National League 2 South
Current season or competition:
2021–22 National League 2 South
SportRugby union
Instituted1987
Number of teams16
Country England
HoldersTaunton Titans (1st title) (2019–20
promoted to National League 1)
Most titlesBarking
Henley Hawks
Cambridge (2 titles)
Websiteclubs.rfu.com

National League 2 South (known before September 2009 as National Division Three South) is a level four league in the English rugby union system. It is one of two leagues at this level, with its counterpart, National League 2 North, covering the north of England. The format of the league was changed at the beginning of the 2009–10 season following reorganisation by the Rugby Football Union. The champions are promoted to National League 1. The runners-up play in a promotion play-off with the runners-up of National League 2 North; the team with the best record having home advantage. The bottom three teams are relegated, to either South West Premier or London & South East Premier.[1]

The 2019–20 season ended before all the matches were completed because of the coronavirus pandemic and the RFU used a best playing record formula to decide the final table.[2] Taunton Titans are the current champions. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the 2020–21 season was cancelled.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has approved a new structure for the National Leagues from the 2022–23 season. Along with National 1 and National League 2 North the size of the leagues at levels 3 and 4 will be reduced to 14 teams (currently 16), there will be a two-week break over Christmas and protected weekend breaks through the season. The competition structure will be reviewed every three years.[3]

Current season

Main article: 2021–22 National League 2 South

Eleven of the teams listed below participated in the 2019–20 National League 2 South season. The 2019–20 champions Taunton Titans and Tonbridge Juddians, who won the (virtual) promotion play-off against Caldy, were promoted into the 2021–22 National League 1, while Canterbury were relegated into the division from the 2019–20 National League 1. Sides relegated from the 2019–20 National League 2 South included Sutton & Epsom (to London & SE Premier), Bournemouth and Old Redcliffians (both to South West Premier).

The promoted teams are Barnstaple who come up as champions of South West Premier while Rochford Hundred (champions) and Guernsey Raiders (virtual play-off) came up from London & South East Premier. Hinckley were level transferred into the division from National League 2 North in order to address an imbalance of teams in National 2, with Taunton and Tonbridge Juddians being promoted and only Canterbury dropping down from National League 1.

2020–21

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020–21 season was cancelled.

List of champions

Area League South

Area League South honours
Season No of teams No of matches Champions Runner-up Relegated team(s) Ref
1987–88 11 10 Askeans Sidcup Streatham/Croydon
1988–89 11 10 Lydney Havant Sidcup, Stroud, Ealing
1989–90 11 10 Metropolitan Police Clifton Salisbury

National 4 South

National 4 South honours
Season No of teams No of matches Champions Runner-up Relegated team(s) Ref
1990–91 13 12 Redruth Basingstoke Cheltenham, Maidenhead
1991–92 13 12 Havant Basingstoke Ealing, Sidcup
1992–93 13 12 Sudbury London Welsh Multiple[a]

National Division 4

National Division 4 honours
Season No of teams No of matches Champions Runner-up Relegated team(s) Ref
1993–94 10 18 Clifton Harrogate Sheffield (to 5 North) and Sudbury (to 5 South)[b]
1994–95 10 18 Rotherham[4] Reading Askeans (to 5 South) and Broughton Park (to 5 North)
1995–96 10 18 Exeter London Welsh[c] Aspatria (to 4 North) and Plymouth Albion (to 4 South)

Division 4 South

Division 4 South honours
Season No of teams No of matches Champions Runner-up Relegated team(s) Ref
1996–97 14 26 Newbury Henley Askeans, Charlton Park, High Wycombe, Berry Hill

National 2 South

National 2 South honours
Season No of teams No of matches Champions Runner-up Relegated team(s) Ref
1997–98 14 26 Camberley Henley No relegation
1998–99 14 26 Bracknell Esher Havant
1999–00 14 26 Esher Penzance & Newlyn Metropolitan Police, Norwich, Bridgwater & Albion

National Division 3 South

National Division 3 South honours
Season No of teams No of matches Champions Runner-up Relegated team(s) Ref
2000–01 14 26 Plymouth Albion Launceston Cheltenham, Basingstoke, Weston-super-Mare, Reading [5]
2001–02 14 26 Penzance & Newlyn Launceston Cinderford, Clifton [6]
2002–03 14 26 Rosslyn Park Lydney Camberley, Havant
2003–04 14 26 Blackheath Launceston Old Colfeians, Basingstoke
2004–05 14 26 Barking Redruth Haywards Heath, Tabard, Weston-super-Mare [7]
2005–06 14 26 Cambridge North Walsham Bracknell, Reading
2006–07 14 26 Southend Westcombe Park Chinnor, Old Patesians, Hertford
2007–08 14 26 Mount's Bay Cinderford Luton, North Walsham, Clifton [8]
2008–09 14 26 London Scottish Rosslyn Park Havant, Chinnor

National League 2 South

National League 2 South honours
Season No of teams No of matches Champions Runner-up Relegated team(s) Ref
2009–10 15 28 Barking Rosslyn Park Bridgwater & Albion, Barnes [d]
2010–11 16 30 Ealing Trailfinders Jersey Newbury, Hinckley, Canterbury
2011–12 16 30 Old Albanian Richmond Barnes, Hertford, Westcombe Park [10]
2012–13 15 28 Henley Hawks Worthing Raiders Barking, Lydney [e] [12]
2013–14 16 30 Hartpury College Ampthill & District Exmouth, Bournemouth, London Irish Wild Geese
2014–15 16 30 Henley Hawks Bishop's Stortford Dings Crusaders, Shelford, Lydney
2015–16 16 30 Cambridge Old Albanian Launceston, Southend Saxons, Dorking
2016–17 16 30 Bishop's Stortford Old Elthamians Exmouth, Barnes[f]
2017–18 16 30 Cinderford Chinnor Broadstreet, Wimbledon, Barnstaple
2018–19 16 30 Rams Canterbury London Irish Wild Geese, Guernsey, Birmingham & Solihull
2019–20 16 25[g] Taunton Titans Tonbridge Juddians Bournemouth, Old Redcliffians, Sutton & Epsom
2020–21 16 Cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic
Green background are promotion places.

[16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24]

National Two promotion play-offs

Since the 2000–01 season there has been a promotion play-off between the league runners-up of National League 2 North and National League 2 South for the third and final promotion place to National League 1. The team with the superior league record has home advantage. As of the end of the 2019–20 season the southern teams have been more successful with fourteen wins to the northern teams four, while the home side has won thirteen teams to the away sides five.

National Two promotion play-off results
Season Home team Score Away team Venue Attendance
2000–01[25] Sedgley Park (N) 40–23 Launceston (S) Park Lane, Whitefield, Greater Manchester 1,500
2001–02[26] Launceston (S) 26–0 Dudley Kingswinford (N) Polson Bridge, Launceston, Cornwall 2,500
2002–03[27] Lydney (S) 21–7 New Brighton (N) Regentsholme, Lydney, Gloucestershire
2003–04[28][29] Halifax (N) 16–18 Launceston (S) Ovenden Park, Halifax, West Yorkshire
2004–05[30] Redruth (S) 33–14 Macclesfield (N) The Recreation Ground, Redruth, Cornwall 4,000
2005–06[31][32] North Walsham (S) 5–15 Nuneaton (N) Norwich Road, Scottow, Norfolk 1,302
2006–07[33][34] Westcombe Park (S) 36–20 Tynedale (N) Goddington Dene, Orpington, Greater London 1,700[35]
2007–08[36][37] Cinderford (S) 15–14 Darlington Mowden Park (N) Dockham Road, Cinderford, Gloucestershire 2,800
2008–09 No promotion play-off due to the restructuring of the English rugby union league system. Only the champions of the two divisions were promoted.[38]
2009–10[39][40] Loughborough Students (N) 21–43 Rosslyn Park (S) Loughborough University Stadium, Loughborough, Leicestershire 1,000
2010–11[41][42] Jersey (S) 30–5 Loughborough Students (N) St. Peter, Saint Peter, Jersey 3,100
2011–12[43][44] Richmond (S) 20–13 (aet) Caldy (N) Athletic Ground, Richmond, Greater London 1,600
2012–13[45] Stourbridge (N) 26–28 Worthing Raiders (S) Stourton Park, Stourbridge, West Midlands 925
2013–14[46] Darlington Mowden Park (N) 30–28 (aet) Ampthill (S) The Northern Echo Arena, Darlington, County Durham 975
2014–15[47][48] Ampthill (N) 19–10 Bishop's Stortford (S) Dillingham Park, Ampthill, Bedfordshire 1,253
2015–16[49][50] Old Albanian (S) 24–0 Sedgley Park (N) Woollam Playing Fields, St Albans, Hertfordshire 473
2016–17 Sale FC (N) 14–19 Old Elthamians (S) Heywood Road, Sale, Greater Manchester 1,297
2017–18 Chinnor (S) 40–31 Sedgley Park (N) Kingsey Road, Thame, Oxfordshire 1,378
2018–19 Canterbury (S) 19–10 Chester (N) The Marine Travel Ground, Canterbury, Kent 1,114
2019–20 Cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom. Best ranked runner up – Tonbridge Juddians (S) promoted.
2020–21 Cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom.
Green backgrounds represent promoted teams. N stands for National League 2 North while S stands for National 2 South.

Number of league titles

League format since 1987

Format of fourth tier rugby union leagues in England
Year Name No of teams No of matches
1987–93 Courage National Division Four North and Courage National Division Four South 11 10
1993–96 Courage National Division Four 10 18
1996–97 National Four North and
National Four South
14 26
1997–00 Jewson National Division 2 North and
Jewson National Division 2 South
14 26
2000–09 National Division Three North and
National Division Three South
14 26
2009–22 National League 2 North and
National League 2 South
16 30
2022– National League 2 North and
National League 2 South
14 26

[16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [51][52] [53] [54] [24] [55] [56] [57]

Records

Note that all records are from 1996–97 season onwards as this is widely held as the dawn of professionalism across the English club game. It also offers a better comparison between seasons as the division team numbers are roughly equal (for example when league rugby union first started in 1987–88 the southern league had only 11 teams playing 10 games each, compared to 14 teams in 1996–97 playing 26 games (home & away), going up to 16 teams in 2009–10 playing 30 games each). Attendance records are from 2000 onwards unless otherwise specified. All records are up to date up till the end of the 2018–19 season.

League records

Barking (2004–05, 2009–10)
Henley Hawks (2012–13, 2014–15)
Cambridge (2005–06, 2015–16)
Henley Hawks (1997–98, 2012–13, 2014–15)
Havant (1998–99, 2002–03, 2008–09)
Barnes (2009–10, 2011–12, 2016–17)
Cinderford (2017–18)
Metropolitan Police (1999–00)[58]
Camberley (2002–03)
Ealing Trailfinders (2010–11)
Camberley (2002–03)
Newbury Blues (2010–11)
Plymouth Albion (2000–01)
Ealing Trailfinders (2010–11)
Newbury Blues (2010–11)
Cinderford (2017–18)
Newbury Blues (2010–11)
Launceston (2015–16)
Rugby Lions (2008–09)
Barnes (2015–16)
Bishop's Stortford (2014–15)

Match records

Old Albanian at home to Newbury Blues on 26 March 2011 (2010–11)
Henley Hawks away to Barking on 27 October 2012 (2012–13)
Old Albanian at home to Newbury Blues on 26 March 2011 (2010–11)
Jersey at home to Newbury Blues on 6 November 2011 (2010–11)
Ealing Trailfinders at home to Hinckley on 12 March 2011 (2010–11)
Old Albanian at home to Newbury Blues on 26 March 2011 (2010–11)
Old Albanian at home to Newbury Blues on 26 March 2011 (2010–11)
Ealing Trailfinders at home to Lydney on 30 April 2011 (2010–11)
Blackheath at home to Redruth on 14 December 2002 (2002–03)
Hertford at home to Rosslyn Park on 30 September 2006 (2006–07)
Clifton at home to Lydney on 21 October 2006 (2006–07)
Dings Crusaders at home to Southend on 6 November 2011 (2010–11)
Launceston at home to Hartpury College on 28 September 2013 (2013–14)
Launceston away to Dings Crusaders on 27 September 2014 (2014–15)
Westcombe Park at home to Ealing Trailfinders on 5 December 2009 (2009–10)

Player records

Wales Matthew McLean for Worthing Raiders (2011–12, 2017–18, 2018–19)
England Gary Kingdom for Taunton Titans (2014–15, 2015–16, 2019–20)
England Phil Chesters for Ealing Trailfinders (2009–10, 2010–11)
England Ian Clark for Hartpury College (2011–12, 2012–13)
Fiji Nat Saumi for Penzance & Newlyn (2000–01)
England Phil Chesters for Ealing Trailfinders (2010–11))
England Adam Westall for Lydney away to Haywards Heath on 12 March 2005 (2004–05)
Malta James O'Brien for Old Patesians at home to Old Colfeians on 27 March 2004 (2003–04)
England Phil Chesters for Ealing Trailfinders at home to Newbury Blues on 2 October 2010 and at home to Lydney on 30 April 2011 (2010–11)
England Richard Gregg for Old Albanian at home to Newbury Blues on 26 March 2011 (2010–11)
Ireland Jonathan Griffin for Blackheath at home to Redruth on 14 December 2002 (2002–03)
England Kieron Davies for Hertford at home to Rosslyn Park on 30 September 2006 (2006–07)
England John Barnes for Clifton at home to Lydney on 21 October 2006 (2006–07)
England Mitch Burton for Dings Crusaders at home to Southend on 6 November 2011 (2010–-11)
England Luke Cozens for Hartpury College away to Dings Crusaders on 17 November 2012 (2012–13)
England Danial Trigg for Dings Crusaders away to Lydney on 1 December 2012 (2012–13)
Cornwall Kieron Lewitt for Launceston away to Dings Crusaders on 27 September 2014 (2014–15)
England Lee Audis for Westcombe Park at home to Ealing Trailfinders on 5 December 2009 (2009–10)

Attendance records

[k]

Henley Hawks at home to Worthing Raiders on 4 May 2013 (2012–13)
Tonbridge Juddians at home to Sutton & Epsom on 21 December 2019 (2019–20)
Redruth at home to Macclesfield on 1 May 2005 (2004–05)
Old Albanian at home to Sedgley Park on 14 May 2016 (2015–16)
Plymouth Albion (2000–01)
Old Patesians (2006–07)

All time National League 2 South top 10 point scorers

As of the end of the games of 27 April 2019. Stats taken from 1998–99 season onwards and include regular league games only in National League 2 South (no promotion play-off games). Points scored includes tries, drop kicks, penalties and conversions.[59]
Rank Nat Name Years Club(s) Points Apps Ratio
1 Wales Matthew McLean 2008–13, 2014– Worthing Raiders 2,314 237 9.8
2 England Gary Kingdom 2010– Taunton Titans 1,979 245 8.1
3 England Adam Westall 2002–03, 2004–08
2008–10
Lydney
Dings Crusaders
1,368 130 11
4 England Andy Frost 2005–07, 2009–13
2014–15
Southend Saxons
Dorking
1,302 117 11
5 England Derek Coates 2000–03
2003-04
Westcombe Park
Blackheath
1,183 99 12
6 Cornwall Kieron Lewitt 2007–09
2011–15
Canterbury
Launceston
1,134 131 9
7 England James Comben 2009–13, 2014–15 Henley Hawks 924 103 9
8 England Tom Best 2009–11
2012–
Canterbury 858 202 4.2
9 England Bradley Barnes 2012–14, 2015-
2014–15
Clifton
Lydney
830 168 4.9
10 England Tom White 2014–17 Old Elthamians 778 85 9.2

(Bold denotes players still playing in National League 2 South)

All time National League 2 South top 10 try scorers

As of the end of the games of 27 April 2019. Stats taken from 1998–99 season onwards and include regular league games only in National League 2 South (no promotion play-off games).[60]
Rank Nat Name Years Club(s) Tries Apps Ratio
1 England Phil Chesters 2009–11
2017
2017–
Ealing Trailfinders
Old Elthamians
Chinnor
117 75 1.6
2 Wales Matthew McLean 2008–13, 2014– Worthing Raiders 115 237 0.5
3 England Andy Thorpe 2001–08 North Walsham 114 143 0.8
4 England Michael Melford 2006–11, 2012–13 Canterbury 92 148 0.6
5 England Mark Billings 2005–07, 2009–16 Southend 89 213 0.4
6 England Alexander Nielsen 2008–13, 2014–17 Worthing Raiders 83 139 0.6
7 England Owen Bruynseels 2007–11 Ealing Trailfinders 81 95 0.9
8 England Nick Hankin 2013–17 Bishop's Stortford 80 119 0.7
South Africa Gert De Kock 2003–05
2006–11
Westcombe Park
Canterbury
80 166 0.5
England William Pomphrey 2009– Clifton 80 175 0.5

(Bold denotes players still playing in National League 2 South)

Notes

  1. ^ This year there was a league restructure with a new league (Courage National League 4) becoming the new tier 4. Courage National 4 would contain the previous season's top teams from National 4 North and National 4 South with the remaining teams joining lower tier teams as part of Courage League Division 5 (which retained the North/South divisions). This structure would continue for several years before being abolished at the end of 1996 where the league would revert to the old system.
  2. ^ This year there was a league restructure with a new league (Courage National League 4) becoming the new tier 4. Courage National 4 would contain the previous season's top teams from National 4 North and National 4 South with the remaining teams joining lower tier teams as part of Courage League Division 5 (which retained the North/South divisions). This structure would continue for several years before being abolished at the end of 1996 where the league would revert to the old system.
  3. ^ The top eight teams were all promoted to the re-organised, sixteen team, Courage League Division 3 for season 1996–97
  4. ^ Mounts Bay were originally scheduled to participate in the 2009–10 season after being demoted at the end of the previous season but folded in July 2009. As they were unable to participate, the division went ahead with fifteen teams instead of the expected sixteen.[9]
  5. ^ Rugby Lions were on the original 2012–13 fixture list after winning promotion from National League 3 Midlands but during July 2012 they went into liquidation and were unable to participate in the division, leaving fifteen teams instead of the usual sixteen.[11]
  6. ^ Due to London Welsh being expelled from the RFU Championship in January 2017 only 5 teams would be relegated from National League 2 North and National League South instead of the usual 6 - meaning that the 14th placed side in one of the leagues would be safe. In the end 14th placed Barnstaple (National League 2 South) gained more points (51) than 14th placed Harrogate (47) (National League 2 North) condemning them to the drop instead.[13]
  7. ^ Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom the RFU cancelled all rugby below the Premiership with most clubs in National League 2 South having played 25 games, and a best playing record formula was used to decide the final table.[14][15]
  8. ^ Clifton's league title was won during the period when tier 4 was a single national league (1993-96).
  9. ^ Exeter's league title was won during the period when tier 4 was a single national league (1993-96).
  10. ^ Penzance & Newlyn are now known as the Cornish Pirates.
  11. ^ Note that due to poor attendance keeping by press and online sources means that the 2002–03 and 2003–04 seasons are excluded from these statistics due to lack of information.

See also

References

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