Rugby union is a hugely popular sport played in over 120 countries around the world with youth and women’s rugby showing significant growth at the highest levels. This, alongside the passionate fans that follow their teams, makes rugby a strong sporting product.
Over the years, Southern Hemisphere rugby has tended to hog the limelight somewhat. Teams in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa have consisted of some the greatest players of all time, but that hasn’t stopped some of European rugby’s powerhouses from making headlines of their own.
Sides from both the English Premiership and the French Top 14, to name a few, have certainly made their mark on the sport and tend to be favoured by fans when it comes to tuning into the matches and placing winning rugby bets.
With six countries in Europe competing in the Six Nations, club competition in these countries is strong. Some of rugby’s great rivalries have been born in Europe, with teams from Ireland, England and France taking part in some truly memorable battles in recent times.
The debate on which side is the undisputed king will rumble on for centuries but there are some strong contenders in the pack. So, with that in mind, below is a look at five of Europe’s most successful rugby clubs and some of their achievements.
Arguably Ireland’s biggest club, Munster, have a dedicated and loyal set of fans that follow their beloved team wherever they’re competing in Europe. Thanks to a successful history behind them and some notable methods that frighten most of European rugby’s sides, Munster are a formidable force in rugby.
The team has won two Champions Cup finals and lost two, while also winning the Pro 15 three times and coming runner up in the competition four times. Most of the rivals on this list certainly want to avoid Munster in serious competition if they can.
Perhaps the most feared opponent on the entire list, Toulouse, is a rugby club that has certainly made its mark in European competition over the years. Four Champions Cup wins make them a strong contender every year, while Toulouse has also managed to dominate in France too, namely with 20 record-breaking wins of the internal French league.
Fans might argue that Toulouse’s rise to the top of the rugby world is down to huge spending, but there is no doubting that they deserve to be there given the immense talent they usually have at their disposal.
Winners of the Champions Cup in 2001 and 2002, Leicester Tigers have recorded some impressive success on the European stage.
The club has reigned supreme 10 times in the English Premiership, while also managing to reach a mightily impressive five finals in the prestigious Champions Cup.
Leicester Tigers certainly have a knack of reaching major finals, hence why the club has managed to become one of the major forces in club rugby.
Another big-spending club, Saracens have dominated the Champions Cup in recent times, winning three titles in 2016, 2017 and 2019. Widely regarded as being the most successful European club since 2014, Saracens have risen up the ranks because of solid investment and an extensive selection of talented players and coaches that have played their part in the club’s remarkable success story.
Saracens have also won the English Premiership on numerous occasions, particularly dominating between 2011-2019 when they won it four times.
Not everyone may agree with their approach to player contracts, which have led to sanctions against the club, but there is no denying that Saracens are a club not to be left out of these ranks.
Another big club from Ireland, Leinster haven’t looked back since 2007 when the clubs’ winning streak started to kick in. Winning the Champions Cup four times and the Pro 14 six times, Leinster know how to get the job done and are an opponent many sides struggle to match in the big match-ups.
With a passionate following behind them and a set of players that generally give their all for the badge, Leinster are always a dangerous side in any competition they take part in.
The Northern Hemisphere boasts a number of outstanding rugby clubs. The five rugby clubs mentioned above are by no means the only clubs worth mentioning on this list. Which do you think deserves to be included in the list of Europe’s Five Most Successful Rugby Clubs?