In these islands, a great era of expansion in higher education started in the early 70's. As elsewhere, concomitant with he establishment of any new institution of education was the provision of sports facilities to develop the persona of each student and to foster a sense of fraternal pride in the new institution. Rugby was considered to be one of the major sports in each of the new third-level colleges that sprang up in different forms all over Ireland. Hence, it was only natural that, as alternative third level institutions to those of the traditional universities were established, some attempt would be made to co-ordinate rugby activities and to organise regular competitions in these colleges. Moreover, it was felt that Rugby - while having a valued place in these new institutions, perhaps did not always enjoy the status and prestige that it did in the Schools and in the traditional Universities.|
So, that Irish Colleges Rugby Union was formed in 1986 catering for 15 colleges and became affiliated to the Irish Rugby Football Union in 1987. Its growth has certainly been dramatic and impressive as evidenced by the fact that the initial competition now caters for 33 Universities and Colleges; with 7 in partial affiliation and with its competitions divided into three divisions, a Freshers competition and a Sevens competition. As more Universities and Colleges opt for Wednesday Rugby, even further more dramatic growth can be envisaged in the near future. The aims of the Irish Colleges Rugby Union were stated as:
(a) - To promote, foster and develop Rugby Football in the Universities and Colleges.
(b) - To organise and run competitions for the benefit od student rugby.
(c) - To provide Rugby Football in the Universities and Colleges with a maximum recognition, media exposure and consequent access to sponsorship with this would entail.
(d) - To provide Rugby Football in the Universities and Colleges with a maximum recognition, media exposure and consequent access to sponsorship with this would entail.
(e) - To provide a platform from which a fully Representative team could be selected to complete against International opposition.
Thus, the future pathway to success has been laid on a firm foundation. By providing an opportunity for each player to develop to his full potential, the I.C.R.U., plays its part in the development of student rugby. As a further encouragement, a fully representative side is selected to play International and Representative Matches. The record is outstanding not only against teams from the House Counties but also against touring teams. The annual matches against the Irish Universities and the Exiles Students' teams are now major events in the Irish Rugby Calendar. Past and Present players from the Irish Colleges teams are involved at every level in the Irish Rugby - the National Team, Ireland A, Development, Provincial, Students, Irish U-21 and AIL Teams.