Asia Rugby Championship

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Asia Rugby Championship
Current season or competition:
2015 Asian Rugby Championship
Sport Rugby union
Formerly known as Asian Five Nations
Instituted 1969
(as Asian Five Nations)

Governing body Asia Rugby
Holders  Japan (2015)
Most titles  Japan (23 titles)

The Asia Rugby Championship, or ARC, is an annual rugby union competition held amongst national rugby sides within the Asia Rugby region.[1] The competition was originally known as the Asian Rugby Football Tournament when founded in 1969, and was called the Asian Five Nations from 2008 to 2014.

The winner of the competition's top division is recognised as the rugby champion of Asia. The top division, sometimes referred to as the Tri Nations, includes the top three Asian teams each season. Division 1 includes the next four teams and Division 2 includes the next four. Division three is further divided geographically, with each of the West, East and South Central divisions including three teams.

As of 2015, Japan is the most successful team, securing 23 out of a possible 28 titles since 1969. Japan has won all Asian Rugby Championships from 2004 onwards.


The competition was formed as the Asian Rugby Football Tournament in 1969.[1] Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and Thailand contested the inaugural Asian title. Japan were the champions on that occasion.

The tournament was only held biennially for the most of its first four decades. It wasn't until 1982 that South Korea became the second team to win the title. The number of teams participating varied from year to year, with as many as 12 teams competing as other Asian teams joined the competition. From 1969 to 1996, there was a single division split into two groups. But in 1998, a second Division was introduced as the game began to grow in Asia.

In 2003, a second Asian competition called the Asian Rugby Series was formed. The Asian Rugby Series ran alongside the Rugby Championship to help determine divisional allocations for the Asian Rugby Championship. With more teams competing, a third Division was added to the Rugby Championship in 2004. The dual competitions ran until 2007.

Asian Five Nations (2008–14)

In 2008, the ARFU merged the Rugby Championship and Rugby Series into the Asian Five Nations. The competition became an annual championship and a promotion-relegation format was introduced. The winner of Division 2 replaced the loser of Division 1, and the winner of Division 1 replaced the loser of the Five Nations. For its inaugural years, no Division 3 took place, though several regional divisions were implemented across Asia. During the time of this competition, the main Five Nations division was dominated by Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong; the only three teams never to have been relegated to a lower division.

Asia Rugby Championship (2015 onward)

The competition was revamped again for the 2015 season as the Asia Rugby Championship. Under the new format, the top three teams formed a Trinations division. A promotion-relegation challenge was instituted whereby the Division 1 winner had to defeat the Trinations third place-getter to gain promotion for the next season.


The current format sees the competition separated into various divisions, with a promotion and relegation format operated into each division. However, this only applies to Division 1 through 3, as the loser of the Tri Nations Division will play a play-off match against the winner of Division 1 to determine the third Tri Nations team for the following year. Where as the winners of Division 2 will automatically replace the loser of Division 1, and the two bottom placed teams in Division 2 will both be relegated down to one of the three regions in Division 3; West, East or South Central. Each of the three regions are made up three teams, and as of 2015, only the winners of the South Central and East divisions can be both be promoted to Division 2. This is because, the teams competing in the West region, are not considered as full members by World Rugby.

In the main Tri Nations division, each team will play each other on a home and away basis, picking up 5 points for a win and 3 for a draw. 2 additional points are up for grabs through bonus points, but in order to earn them, teams need to score 4 or more tries in a match, or when losing, lose by 7 points or less. For all Divisions, 1 through to 3, nations will only play each other once, with one of the included teams hosting all matches at home. These teams will also aim to pick points up for a win or draw, and gain bonus points. For all divisions, the team with the most table points wins their respective divisions, and if possible, earns promotion to the next division.

Current divisions

As of 2015, the competition divisions are:

Tri Nations
 Hong Kong
 South Korea
Division 1
 Sri Lanka
Division 2
 Chinese Taipei
 United Arab Emirates
Division 3
East West South Central
 China  Iran  India
 Guam  Lebanon  Pakistan
 Indonesia  Jordan  Uzbekistan

Previous winners

Asia Rugby Championship

Year Host Teams Final rankings
Asian Rugby Football Tournament Winner Runner-up Third Fourth
1969 Tokyo 5  Japan  South Korea  Hong Kong
1970 Bangkok 5  Japan  South Korea
1972 Hong Kong 7  Japan  Hong Kong  Thailand  Singapore
1974 Colombo 8  Japan  Sri Lanka  South Korea  Malaysia
1976 Tokyo 8  Japan  South Korea N/A N/A
1978 Kuala Lumpur 7  Japan  South Korea  Singapore  Thailand
1980 Taipei 8  Japan  South Korea  Hong Kong  Taiwan
1982 Singapore 8  South Korea  Japan  Hong Kong  Malaysia
1984 Fukuoka 8  Japan  South Korea  Taiwan  Thailand
1986 Bangkok 8  South Korea  Japan  Thailand
1988 Hong Kong 8  South Korea  Japan  Hong Kong  Taiwan
1990 Colombo 8  South Korea  Japan  Hong Kong  Thailand
1992 Hong Kong 8  Japan  Hong Kong  South Korea  Thailand
1994 Kuala Lumpur 8  Japan  South Korea  Hong Kong  Taiwan
1996 Taipei 7  Japan  South Korea  Hong Kong  Taiwan
Asian Rugby Championship Division I Winner Runner-up Third Fourth
1998 Singapore 4  Japan  South Korea  Hong Kong  Taiwan
2000 Aomori 4  Japan  South Korea  Taiwan  Hong Kong
2002 Bangkok 4  South Korea  Japan  Hong Kong  Taiwan
2004 Hong Kong 4  Japan  South Korea  Hong Kong  Taiwan
2006 Hong Kong 3  Japan  South Korea  Hong Kong N/A
Asian Five Nations Winner Runner-up Third Fourth
2008 single round-robin
home or away
5  Japan  South Korea  Hong Kong   Kazakhstan
2009 5  Japan  Kazakhstan  South Korea   Hong Kong
2010 5  Japan  Kazakhstan  Hong Kong  Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf Arabian Gulf
2011 5  Japan  Hong Kong  United Arab Emirates   Kazakhstan
2012 5  Japan  South Korea  Hong Kong   United Arab Emirates
2013 5  Japan  South Korea  Hong Kong   Philippines
2014 5  Japan  Hong Kong  South Korea *  Philippines
 Asia Rugby Championship Winner Runner-up Third Fourth
2015 home and away 3  Japan  Hong Kong  South Korea N/A


^* Relegated to the division below

^ Required to play-off against the winner of the division below in a promotion-relegation challenge.

Division tournaments

Year Div Host Teams Final rankings
Asian Rugby Championship Divisions Winner Runner-up Third Fourth
1998 2 Singapore 6  Singapore  Sri Lanka  Thailand  Malaysia
2000 2 Ōwani 4  Singapore  China  Sri Lanka  Thailand
2002 2 Bangkok 7  Thailand Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf Arabian Gulf  Singapore  Kazakhstan
2004 2 Hong Kong 4  Singapore  Thailand  Kazakhstan Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf Arabian Gulf
3 4  China  Sri Lanka  India  Pakistan
2007 2 Colombo 6  Kazakhstan  Sri Lanka  China  Chinese Taipei
3 3  Iran  India  Pakistan N/A
Asian Five Nations Divisions Winner Runner-up Third Fourth
2008 1 Taiwan 4 §  Singapore  Chinese Taipei  Sri Lanka  China
2 Thailand 4 §  Thailand  Malaysia  India   Pakistan
P Guam 3 §  Philippines §  Guam  Brunei N/A
C Sri Lanka 3 §  Iran  Uzbekistan  Kyrgyzstan
SE Indonesia 3 §  Indonesia  Laos  Cambodia
2009 1 Dubai 4 § Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf Arabian Gulf  Chinese Taipei  Sri Lanka  Thailand
2 Malaysia 4 §  Malaysia  China  India  Pakistan
3 Philippines 4 §  Philippines  Guam  Iran   Indonesia
C Uzbekistan 3 §  Uzbekistan  Kyrgyzstan  Mongolia N/A
SE Laos 3 §  Laos  Brunei  Cambodia
2010 1 Singapore 4 §  Sri Lanka  Singapore  Malaysia  Chinese Taipei
2 India 4 §  Philippines  India  Thailand  China
3 Indonesia 4 §  Iran  Pakistan  Guam   Indonesia
4 Kazakhstan 4 §  Jordan  Uzbekistan Kazakhstan Almaty Select XV   Mongolia
2011 1 South Korea 4 §  South Korea  Singapore  Philippines  Malaysia
2 Thailand 4 §  Chinese Taipei  Thailand  Iran  India
3 Indonesia 4 §  China  Guam  Indonesia   Pakistan
4 Dubai 4 §  Qatar  Lebanon  Jordan   Uzbekistan
5 Cambodia
2 §  Laos  Cambodia N/A N/A
2012 1 Philippines 4 §  Philippines  Sri Lanka  Chinese Taipei  Singapore
2 Malaysia 4 §  Thailand  Malaysia  Iran  China
3 Indonesia 4 §  India  Guam  Indonesia  Pakistan
4 Dubai 4 §  Qatar  Lebanon  Jordan   Uzbekistan
5 Cambodia 3 §  Laos  Brunei  Cambodia N/A
2013 1 Sri Lanka 4 §  Sri Lanka  Kazakhstan  Chinese Taipei  Thailand
2 Malaysia 4 §  Singapore  Malaysia  Iran  India
3 Malaysia 4 §  Qatar  Guam  Indonesia   China
4 Dubai 4 §  Lebanon  Pakistan  Uzbekistan   Laos
5 Cambodia 2 §  Cambodia  Brunei N/A N/A
2014 1 Hong Kong
4   Kazakhstan
N/A  Chinese Taipei
 United Arab Emirates
2 Qatar 4   Malaysia  Qatar  Iran  Thailand
3E Laos 4   China  Guam  Indonesia  Laos
3W Pakistan 4   Lebanon  Uzbekistan  India  Pakistan
4 Brunei 3   Mongolia  Cambodia  Brunei N/A
 Asia Rugby Championship Divisions Winner Runner-up Third Fourth
2015 1 Philippines 4 §  Sri Lanka  Philippines  Kazakhstan  Singapore
2 Malaysia 4 §  Malaysia  United Arab Emirates  Chinese Taipei  Thailand
3E Indonesia 3 §  Guam  China  Indonesia N/A
3W Lebanon 3 §  Lebanon  Iran  Jordan
3SC Uzbekistan 2 §  Uzbekistan  India N/A


^ Relegated to the division below.

^§ Won promotion, or the right to a challenge play-off for promotion, to the division above.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "History". Asia Rugby. 2016. Archived from the original on 24 December 2015. Retrieved 24 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links