried deep in its streets. A city of high culture and soaring ideals. The home of Scottish rugby Murrayfield can be found here as well as 38 rugby clubs in the metropolitan area.
The largest city in Scotland, Glasgow has become in recent years a cultural hub and is well known as the gateway to Scotland. The city is well known for its friendliness, something you will discover at any one of the 33 rugby clubs spread across Glasgow.
If it’s a more rural rugby experience you’re looking for then the Scottish Highlands will be perfect for you. The most northerly reaches of the United Kingdom will give you rugged coastlines, soaring peaks and wild landscapes. It is the ultimate adventure destination.
Rugby has a stronghold on the national psyche of Wales, they are a passionate nation of rugby fans. Their proud history of rugby clubs began in the 19th Century and it continues today. Discover the valleys and be a part of history.
The top of the domestic rugby tree in Wales is the Premier Division, followed by the National Championship. Then the National leagues 1 to 3 are all separated geographically into East, East Central, North, West and West Central.
The majority of rugby clubs in Wales are spread across the two main cities of Cardiff and Swansea. Over 20 clubs play in the capital city Cardiff and it is also home to the Principality Stadium. On top of the excellent rugby offering, Cardiff’s ultramodern waterfront has plentiful bars and eateries. The city is one of Britain’s leading urban centres.
If you’re after a more local village feel to your rugby adventure then head into the valleys of Wales. But, you might not be able to pronounce the name of your club, especially if you play for Rhosllanerchrugog RFC! The north of Wales is a great base if you want to explore the north of England, being a short drive to Liverpool and Manchester.
What are you waiting for?
Does the UK sound like the perfect place to play rugby? Firstly, decide which country and then region you want to make your new home. Then use the links throughout this page to help find a club or get in contact and we’ll help you out! To begin your research start by using our blog and begin your journey to play rugby in the UK.