Rugby is one of the fastest growing sports in the world at the moment and Austria is desperately trying to keep up with the development. Here in Tyrol the local club is RCI (Rugby Club Innsbruck), established 20 years ago, in 1997, when a group of rugby loving expats made Innsbruck their home. A ladies team (Women’s Rugby Club Innsbruck- WRCI) was established a few years later in 2005 and since then the club has done nothing but expand.

Rugby on the Rise in Austria

I’m sure most of you are asking yourselves, what is rugby exactly? I mean, when I say that I play rugby I usually get one of two responses, either, ‘There is rugby in Austria?’ or ‘You play for the Raiders?’ So let’s clear some things up, to learn about the Raiders you can click here they play American football, not rugby (they are two different sports). Yes, there is rugby in Austria, a lot more of it than most people know! There are currently 11 Austrian men’s teams in competition and 9 ladies teams with several in development. Several foreign teams have also joined the Austrian league to compete.

WRCI Line Out - Rugby in the Alps, Innsbruck, Austria

When the ball goes out of bounds, it is thrown back in with players jumping or being lifted to catch. Photo © Christian Lintner

So… What is Rugby?

There are two kinds of rugby: Union and 7s (Olympic). For the most part in Austria, Union is played by the men and 7s by the women, but that has more to do with the number of participants rather than gender. Besides some smaller rules and the duration of a game, the only major difference between the two is the number of players on the field. Union has 15, 7s has 7 players. So how do you play? Well, rugby is a contact sport played with an oval ball. Two teams attempt to score points by running forward while passing the ball only backwards and placing the ball into each other’s end zones, then kicking through posts at the end of the field, but that of course is wildly over simplified. If you’re looking for more details regarding the laws of the game, you can go to the source, World Rugby.

RCI Scrum - Rugby in the Alps, Innsbruck, Austria

To restart play a scrum is formed, with 8 players binding together to push. Photo © Johann Trojer

Community and Respect

This is a sport that emphasizes community and respect and it is no different in Austria. The rugby team has started a league for kids, training sessions for refugees, and even plan yearly events to bring people to the beautiful city of Innsbruck, such as their annual snow rugby tournament, which takes place at the Olex gondola station in the middle of winter. It will take place this year too at the end of January, for more info check it out here.

Conversion kick - Rugby in the Alps, Innsbruck, Austria

After a score is made a kicker can try for 2 additional points by splitting the uprights, or converting. Photo © Johann Trojer

Come See for Yourself!

If you’re interested in trying rugby for yourself or if you want to check out a game, go the Innsbruck Rugby site, RCI  or WRCI,  write an email or message on Facebook, new people are always welcome, no experience needed!

Rugby Family - Rugby in the Alps, Innsbruck, Austria

Innsbruck Rugby is a family, with kids rugby, ladies and the men’s team. Photo © Johann Trojer