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History of Wellington Rugby

Rugby made its inaugural appearance in Wellington in 1870 when a group of local enthusiasts formed a team. On 29 September 1871, this team engaged in its first representative men's match against a combined side from Nelson Clubs.

Established in 1879, the Wellington Rugby Football Union (WRFU) holds the distinction of being the oldest rugby province in New Zealand, standing alongside the Canterbury Rugby Football Union.

WRFU has a very proud history, contributing significantly to the All Blacks and Black Ferns legacy. Notable figures for the All Blacks include Billy Wallace, Ron Jarden, Ken Gray, Andy Leslie, Grant Batty, Murray Mexted, Stu Wilson, Murray Pierce, and the legendary back three of Cullen, Lomu and Umaga. Modern greats such as Savea, Perenara and Coles have also emerged. Among the Black Ferns, the WRFU has produced legends like Neroli Knight, Rebecca Liua’ana, Erin Rush, Izzy Ford and Tia Paasi, along with Aimee Sutorius, Sanita Levave, Jackie Patea-Fereti and more recently Joanah Ngan-Woo and Ayesha Leti-I’iga.

Wellington's premier representative teams are the Wellington Lions (Men) and Wellington Pride (Women), competing for the National Provincial Championship trophy and Farah Palmer Cup, respectively. The Lions secured national titles in 1978, 1981, 1986, 2000 and 2022, while the Pride claimed victory in 2006.

The Jubilee Cup, Wellington's Premier Men's club championship, has been fiercely contested for over a century. The trophy has been lifted by six different clubs in the last 10 seasons, highlighting the competitiveness of Wellington's Premier Men’s club competition.

In the Premier Women's space, the Tia Paasi Memorial Trophy (formerly known as the Victoria Tavern Trophy) has been contested since 1993. Over the last 10 club seasons, four different clubs have claimed the trophy, showcasing the continuous emergence of new contenders vying to lift it for the first time.