Offside’s best Rugby Union images ahead of a big year for the sport

It’s all going off in the world of rugby union. Over the past week, the IRB (that’s the International Rugby Board for the uninitiated) have announced their plans for next year’s World Rugby Conference and Exhibition, teaming up with Engage Sports Media, who also count the English FA and the Football League as clients. Not a bad name to call on to make the most out of what is set to be a gigantic 12 or so months for the sport.

Gerry Cranham: Gareth Edwards shrugs off the French defence to score a try for Wales in 1971.
Gerry Cranham: Gareth Edwards shrugs off the French defence to score a try for Wales in 1971.

Already,  there’s plenty of action afoot. The pinnacle of  the womens’ game, the 2014 Rugby World Cup, is well under way over in France. In just under a month’s time, the English Premiership season will kick off, with the mens’ 2015 Rugby World Cup scheduled to take place next September in England.

L'Equipe: Jonny Wilkinson holds the  2014 Heineken Cup  aloft.
L’Equipe: Jonny Wilkinson holds the 2014 Heineken Cup aloft.

With so much going on, or set up to take place over the coming weeks and months, here at Offside we thought it the perfect opportunity to show off some of our favourite rugby union photographs from our extensive archive of images covering the sport and its history.

Mark Leech: Dean Richards receives an  arm to the face.
Mark Leech: Dean Richards receives an arm to the face.

Meanwhile, here’s some words from IRB Head of Communications Dominic Rumbles and the Chief Executive of Engage Sports Media, Gregg Oakfield.

Dominic said: “This year’s IRB ConfEx comes at a crucial time ahead of Rugby World Cup 2015 and the sport’s return to the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016. We are presented with an incredible opportunity to build a truly worldwide following via Engage’s excellent production and distribution services and it will play a key role in helping the IRB to communicate how the Rugby family is working together to grow the game globally.”

 

Gregg said: “We are delighted to be working with the IRB on this exciting project for the second year running, further building our relationship with Rugby’s stakeholders. Our renewed partnership allows us to take more content to Rugby fans around the world – engaging more people with the sport than ever before.”

Gerry Cranham: Hands go up for the ball as a lineout is contested.
Gerry Cranham: Hands go up for the ball as a lineout is contested.

The IRB World Rugby Conference and Exhibition will take place on November 17 and 18 at the Hilton London Metropole. It’s set to be a special event to benefit the entire, world-wide Rugby community where knowledge can be shared,  relationships forged and developed and new networks created. A full programme of speeches, workshops, exhibitions and seminars is promised on a host of key themes including, the development and growth of the game and increasing fan engagement.

While the conference itself may be intended for players, coaches and professionals within the game, the amount of rugby union on offer over the next 12 months is sure to provide plenty of spectacle and great images for all to enjoy.

Offside is the UK’s leading independent sports photography agency, home to an extensive collection of current and classic rugby pictures as well as other images from across the world of sport. Explore Offside’s unique library at www.welloffside.com.

Follow Offside on Twitter at @welloffside.

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Author: gregianjohnson

Football writer for The Blizzard, FourFourTwo, The Mirror, Squawka and VICE amongst others. Follow me on Twitter at @gregianjohnson.

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