South Africa (SA) The overall number of registered rugby players climbed from 2.82 million to 3.2 million in 2016, while the total number of non-registered rugby players increased from 4.91 million to 5.3 million. South Africa has the most registered players (651,146), and England has the most total players (2,139,604). The United States became the second largest league when it began play in 2015. Canada's top-level league has 10 teams.
Australia played a test match against New Zealand in each year from 1877 to 1990 and again in 2006. This world record stands as the longest continuous playing relationship between two countries at the highest level of international sport.
England has been playing France at an annual series of matches known as the "Triple Crown" since 1883. These games are held over three days of football and include the King's Cup, the Prince's Cup, and the Shield. The last time all three trophies were won by England was in 1953.
Ireland has been playing Wales annually since 1905. This is known as the "Warm-Up Series". Each year, Ireland wins one game before leaving for several months of summer training camp. When they return for the next series of games, they often win again. However, since 1958, Ireland has not been able to hold onto any of the prizes.
New Zealand has been playing Australia annually since 1907. This is known as the "Banner of New Zealand".
The worldwide regulatory body, World Rugby, estimated that there were 120,000 registered players in the United States in 2016 and around 1.5 million players globally. The United States is placed 15th among the 105 national teams in the worldwide rankings in the elite 15-a-side game, and 5th among the 53 women's teams.
American football is widely considered to be more popular than rugby in the country, but the popularity of the sport has been rising since 2002 when the National Football League began broadcasting regular season games online. Around this time, many people started watching rugby on YouTube because it was easy to find and interesting to watch. Since then, television coverage has increased, as has the number of participants in the sport. In 2007, the United States men's national rugby union team played its first match against England at the Atlanta Olympics. They lost 16-30.
The United States women's national rugby sevens team has never before competed at the Olympics but has won two silver medals at the World Cup.
Americans are a very competitive group sports-wise, with many high-level athletes. Rugby is no exception: there are many college rugby programs across the country, and top players can often be found in the NFL too.
Kenya has 50,541 registered rugby players and is ranked 32 in the world. Scotland has 49,265 registered rugby players, and the country is ranked seventh in the world, which is fairly impressive. China is a large country with the world's largest population. However, statistics on rugby are not available for the whole of China so it is difficult to say if China as a nation plays rugby or not.
There are three levels of club rugby in England: Premier League, Conference Premier, and Division One. The top division is called "Premier League" and has 18 teams. Each team plays 38 matches over the course of a season. The bottom division is called "Division One" and has 12 teams. Each team plays 26 games over the course of a season. Between them, the two divisions carry out a play-off system to determine which team will be promoted to the other division.
Conference North and South are two leagues that operate at the third level of English rugby. There are 20 teams in North and 19 in South. Each team plays 36 matches over the course of a season, plus one additional game if they qualify for either the end of year playoffs or the cup competitions.
The most successful club in international rugby would have to be England because they are the only country that has won the World Cup twice (1962 and 1966).