Europe’s Top Rugby Clubs

Part of the Rugby Union For Dummies Cheat Sheet (UK Edition)

Broaden your Rugby Union knowledge by familiarising yourself with some of the top rugby clubs in Europe. Use this list as a quick guide to the clubs locations, backgrounds and achievements:

  • Bath: The first English club to win the European Cup in 1998, and the side which dominated English club rugby in the 1980s to mid-1990s.

  • Brive: Won the European Cup in 1997; this French side are on the way back after a dip in fortunes.

  • Gloucester: One of the best supported Guinness Premiership sides, runners-up in 2003, and Powergen Cup winners in 2003, too.

  • Leeds Tykes: Yorkshire side which has consolidated its place in the Guinness Premiership.

  • Leicester Tigers: England’s biggest and best club in recent seasons. The first back-to-back winners of the European Cup (in 2001 and 2002) and English champions from 1999 to 2002.

  • Llanelli Scarlets: The West Walians have kept Welsh club rugby’s standard flying high in hard times.

  • London Irish: Reading-based Guinness Premiership side with players drawn from all over the rugby world, despite retaining strong Celtic roots.

  • London Wasps: Zurich Premiership champions in 2003 – blitzing league leaders Gloucester in the final.

  • Munster: The Munstermen are the European Cup’s bridesmaids. Twice beaten finalists, twice beaten semi finalists, but their turn should come soon.

  • NEC Harlequins: One of the Guinness Premiership’s biggest brands, but persistent under-performers.

  • Newcastle Falcons: The Guinness Premiership’s flagship in North East England.

  • Northampton Saints: Lifted the European Cup in 2000, the one and only major trophy for a side with great support.

  • Sale Sharks: The North-Westerners have been high achievers in the Guinness Premiership in recent seasons; have just relocated to Stockport.

  • Saracens: Big spending, Watford-based Guinness Premiership outfit, but not too much silverware to show for it.

  • Stade Francais: Cosmopolitan Parisian club on the up and up. Won the 2003 French Championship.

  • Toulouse: The French giants who won the inaugural European Cup in 1996 and repeated the trick in 2003.

  • Ulster: The Irishmen won the European Cup in 1999 after the English boycotted the tournament.

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