Essex Rugby Football Union
|Full name||Essex Rugby Football Union|
|Region||Essex, parts of London|
The Essex Rugby Football Union is the governing body for the sport of rugby union in the county of Essex in England. The union is the constituent body of the Rugby Football Union (RFU) for Essex, and administers and organises rugby union clubs and competitions in the county. It also administers the Essex county rugby representative teams.
The Essex RFU was established in 1885. The first recorded match played by an Essex representative team was actually held a year before the union was created, when they lost to a representative team from neighbouring Suffolk at Chelmsford in 1884. In December 1890 Essex would join with Suffolk and Norfolk to form the Eastern Counties Rugby Union, with Cambridgeshire joining later in 1920 and would participate in the County Championship. Essex would try and leave the Eastern Counties and gain constituent body status but were refused by the Rugby Football Union three times in 1972, 1975 and 1977. Finally in 2003 the county were awarded full status and would compete in the County Championship as an Essex side.
Senior county team
The Essex senior men's team currently play in Division 2 of the County Championship having won promotion from Division 3 at the end of 2018. The 2018 competition also marked the county's first appearance at Twickenham Stadium when they reached the Shield final, losing 22-24 to Dorset & Wilts.
There are currently 44 clubs affiliated with the Essex RFU, with teams at both senior and junior level.
- Benfleet Vikings
- Clacton[a 2]
- Canvey Island
- East London
- Epping Upper Clapton[a 3]
- Eton Manor
- Harwich & Dovercourt
- Ilford Wanderers
- Kings Cross Steelers
- May & Baker
- Millwall[a 4]
- Old Brentwoods
- Old Cooperians
- Pegasus Palmerians
- Rochford Hundred
- Romford & Gidea Park
- Runwell Wyverns
- South Woodham Ferrers
- Writtle Wanderers
County club competitions
The Essex RFU currently helps run the following club competitions:
- London 3 Essex - league ranked at tier 8 of the English rugby union system for clubs from Essex and north-east London
- Essex Canterbury Jack 1 - tier 9 league
- Essex Merit Tables - 7 divisions outside the league system mostly involving reserve team rugby (2nd to 5th XV) with the occasional 1st XV side
- Essex 2 - tier 10 league that ran between 2003 and 2014
- Essex 3 - tier 11 league that ran between 2003 and 2009
- Although formed in 1885, Essex had to wait until 2003 to gain full RFU constituent body status.
- Clacton are joint members of both Essex RFU and Suffolk RFU.
- Epping Upper Clapton are members of both the and Essex RFU and Middlesex RFU.
- Millwall are members of both the and Essex RFU and Middlesex RFU.
- "Essex RFU seek Constituent Body status". ESPN. 7 July 2003.
- "Home". Essex County RFU (Pitchero). Retrieved 14 February 2019.
- "County events schedule". Essex RFU (Pitchero). Retrieved 8 February 2019.
- "DORSET AND WILTS SENIOR XV BILL BEAUMONT DIV. 3 CHAMPIONS". Dorset & Wilts RFU. 28 May 2018.
- "Competitions". Essex County RFU (Pitchero). Retrieved 14 February 2019.
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