Rugby World in Union

The International Rugby Board continues to use the rugby anthem, World in Union, in the Rugby World Cup tournament. The song, first used in 1991 in England, has become synonymous with the gathering of the nations. The tune for World in Union is taken from Jupiter, a section of Gustav Holst’s Planets Suite. The tune was originally adapted by Holst for its use in the English patriotic hymn, “I vow to thee my country”.

Kiri Te Kanawa in World in Union commercial


The ITV 2007 promotional video using the World in Union track, has been removed from YouTube due to copyright claims by ITV. Here’s another from this year, featuring a number of stars from around the world, including Jonathan Ansell, Ryandan, Roberto Alagna, Bryn Terfel, Katherine Jenkins, Russell Watson and Hayley Westenra. (This has since been removed after a copyright claim by WMG). The earliest version features the singing of New Zealand opera singer Kiri Te Kanawa.

Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube

The song has been sung in the opening ceremony for the Rugby World Cup each tournament:

1991 Kiri Te Kanawa in England
1995 Ladysmith Black Mambazo and PJ Powers in South Africa
1999 Shirley Bassey and Bryn Terfel in Wales
2003 United Colours of Sound in Australia

Lyrics for World in Union

There’s a dream, I feel
So rare,so real
All the world in union
The world as one

Gathering together
One mind, one heart
Every creed, every colour
Once joined, never apart

Searching for the best in me
I will find what I can be
If I win, lose or draw
It’s a victory for all

It’s the world in union
The world as one
As we climb to reach our destiny
A new age has begun

We may face high mountains
Must cross rough seas
We must take our place in history
And live with dignity

Just to be the best I can
That’s the goal for every man
If I win, lose or draw
It’s a victory for all

It’s the world in union
The world as one
As we climb to reach our destiny
A new age has begun

It’s the world
The world in union
A new age has begun

  • Ruth

    Anyone have the words translated into Maori ?
    Hayley Westenra singing this in Maori is just magical.
    I hope she sings in it Maori first and then English at the ceremony.
    It is spellbinding.

    • Peter

      No offence, but i reckon it would sound better to be sung by a maori if this song were to be sung in maori….. the words come out more natural and maori are the indigenous people of the land, so therefore would be way more fitting. Plus, Hayley Westenra sounds plastic.