Rugby is one of the beloved sports in Africa; well, not as much as football. Africa’s rugby teams have been representing us well in international competitions. This is the list of the top 8 African National Rugby teams in 2019 (men’s teams only). Fun fact, all of these teams are ranked in the top 50 bracket worldwide.
Before we begin, we need to establish how the ranking comes about. Both Men’s and Women’s World Rugby Rankings are calculated using a ‘Points Exchange’ system, in which sides take points off each other based on the match result. Whatever one side gains, the other loses. The exchanges are based on the match result, the relative strength of each team, and the margin of victory, and there is an allowance for home advantage.
We good? Let’s begin.
- World Rank: #47
- Points: 46.33
Also known as the Atlas Lions, it competes in the Africa Cup annually; winning the competition in 2003 and 2005. The team has however been unable to qualify for a Rugby World Cup but have participated in the qualifying tournaments.
7. Ivory Coast
- World Rank: #44
- Points: 47.55
The team was formed in 1990 and have earned the nickname Les Elephants. It participates in the annual African Cup but are yet to win the competition. Perhaps the team’s most significant achievement to date was their success in qualifying for the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
- World Rank: #42
- Points: 48.34
Uganda has a long history of rugby participation dating back to even before the first official rugby match was ever played in 1958 against Kenya. The country’s rugby union was introduced by the British during the colonial rule. Uganda competes annually against Kenya in the Elgon Cup and the Africa Cup but are yet to qualify for the Rugby World Cup.
- World Rank: #41
- Points: 48.53
The team started competing in 1979. Since then, they have participated in the Africa Cup and are yet to qualify for the Rugby World Cup.
- World Rank: #37
- Points: 49.28
The Sables have competed in two Rugby World Cups i.e. in 1987 and in 1991. They only qualified in 1991 because the South African team was sanctioned due to apartheid. This makes it one of only four teams to qualify for the Rugby World Cup; the others being Namibia, Ivory Coast and South Africa.
- World Rank: #32
- Points: 52.79
The Simbas have a long history of rugby in the country dating as back as 1909 when the sport was only exclusive to whites. They participate annually in the African Cup. Despite them having a reputation for being a competitive team, they are yet to qualify for the Rugby World Cup.
- World Rank: #23
- Points: 60.34
Here’s an interesting fact: the Welwitschias have participated in five Rugby World Cups since 1999. Namibia has been playing international rugby since the early 1900s and participates in the annual Africa Cup.
Another interesting fact; the Namibia players were eligible to represent South Africa until the country attained independence.
1. South Africa
- World Rank: #5
- Points: 84.58
The Springboks are one dominant team in the world. It has been representing South Africa in international rugby since 1891. Since then, their dominance has been nothing but impressive; competing fiercely with teams like The All Blacks and winning the Rugby World Cup twice (1995 and 2007).