This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. August See also: Rugby union in Ireland Early years: The club was organised by students who had learnt the game while at public schools in Great Britain. During the third quarter of the nineteenth century, and following the adoption of a set of official rules in , rugby football began to spread quickly throughout Ireland, resulting in the formation of several other clubs which are still in existence, including NIFC ; Wanderers ; Queen's University ; Lansdowne ; Dungannon ; Co.
Ireland lost their first test match against England 7—0 at the Oval on 15 February Both teams fielded 20 players in this match,  as was customary in the early years of rugby union; it was not until that the number of players was reduced from 20 to Ireland's first home game was also against England in the same year held at the Leinster Cricket Club in Rathmines as Lansdowne Road was deemed unsuitable.
The first match at Lansdowne Road was held on 11 March , with England beating Ireland by 2 goals and 1 try to nil. It was not until that Ireland first won a test, beating Scotland at Ormeau in Belfast. Ireland turned up two men short for their game in Cardiff in and had to borrow two Welsh players. The first victory Ireland had at Lansdowne Road took place on 5 February It was also their first win over England, by two goals to nil.
On the third of March , Ireland recorded their first win over Wales with a goal, a try and a drop goal to nil. In , Ireland followed the Welsh model of using seven backs instead of six for the first time. After victory over England at Blackheath, Ireland won back-to-back matches for the first time when recording their first win over Scotland on 24 February Ireland went on to beat Wales in Belfast and win the Triple Crown for the first time.
In the s, Rugby was primarily a game for the Protestant middle class, the only Catholic in Edmund Forrest's team was Tom Crean. They went on to win the Home international championship twice more before the old century was out and , so that by all four of the Home Unions had tasted success at a game that was growing in popularity with players and spectators. Ireland played only seven forwards, copying the then New Zealand method of playing a "rover". The game ended New Zealand 15 Ireland 0.
On 20 March , Ireland played France for the first time, beating them 19—8. This was Ireland's biggest victory in international rugby at that time, their highest points tally and a record five tries. Ireland with seven new caps were overwhelmed by a record margin of 38—0, still a record loss to South Africa who scored 10 tries.
Ireland again came close to a grand slam in when their sole loss was an 8—6 defeat by England. Ireland were champions and Triple Crown winners again in In , Ireland were once more crowned Five Nations champions. The eleven Republic-based players protested " God Save the Queen ", and an abbreviated anthem known as "the Salute" was instead played. Ireland beat Scotland 6—0, and did not play in Northern Ireland again until Ireland became the first of the home nations to win in the Southern Hemisphere when they beat Australia in Sydney in May In the autumn of , the Irish Rugby Football Union appointed a coach for the national team for the first time, the role went to Ronnie Dawson.
In , despite similar threats, England fulfilled their fixture and were given a five-minute standing ovation. Ireland came close to a first win over the All Blacks on 20 January , but tied 10— In , Ireland won their first Five Nations Championship since Willie John McBride was coach until It would be Ireland's last silverware until Ireland scored 10 tries against Romania in a 60—0 win on 1 November , the biggest win in international rugby at the time, equalling the French record set in Ireland failed to win the Five Nations in the whole of the s, never finishing outside the bottom two.
In , they lost their test series against Namibia. Ireland played the Wallabies at Lansdowne Road in the quarter final and appeared to be on the verge of a shock victory over Australia, when Michael Lynagh scored the winning try to clinch a 19—18 win for Australia. Professional era and new stadium: Unfortunately, France proved too strong, with Ireland going down 36—12 in the quarter finals.
The start of the professional era was disappointing for Ireland, who finished bottom of the Five Nations Championship three years in succession , and Warren Gatland took over as coach in , but was unable to produce immediate success. The World Cup was staged primarily in Wales, though Ireland played all their pool games in Dublin. In a play-off, Ireland were beaten 28—24 by Argentina, marking the first time that Ireland failed to reach the quarter finals.
From this nadir, however, Irish rugby improved. The Irish Rugby Football Union converted the four representative provincial sides into de facto club sides, and the formation in of the Celtic League now called the Pro14 provided Irish provincial sides with regular competitive rugby.
The advent of the new Six Nations format coincided with this Irish resurgence. In , Ireland finished second. In the Six Nations , Ireland finished in third place. In the last autumn international at Lansdowne Road, Ireland beat Australia 21—6. With the rebuilding of Lansdowne Road , a new venue was required. Croke Park , home of the Gaelic Athletic Association , hosted some games from to Ireland's Six Nations campaign included three losses.
During a 13—19 loss against Wales , Ireland's Ronan O'Gara became the first Irishman, and only the fifth player, to score 1,points. The Six Nations Championship saw Ireland finish with one win, three losses, and one draw, including their first home loss to England in 10 years;  and their first ever loss to Italy in the Six Nations. Ireland retained the Six Nations Championship , and became Six Nations Champions for the second year running on points difference.
Following wins against Wales and Scotland during warm-up matches for the Rugby World Cup , Ireland briefly reached its highest-ever position of second in the World Rugby rankings.
Ireland won its pool at the Rugby World Cup with a 24—9 victory over France, but lost in the quarterfinals to Argentina 20— Ireland defeated the New Zealand All Blacks for the first time in years on 5 November in Chicago on a scoreline of 40— Ireland moved up to number 4 in the World Rankings. In November , Ireland moved to number 3 in World Rankings following their biggest ever win over South Africa, , and victories over Fiji and Argentina.
After winning the Six Nations Championship with a Grand Slam, Ireland moved to number 2 in the world rankings again. Their emblem consists of a shamrock and rugby ball; a shamrock has been incorporated into the emblem since the side first played in Between and the summer of , Ireland's main shirt sponsor was Irish Permanent who became Permanent TSB after a merger, who continued to sponsor the shirt until the autumn of O2 were Ireland's main shirt sponsor from then until Before , Umbro supplied kit to Ireland.
Nike were the suppliers between and the summer of Canterbury of New Zealand took over after the summer of and was the supplier until June In November , Puma took on the supply of Ireland's playing and training kit.