Korea
Shirt badge/Association crest
EmblemThe Rose of Sharon
UnionKorea Rugby Union
Head coachLee Myung Geun
CaptainNoh Ok Gi
Most capsBack Kwang-soo (26)
Home stadiumIncheon Namdong Asiad Rugby Field
First colours
Second colours
World Rugby ranking
Current30 (as of 20 March 2023)
First international
 Taiwan 15–9 Korea 
(March 8, 1969)
Biggest win
 Korea 135–3 Malaysia 
(September 20, 1992)
Biggest defeat
 Tonga 119–0 Korea 
(March 22, 2003)
Best resultRepechage 2
Websitewww.rugby.or.kr
Old logo
Top 30 as of 5 February 2024[1]
Rank Change* Team Points
1 Steady  South Africa 094.54
2 Steady  Ireland 092.11
3 Steady  New Zealand 089.80
4 Steady  France 086.28
5 Steady  England 085.80
6 Steady  Scotland 084.45
7 Steady  Argentina 080.68
8 Steady  Wales 079.62
9 Steady  Australia 077.48
10 Steady  Fiji 076.38
11 Steady  Italy 075.58
12 Steady  Japan 074.27
13 Increase1  Georgia 072.68
14 Increase1  Samoa 072.23
15 Increase1  Tonga 071.57
16 Decrease3  Portugal 070.78
17 Steady  United States 067.94
18 Steady  Uruguay 067.39
19 Increase1  Spain 063.46
20 Decrease1  Romania 063.40
21 Steady  Canada 060.90
22 Steady  Namibia 060.56
23 Steady  Chile 060.49
24 Steady  Hong Kong 059.80
25 Steady  Russia 058.06
26 Increase3  Belgium 056.58
27 Decrease1   Switzerland 056.29
28 Steady  Brazil 055.37
27 Decrease2  Netherlands 055.24
30 Steady  South Korea 053.46
* Change from the previous week

The South Korea national rugby union team, (Korean: 대한민국 럭비 유니언 국가대표팀, Daehanminguk reogbi yunieon gukga daepyo tim) recognized as Korea by World Rugby, has yet to make their debut at the Rugby World Cup.

Korea were at their peak in the 1980s, where they won 3 consecutive Asian championships (defeating full-strength Japan squads), and even managed to play a test against the Wallabies. Korea reached the repechage round of qualification for the 1999, 2003, and 2007 Rugby World Cups, being eliminated by Tonga each time. They also failed to qualify for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. They did not qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup

Korea participated in the 2008 Asian Five Nations, the inaugural Asian Five Nations.

History

It is unknown when rugby was first played in Korea. During the mid-19th century, European sailors are recorded as playing some of the earliest games in north east Asia, in ports such as Shanghai and Yokohama in neighbouring China and Japan, but it is unclear whether this occurred in Korea itself. However, it seems certain it had some presence by the mid-20th century. Korea was to become occupied by Japan, the main rugby playing nation of Asia, and it could well have been introduced then. In the amateur days, South Korea maintained a fierce rivalry with Japan.[2]

After World War II, and later, during the period of the Korean War, the large influx of troops from Commonwealth countries cemented its presence.[2] One legacy of this is that South Korean rugby has traditionally been strongest in the army.[2]

However, South Korean rugby has a second string to its bow. The massive growth of the economy since the 1960s, meant that a number of Korean corporations were to set up company teams along the lines of those in Japan, and this has broken up the former dominance of the military.[2]

South Korea made a failed attempt to have rugby union at the Olympic Games readmitted, when they hosted the games in Seoul.[3] Roh Tae-woo, who was South Korean president at the time, had been a player.[4] South Korea have emerged as an important rugby nation in Asia, since they won the Asian Championship in 1990.[2]

Despite having never qualified for a Rugby World Cup, South Korea were represented in 1995 in South Africa, with Han Moon-soo refereeing the fixture between France and the Ivory Coast.[5]

Notable players include

Expatriate rugby

Expatriate rugby was first played in Korea in 1972. An expat team called the Seoul Wanderers were formed to give opposition to both the local university teams and stationed army teams. This team was made up of players from the UK, New Zealand, and Australia. The team was disbanded in 1976. However, the void caused by a lack of rugby was soon to be filled. In late 1977 Billy Cornett and Brad Handley got together and decided to form a new expat club - the Seoul Survivors. The club is still around today.[6]

Other Expatriate clubs include the Busan Bandits Rugby Football Club (based in Busan), the Ulsan Goblins Rugby Club (based in Ulsan) and the Stars & Stripes Korea Rugby Club (based in Pyeongtaek).

Current squad

South Korea 26-man squad for the 2023 Asian Rugby Championship. Caps updated 31 May 2023.

Player Position Club Caps Date of birth
Choi Ho Young Hooker South Korea Korea University 2 3 October 2000
Yeo Jae Min Hooker South Korea POSCO 0 25 April 1999
Seok Dong Hee Prop South Korea POSCO 3 16 February 1998
Shin Gi Soo Prop South Korea KAFAC 2 26 January 1997
Kang Soon Hyuk Prop South Korea POSCO 6 28 June 1994
Won Jeong Ho Prop South Korea Korea University 0 9 February 1996
Shin Da Hyun Lock South Korea KEPCO 10 3 September 2000
Lee Jin Seok Lock South Korea POSCO 7 24 September 1998
Kim Dae Hwan Lock South Korea KEPCO 2 6 October 1996
Noh Ok Gi Flanker South Korea KEPCO 4 7 August 1995
Kim Yo Han Flanker South Korea Hyundai Glovis 2 13 January 1996
Noh Myung Soo Flanker South Korea Hyundai Glovis 0 27 December 1999
Park Woo Bin Flanker South Korea KAFAC 0 28 November 2000
Hwang Jeong Wook Flanker South Korea Korea University 0 30 November 2000
Lee Geon Scrum-half South Korea POSCO 2 26 May 1999
Kim Wan Seok Scrum-half South Korea KAFAC 0 28 November 2000
Kim Ki Min Fly-half South Korea KEPCO 4 5 August 1997
Kim Hyun Jin Fly-half South Korea Korea University 0 31 October 2000
Kim Yong Hwi Centre Japan Red Hurricanes Osaka 1 29 June 1999
Yang Jun Cheol Centre South Korea KAFAC 0 28 November 1998
Huh Dong Centre South Korea Korea University 0 13 March 1997
Jang Hyun Goo Wing South Korea Kyung Hee University 0 16 October 1992
Jang Jeong-Min Wing South Korea KEPCO 10 10 November 1994
Chang Yong-Heung 6 June Wing South Korea KEPCO 9 12 November 1993
Kim Eui Tae Fullback South Korea KAFAC 0 6 June 1993
Jeong Yeon-Sik Fullback South Korea Hyundai Glovis 13 8 May 1993

References

  1. ^ "Men's World Rankings". World Rugby. Retrieved 5 February 2024.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Bath, Richard (ed.) The Complete Book of Rugby (Seven Oaks Ltd, 1997 ISBN 1-86200-013-1) p70
  3. ^ Rugby at the 1924 Olympics, retrieved 19 August 2009
  4. ^ a b Famous Ruggers by Wes Clark and others, retrieved 19 August 2009
  5. ^ https://www.rugbydatabase.co.nz/referee/gamesList.php?refereeId=290
  6. ^ "The Club". Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2011-01-13.