Top 5 International Rugby Rivalries of All Time

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The world of international rugby is not just about the game; it’s about the rivalries that have defined it. These are not just matches; they are battles where pride, history, and national identity are at stake. From the most shocking rugby tackles to the strategic genius of the best fly-halves, these rivalries have given us some of the best rugby national teams and the best Rugby World Cup tries ever. In this article, we explore the top 5 international rugby rivalries of all time, delving into their history, their significance, and the unforgettable moments they have produced.

10. England vs Scotland: The Calcutta Cup

The rivalry between England and Scotland, epitomized by the Calcutta Cup, is steeped in history and passion. Dating back to 1871, it is the oldest international rugby rivalry. The matches are often intense, showcasing not just the skills of the players but the deep-rooted pride of the two nations. The Calcutta Cup has seen some of the most shocking rugby tackles and strategic plays, making it a fixture that fans eagerly anticipate.

9. Australia vs New Zealand: The Bledisloe Cup

The Bledisloe Cup, contested between Australia and New Zealand, is a rivalry that epitomizes the pinnacle of rugby in the Southern Hemisphere. The intensity and skill level displayed in these matches are unparalleled. With players like Dan Carter, one of the best fly-halves of all time, gracing this rivalry, the Bledisloe Cup has become a showcase of top-tier rugby.

8. South Africa vs New Zealand: A Battle of Titans

The rivalry between South Africa and New Zealand is one of the most intense in rugby. The matches between the Springboks and the All Blacks are a display of physicality, skill, and tactical acumen. This rivalry has contributed to some of the best Rugby World Cup tries ever and has been a defining aspect of both teams’ histories.

7. France vs England: Le Crunch

France and England’s rivalry, known as ‘Le Crunch’, is a fixture that often decides the fate of the Six Nations Championship. This rivalry has seen some of the best rugby captains from both sides leading their teams into epic battles. The matches are a blend of physical intensity and strategic depth, making it one of the most anticipated fixtures in international rugby.

6. Wales vs England: A Fierce Neighborly Duel

The rivalry between Wales and England is fueled by proximity and history. The matches are highly charged, emotional affairs that often bring out the best in both teams. With passionate fans and a rich history, the Wales-England games are a highlight of the Six Nations Championship and a true test of skill and will.

5. Ireland vs England: Historical Grudge Match

Ireland and England’s rugby rivalry is laden with historical and political undertones, making their encounters particularly intense. The matches are not just about rugby; they are about national pride and history. This rivalry has seen some of the most strategic and emotionally charged games, with both teams often elevating their play to new heights.

4. New Zealand vs France: A Clash of Styles

The rivalry between New Zealand and France is unique due to the contrasting styles of rugby the teams play. While New Zealand is known for its structured and skillful play, France is renowned for its flair and unpredictability. This rivalry has produced some of the most memorable matches in rugby history, including epic World Cup encounters.

3. South Africa vs England: A Test of Strength and Strategy

The rivalry between South Africa and England is a test of physical strength and strategic depth. The matches between the Springboks and England are often hard-fought battles, showcasing the tactical acumen of some of the highest-paid head coaches in world rugby. This rivalry has given fans some of the most thrilling and intense matches in international rugby.

2. Australia vs England: A Southern-Northern Hemisphere Showdown

The rivalry between Australia and England is a classic Southern vs. Northern Hemisphere clash. The matches are a test of differing rugby philosophies and styles. This rivalry has seen some of the best rugby national teams in the world going head-to-head, producing matches of high intensity and skill.

1. New Zealand vs Australia: The Ultimate Rugby Championship Duel

The rivalry between New Zealand and Australia often played out in the Rugby Championship, is one of the most intense in international rugby. These matches are a display of the Southern Hemisphere’s rugby prowess, featuring some of the best players and teams in the world. The rivalry is a testament to the skill, passion, and intensity that define international rugby.


The top 5 international rugby rivalries of all time are more than just games; they are epic narratives that capture the essence of the sport. These rivalries, featuring the most shocking rugby tackles, the strategic brilliance of the best fly-halves and captains, and some of the best Rugby World Cup tries ever, have shaped the history of rugby. They remind us why rugby is a sport that captivates millions worldwide, with its blend of physicality, skill, and passion. As we look forward to future clashes, these rivalries will continue to be the highlight of the international rugby calendar.


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