The Churchill Cup is an alliance between the English Rugby Football Union (RFU), Rugby Canada and USA Rugby. It arose following England’s tour to North America in 2001, and aims to develop and grow the sport of rugby union across Canada and the USA.
The tournament is named after British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who shared close ties with the United States – his mother was American – and with Canada during the Second World War.
The tournament was launched in Vancouver in 2003 and the inaugural tournament was won by England. Since then, England has captured the Cup three more times, with Ireland A breaking its winning streak in the 2009 finals at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (Commerce City, Colo.)
Since its introduction both men and women from England, USA and Canada have participated in the tournament, but since 2005 it has been a men only event. Invitational sides from Argentina, Georgia, Ireland, New Zealand and Scotland, have all participated. New sides in the 2010 competition include France A, Russia and Uruguay.
The tournament has grown in success since 2003 when just 5,000 people attended. In 2006, when the tournament was last held in North America it attracted over 28,000 spectators.
In 2009, the Churchill cup pool rounds and finals were staged entirely in the USA for the first time and the tournament attracted near sellout crowds to Glendale’s Infinity Park, the first municipally owned rugby stadium in the country.
For 2010, the pool play matches return to Infinity Park and the finals round will move to the East Coast, to the new, state-of-art Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ.
The Churchill Cup returns to England in 2011, with Tonga and Italy A making their debut in the competition.
2009, Glendale and Commerce City, Colorado (USA): Men’s teams from England, Canada, USA, Ireland, Argentina and Georgia
2008, Ottawa, Kingston, Toronto and Chicago: Men’s teams from England, Canada, USA, Scotland, Ireland and Argentina
2007, England: Men’s teams from England, Canada, USA, Scotland, Ireland and New Zealand. England won the 2007 tournament.
2006, San Francisco, Ottawa, Toronto and Edmonton: Men’s teams from England, Canada, USA, Scotland, Ireland and New Zealand. New Zealand won the 2006 tournament.
2005, Edmonton: Men’s teams from England, Canada, USA and Argentina. England won the 2005 tournament.
2004, Calgary and Edmonton: Men and Women’s teams from England, Canada, the USA and New Zealand. New Zealand won both the men's and women’s tournaments in 2004.
2003, Vancouver: Men and Women’s teams from England, Canada and the USA. England won both the men's and women’s tournaments in 2003.