Rugby is one of the nation’s favourite sports, and has spawned some of the UK’s best-loved sportspeople and created household names. Over the years, the sport has also inspired some of the best-known rugby TV adverts, shown during the ad breaks of the Rugby World Cup, Six Nations and beyond.
It’s difficult, but we thought we’d try to list some of the very best rugby adverts of all time…
The Game Starts Here, Beats by Dre – 2015
Richie McCaw is one of the most recognisable and respected names in rugby, famed for his attitude, work ethic and pure talent. This Beats by Dre advert shows all the background work that goes into making a true rugby superstar.
From that all-important cup of morning coffee to running in the mountains and training with the team, this moving rugby advert shows the grind and guts it takes to become a legend.
Last Man Standing, Adidas – 2005
The 2005 British and Irish Lions Tour goes down as one of the best in history, with so many all-time greats and world-famous names on display on both sides. This Adidas rugby advert features All Blacks including Richie McCaw, Tana Umaga, Joe Rokocoko and Doug Howlett, along with England rugby star Jonny Wilkinson, Irish rugby legend Brian O’Driscoll and Welsh players including Stephen Jones.
Playing a classic playground game of British Bulldog, both teams mix together and join forces in this light-hearted advert that reminds us all what the game is all about.
Shane, Guinness – 2014
Undoubtedly one of the most beloved characters in the history of rugby union, Shane Williams won hearts all around the world for his big character and small stature, celebrated in this Guinness advert.
Rugby fans around the world recognise the passion and determination Shane showed throughout his Wales and Lions career, and this emotional advert is sure to bring a lump to the throat.
The Currency Fairy, Currency Fair, 2014
Sébastien Chabal is known as one of rugby’s most feared hard men. The big tackling number 8 was an iconic member of the French team for over a decade, and became the scourge of many a Six Nations and Rugby World Cup side for his tough defence and bulldozing runs. His iconic beard saw him nicknamed ‘The Caveman’ and he won legions of fans for his no-nonsense attitude.
So, his turn as the ‘Currency Fairy’ for Currency Fair was something of a change of pace. Donning wings and a fluffy wand, the Frenchman certainly showed a different side!
Never Alone, Guinness – 2015
Wales and British & Irish Lions captain Gareth Thomas came out publicly in 2009, and has since become one of the most visible and vocal gay public figures in the UK. Rugby’s image as a traditional and male-dominated sport meant it was (and is) incredibly rare for players at any level to come out, let alone a huge name in the sport.
This Guinness Rugby advert celebrates rugby’s famous team spirit, and shows how, in Thomas’s case, he found community, support and acceptance from his teammates.
The Delay, Heineken – 2019
Lastly, a light-hearted Heineken Rugby World Cup advert for the competition in Japan. This Italian TV ad shows a couple of spectators a little bit confused by the famously complicated rules (laws) of rugby, and feeling a little lost among the crowd.
However, as the advert proves, you don’t need to know all the ins and outs, all the intricacies of the game to enjoy the Rugby World Cup!
Keep an eye out for upcoming Rugby World Cup adverts, and let us know your top rugby adverts in the comments!